The Houston Dynamo have appointed Othoniel “Junior” Gonzalez as the head coach and Brett Uttley as an assistant coach of Rio Grande Valley FC Toros, the club’s hybrid USL affiliate, the club announced today.
“As an organization we are very pleased to welcome Junior Gonzales to the Houston Dynamo technical staff as our head coach of the RGV FC Toros,” vice president and general manager Matt Jordan said. “He brings a wealth of experience at all levels of soccer in the United States. His experience at the professional level, with the U.S. National Team programs and work in collegiate ranks and in player development will be an important addition to our club moving forward. With this hire we believe we’ve added one of the premier up and coming coaches in the country.”
Gonzalez was selected by the Dynamo technical staff, led by Jordan and head coach Wilmer Cabrera.
“Junior has been tested in various environments as a head coach and assistant coach. He has experience in college soccer, with academy players, working with professionals - in USL and MLS – so he brings that vast experience in American soccer to RGV,” Cabrera said. “I know him very well, I know his soccer background, he is bilingual and he is ready for this challenge, to build on the foundation we have in Edinburg – and continue with this great partnership.”
Gonzalez served as an assistant coach of Seattle Sounders FC S2 under Ezra Hendrickson last season. The 39-year-old was an assistant coach and served as the director of scouting under Cabrera at Chivas USA from 2013-2014. Gonzalez previously served as the U.S. Boys U-15 National Team assistant coach, as well as the head scout for the U-17 National Team for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile. The California native also served as the Sounders’ head academy scout and U-14 head coach.
"I am honored and excited to join the Houston Dynamo Technical staff as the head coach of RGV FC Toros. The relationship between the USL and MLS is extremely important for the development of players and offers a platform to integrate the Houston Dynamo Developmental Academy, RGV FC players and Houston Dynamo first-team players,” Gonzalez said. “I look forward to collaborating with Wilmer Cabrera and Matt Jordan to continue the RGV FC project, implementing a quality brand of soccer with the philosophy that team and the process are the most important."
Gonzalez’ coaching career began in 2001 as an assistant coach for the University of California, Riverside men’s program. Three years later he became the head coach and under his tenure 30 players were named All-Big West Conference– including two Big West Conference Players of the Year – and six players went on to MLS and USL careers. In 2011, Gonzalez was named the Big West Coach of the Year.
As a player, Gonzalez won the 1997 NCAA National Championship with UCLA. His collegiate career included four trips to the NCAA tournament and three Mountain Pacific Conference Championships. Gonzalez continued his playing career with the USL’s San Diego Flash and his career continued throughout California before his final stop with the Utah Blitz.
Uttley was the head coach of the Seattle Sounders FC U-13 Academy and a fitness coach for Sounders S2 in 2016. The Rhode Island native was also an assistant coach at Quinnipiac University for two seasons prior to joining the Sounders organization earlier this year.
As a player, Uttley was named the 2012 Quinnipiac University Senior Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Additionally, he was a NSCAA Adidas High School-All-American and Gatorade Rhode Island Soccer Player of the Year in his junior and senior seasons at North Kingstown High School.
The Quinnipiac University product has a Master’s degree in soccer coaching education from Ohio University and recently completed a four-month coaching certification program from the MBP School of Coaches in Barcelona, Spain.
The Dynamo will continue to develop RGV FC’s roster ahead of the club’s preseason in March 2017. Dynamo assistant general manager Nick Kowba will continue his role with the RGV FC technical staff and player personnel and help guide its collaboration with the Dynamo first team.