The Houston Dynamo have signed Dynamo Academy forward Juan “Charly” Flores as the first member of the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros, the club’s new hybrid affiliate set to join USL in 2016.
Flores, 18, leads the Dynamo Academy Under-18s with 14 goals in 12 games this season. The U-18s lead the Frontier Division of the Central Conference with 29 points from 12 games (9-1-2). Flores was named Dynamo Academy Players’ Player of the Year in 2015 after scoring 25 goals in 31 games. In 2014, he was tied for second in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy with 26 goals.
“We are pleased to announce Charly as our first signing for RGVFC,” Dynamo VP/general manager Matt Jordan said. “He’s earned this opportunity through his dedication and hard work with our Academy. He’s ready to take this next important step in his development and we look forward to seeing his growth.”
“Charly is a young exciting striker who we are delighted to sign for our USL initiative,” Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle said. “It shows the pathway we hope to develop from our Academy all the way to our first team and allows Charly an opportunity to fulfill his potential.”
“We are very excited for Charly,” Dynamo director of youth development James Clarkson said. “It’s an extremely important step in his development and I think it’s time for him to move on to a higher challenge. Hopefully within two seasons he will be playing for the first team. He scores goals, is very direct, loves running off the shoulder of defenders and has good movement. At our level, he has been deadly.”
Born in Houston, Flores joined the Dynamo Academy in 2013 after time with youth club Manchester United Houston under head coach Francisco Campos. Flores trained with the Dynamo first team for three months this season. He converted the winning penalty kick in a shootout at the Academy Alumni match on Thursday. Flores will take part in Dynamo preseason next month before joining RGVFC for its inaugural preseason in March.
The Dynamo and RGVFC formed a hybrid affiliation in July. As part of the partnership, the Dynamo control the technical side of the club, including head coach Wilmer Cabrera as well as the construction of the roster. RGVFC, which operates the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the NBA D-League affiliate of the Houston Rockets, will manage business operations for the club, including the current construction of a 9,400-seat state-of-the-art soccer stadium in Edinburg, Texas, 330 miles southwest of Houston, across the Mexican border from Reynosa.
Dynamo Homegrown Player Christian Lucatero will join Flores as the first two players assigned to RGVFC. Lucatero, 18, signed with the Dynamo in August and trained with the first team for the remainder of the season. The Dynamo will continue to construct the inaugural RGVFC roster ahead of the club’s first preseason in March.
JUAN “CHARLY” FLORES
Full Name: Juan “Charly” Flores
Date of Birth: July 30, 1997
Birthplace: Houston, Texas
Last Club: Dynamo Academy
How Acquired: Signed for Dynamo hybrid affiliate Rio Grande Valley FC Toros on Dec. 18, 2015