“We are pleased to announce the additions of Joe Holland, Memo Rodriguez, George Malki and Taylor Hunter to our first team roster. All four players have earned these contracts based on their performances throughout the preseason and by demonstrating a professional attitude,” said Dynamo Vice President and General Manager Matt Jordan. “The signing of our three USL players is a great example of what we are building as a club and our continued commitment to the vertical integration between our First Team, USL team and Academy.”
Holland saw action in a closed scrimmage against Colorado and a 2-2 draw against the New York Red Bulls during the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Arizona last week. The No. 10 overall selection in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft was named to the All-Colonial Athletic Association First Team in his final season at Hofstra University, claiming the award in three consecutive seasons. The midfielder finished his collegiate career with 19 goals and 28 assists in 79 games. The London, England native will occupy an International roster slot with the Dynamo. He was named the Colonial Athletic Association Freshmen of the Year in 2012 and served as the vice-captain of Lewisham College in London prior to playing in the United States.
Rodriguez spent 2016 with head coach Wilmer Cabrera at RGV FC during the club’s inaugural season, where the team finished with a record of 14-7-9 and a second-place finish in the USL’s Western Conference. The El Campo High School graduate scored six goals and tallied seven assists in 30 games for the Toros. The midfielder was signed as a Homegrown Player in December 2014 and spent most of the 2015 season on loan with the Charleston Battery of the USL. He will count as a Homegrown Player on the 2017 Dynamo roster.
“We are excited to sign the players that came to camp as trialists. In this case, George Malki, Jose Rodriguez and Taylor Hunter. We know those players from last year working with them at RGV FC, they did outstanding things with that team and they deserved the opportunity to be in the preseason with the Dynamo. The staff considered that they deserved to be part of this team because they have the talent, they have the mentality, they have skills to be selected and to bring something to the Houston Dynamo in 2017,” Cabrera said. “Joe Holland was drafted after the combine and he’s been doing a wonderful job. He’s been confirming to the whole staff, the club and his teammates why he deserves to be part of the roster with the Houston Dynamo. He’s adapting really well to the work, to the responsibilities that’s required to be a professional player.”
Hunter appeared in 21 games for RGV FC last season and anchored a defense that allowed just 24 goals, second-fewest in the 29-team USL, and fewest in the West. The defender started one regular-season game for the Dynamo in 2015 and appeared in two U.S. Open Cup matches after he was selected in the fourth round of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.
Malki signed with RGV FC last January where he appeared in 25 games and finished with one goal and one assist. The defender joined the Dynamo for the 2015 preseason before signing with Arizona United SC (USL), for whom he made 24 appearances (11 starts) in his first professional season. The Scottsdale, Arizona native was selected in the second round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft by the Montreal Impact. Malki was a two-time All-Big West Conference second team honoree at California Polytechnic State University.
The Dynamo open the 2017 season, presented by 76, on Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. CST against the defending MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders FC at BBVA Compass Stadium. Opening Day is presented by Pepsi Zero Sugar.
Saturday night, the Dynamo defeated Colorado Rapids, 2-0 in Tucson, Arizona to the 2017 Desert Diamond Cup. Forward Romell Quioto scored both goals and was named tournament MVP & won the Copper Boot.
The Dynamo finished with a 6-0-1 mark in preseason matches, scoring 24 goals and only conceding three. In addition to these preseason matches, there were two intra-squad scrimmages. Forward Erick Torres led the team in goals during the preseason with five while forwards Vicente Sánchez and Quioto led in assists with three each.
Tickets for all regular season games start at $25 and are on sale now at HoustonDynamo.com, by phone at 713-276-GOAL and at the BBVA Compass Stadium box office. Season tickets for the entire 2017 home campaign are also available online at HoustonDynamo.com/2017 or by phone at 713-276-GOAL.
Transactions: The Houston Dynamo sign MF Joseph Holland, DF Taylor Hunter, DF George Malki and MF Jose Rodriguez to the first-team roster.