The Houston Dynamo will host Real Sociedad of Spain’s Liga BBVA on Tuesday, May 24 in the 2016 BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup at BBVA Compass Stadium. The 106-year-old club features a pair of Mexican National Team stars, and will be the second team from Spain to compete in the Charities Cup.
Founded in 1909, Real Sociedad has won two La Liga titles (1980-81, 1981-82) and two Copa del Rey trophies (1909, 1986-87) and has competed in Spanish soccer’s top division in 45 of the last 48 seasons. Based in San Sebastián, in Spain’s Basque Country, Sociedad has reached the UEFA Champions League three times, most recently in 2013-14 after La Real finished in fourth place in the 2012-13 Liga BBVA season.
The BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup is an annual exhibition match in which the Dynamo take on a team from outside of Major League Soccer, with all proceeds benefitting a local nonprofit organization.
Tickets for the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup are included for Dynamo Season Ticket Members and will be available for purchase to the general public beginning Wednesday, April 13 at www.HoustonDynamo.com, by calling 713-276-GOAL or at the BBVA Compass Stadium ticket office (2200 Texas St., Houston).
"We are excited to announce Real Sociedad as the opponent for this flourishing annual tradition,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti said. “We've had a variety of clubs from around the world, and it's exciting to see the return of a La Liga club. It will be a wonderful event for the community and local soccer fans."
Real Sociedad is the eighth international opponent overall to face the Dynamo in the Charities Cup, following Santos Laguna (Mexico), Aston Villa (England), Stoke City (England), Valencia (Spain), Bolton Wanderers (England), Club Deportivo Aguila (El Salvador) and CF Monterrey (Mexico).
“Through the annual matchup, we’ve been able to bring the global sport of soccer to BBVA Compass Stadium and have welcomed some of the most prominent international teams and world-class athletes to Houston,” said BBVA Compass Chief Marketing and Digital Sales Officer Jennifer Kelly Dominiquini. “We’re thrilled to be part of another exciting game of soccer between two great teams, and more importantly, we’re proud of the cause-driven initiative behind this annual matchup that helps build brighter futures for people in Houston.”
A special Liga BBVA 5-Game Plan will also be available beginning April 18, and will include a ticket for the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup plus four Dynamo MLS home games featuring players with Liga BBVA experience, including Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Pedro Morales – Malaga); Seattle Sounders (Andreas Ivanschitz – Levante); New York City FC (David Villa – Barcelona, Valencia, Atlético Madrid, Zaragoza, Sporting Gijón); and the LA Galaxy (Giovani dos Santos – Barcelona, Villarreal, Racing Santander).
Currently 10th place in Liga BBVA, the White-and-Blue are managed by Eusebio Sacristán, who started the 1992 European Cup victory for Barcelona, highlighting an eight-year stint with the club. Sacristán made over 500 appearances for Spanish clubs including Atlético Madrid, Celta and Valladolid and managed Barcelona B for five seasons before his appointment at Sociedad in November 2015.
Sociedad features Mexico national team forward Carlos Vela and defender Diego Reyes. Captain Xabi Prieto rose from the Sociedad youth academy and has made 372 appearances for his hometown club since 2003.
Spanish forward Imanol Agirretxe leads the club with 13 goals in 16 games this season. A product of Sociedad’s youth academy, Agirretxe has tallied 67 goals in 239 appearances since 2004, including 51 goals in the last five seasons. Brazilian attacker Jonathas has seven goals after reaching 14 goals with Elche last season. Midfielder Asier Illarramendi is a former Spanish youth international and spent three seasons with Real Madrid.
The match has been selected as a headline act in the LaLiga World initiative and will be held under the banner of the LFP World Challenge, through which LaLiga aims to showcase Spanish football on the international stage and spread the values of the beautiful game. This American adventure will be a platform for Real Sociedad to promote their image and brand in a country where soccer is booming. In association with the LFP World Challenge, the Spanish team will be taking part in a host of events together with companies and representatives from different social and economic spheres of American society.