The Houston Dynamo signed midfielder Charlie Ward to a first-team contract, the club announced today. Ward previously played with Dynamo’s USL team, RGV FC, for the last year and a half.
Ward became the fifth RGV FC player to sign with the Houston Dynamo first team following in the footsteps of defender Kevin Garcia, Taylor Hunter and George Malki; midfielder Memo Rodriguez; and forward José Escalante.
“Charlie has earned this opportunity to join the First Team through his consistent performances, commitment and professionalism with our USL affiliate RGV FC over the last two seasons along with his recent play in the U.S. Open Cup with the Dynamo,” said Dynamo General Manager and Vice President Matt Jordan. “This signing is another example of the importance of our USL initiative within our club structure to provide our players the platform, when performing well, to take that next step in their career.”
The Redditch, England native, joins the Dynamo after signing a short-term agreement with the club earlier this summer to compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. This season, Ward started and played every minute in both games of the Open Cup for the Dynamo.
Ward was in his second season with RGV. Under the guidance of current Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera, he played every minute of the season and dished two assists for the Toros. This season, he has played in 12 games and started in 10. RGV FC is 5-6-2 on the season under first-year coach Junior Gonzalez. Prior to signing with RGV FC, the 22-year-old spent time with the youth teams for Aston Villa and Stoke City in the English Premier League.
“Charlie is an excellent, talented young player who I know very well because I had him for a year with the Toros. Then, we brought him for the preseason but sadly he got injured and he had to go back with the Toros to start over. Throughout the six months he has played there and every time he comes and join us, he proves that he has enough quality to be part of the Houston Dynamo. After the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup games that he played here he earned the right to be here because what he has shown in the field and what he has brought to the team,” Cabrera said. “We are happy to bring him, we here happy that he has earned the right to be with the first-team.”
The hybrid relationship between the Dynamo and RGV FC in which the Dynamo control all aspects of soccer operations, including employment of the technical staff and player selection, while RGV FC manages the business side of the club, was unique in MLS when RGV FC was launched in 2016 and has quickly been emulated by multiple MLS clubs over the past year.
The Dynamo will continue the 2017 season, presented by 76, on Saturday, July 1 at 8:00 p.m. CDT against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park before returning home to take on the Montreal Impact on Wednesday, July 5 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
TRANSACTION: The Houston Dynamo sign MF Charlie Ward from Rio Grande Valley FC.