The Houston Dynamo announced the coaching and support staff for the 2018-19 Houston Dynamo Academy teams. Eight full-time technical staff and coaches along with four part-time coaches will lead the various Dynamo Academy teams under the direction of new Dynamo Academy Director Paul Holocher.
Holocher, 49, was announced as the new Director of the Houston Dynamo Academy on July 16 after spending the previous three years with the San Jose Earthquakes Academy, most recently serving as the Academy’s Director of Formation. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing the Quakes Academy teaching methodology, curriculum development, talent identification and community development for the Formation ages.
“As a club we are looking forward to the upcoming Academy season. Paul and our Academy staff have been preparing well in anticipation for the start of training,” said Dynamo Senior Vice President and General Manager Matt Jordan. “As an organization, we have a clear objective to continue improving the vertical integration from the Academy through the technical side of our club up to the First Team, and we are confident that our new Academy structure will provide a top quality environment for our players to develop and grow both on and off field.”
In his new role, Holocher has implemented a phase-based developmental philosophy which provides specific, age-appropriate learning objectives and utilizes a dynamic development curriculum and clear developmental goals. As the young Dynamo Academy player graduates from one phase to the next – Grassroots ( for players 8-10 years of age), Foundation (11-12 years old), Formation (13-15) and Pre-Professional (17-23) – their previous training will have guided them clearly into the next phase of their overall development.
“I am incredibly excited to begin working with this committed staff and to teach and share a Game Model and style of play that is at the core of our teaching philosophy and our culture of development,” Holocher said. “I have had the opportunity and honor to work in youth development for nearly 20 years, and at every conceivable age and level of player. Each age is unique, but through the concepts of vertical integration we can begin to better optimize player development. Young players are ready and capable to learn everything the coach knows. What we can teach, they can learn.”
The Grassroots level is focused on the youngest players, who represent the future of the game and of the Club. The primary developmental focus at the Grassroots level is to inspire a love for the game, teach the Game in a positive and instructive way and to develop each player’s comfort level on the ball.
The Foundation Phase, which is geared towards players in the U-11 and U-12 teams, focuses on introducing players to the club’s teaching and developmental methodology along with core game-play principles. Players are also introduced to video and film learning in this stage as they take their first steps along the pathway to the professional ranks.
Justin Neese returns as the head coach of the Under-11 team and will be assisted by Leo Cruz. Neese, who holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from The University of Dallas, has been a member of the Academy staff since 2012. Neese has earned USSF ‘A’ Youth and National Youth coaching licenses as well as a Premier Diploma from the United Soccer Coaches (USC). He has seven years of collegiate coaching experience, including four years as a head coach, and was most recently an assistant at the University of Texas at Tyler before joining the Academy staff.
Daniel Roberts not only serves as the head coach of the Under-12 Dynamo Academy team, but will also hold the dual role of Head of Recruitment and Grassroots Director for the Academy. He will be assisted by Benji Saez, a Dynamo Academy alumnus from the Class of 2010, on the U-12 coaching staff.
Roberts was a member of the first class of Dynamo Academy players in 2007, joining the Academy in its first month of existence before graduating from Fort Bend Clements High School. The Reading, England native played collegiately at North Carolina-Wilmington. He was drafted by the Dynamo in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft and played for the Wilmington Hammerheads in the USL from 2012-14. Roberts holds a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) ‘A’ coaching license.
The Formation Phase represents the heart of the player developmental process, as players progress through this stage from 13-15 years of age. Building on the concepts learned in the Foundation Phase, players in Formation begin to learn principles of positional play and are introduced to individualized developmental plans. Formation players are also shown and taught the mental and physical preparation needed to become a professional. Academic development is also a key component of this phase, as study habits are instilled and reinforced in order to prepare players for life beyond the game as well.
Hiro Suzuki, the 2017-18 Dynamo Academy Coach of the Year, returns as a full-time head coach of the Under-14 team and will also lead the Under-13 side with the assistance of Ian Clerihew. Suzuki is a 1999 graduate of Yale University, where he captained the Bulldogs to the NCAA Sweet 16 as a senior. He began his coaching career at his alma mater in 2011 as an assistant coach on the men’s soccer team. Suzuki holds a USSF ‘A’ coaching license.
Clerihew assists the Dynamo Academy staff on a part-time basis in addition to his full-time role as head coach of the University of St. Thomas men’s soccer team. He was named head coach of the Celts in 2017 after a two-year tenure as an assistant coach at Yale. Clerihew was a standout player at Seattle Pacific University from 1990-93, leading the Falcons to three NCAA Division II Final Fours and the 1993 National Championship.
Former LA Galaxy assistant Brian Reed will coach the U-15 side and serve as the Academics and College Coordinator along with the lead Video Analyst for the Academy. Reed served as a video analyst on the LA Galaxy staff in 2017-18 and was the Associate Head Coach at his alma mater of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo under Holocher, where he oversaw player recruitment, training and development for seven years. Reed also served as an assistant coach at Loyola Marymount University and as a Director of Coaching for the San Diego Surf soccer club and for United FC in Southern California.
The Pre-Professional Phase focuses on helping top young players reach their next levels as the pathway to the First Team comes into clearer focus. High-performing players begin to be integrated into the First Team during training along with receiving opportunities to train with Rio Grande Valley FC, the Club’s USL affiliate, and team tactics begin to more closely mirror those implemented by the First Team. Academic development continues to be a major point of emphasis in order to ensure that players are well-prepared for the rigors of college life in the classroom, not just on the playing field.
Kenny Bundy and Brian Haynes will share the coaching responsibilities for the Under-17 and Under-19 teams, with Haynes serving as the head coach for the 17s and Bundy assisting, and Bundy leading the 19s with Haynes’ assistance.
Bundy has been a member of the Dynamo Academy staff since 2016. A graduate of North Carolina-Greensboro, he holds a USSF ‘A’ license and has earned a Premier Diploma from the USC. In the 2017-18 season, Bundy guided the Dynamo Academy U-19s to the Developmental Academy League national playoffs. After starring at UNC-Greensboro, Bundy played more than 120 games as a professional in the USL and MISL from 2003-09, earning USL2 All-League First Team honors in 2009 with the Wilmington Hammerheads. Bundy began his coaching career as an assistant for the Hammerheads in 2015.
Haynes, a former Trinidad & Tobago international, holds a USSF ‘A’ coaching license and has an extensive coaching background and knowledge of the Houston area youth soccer market, having previously coached with both Texans and Albion. Haynes played professionally in Major League Soccer for the Dallas Burn from 1996-2000. He saw action in 77 games with 38 starts as a midfielder, scoring eight goals and delivering six assists. He moved into coaching following his playing career and spent five years as an assistant in MLS, serving on the FC Dallas staff from 2001-06. Haynes was the head coach of the Atlanta Silverbacks in the NASL from 2012-13 and was named the 2013 NASL Coach of the Year.
Jason Grubb returns to the Dynamo Academy staff as the Director of Goalkeeping, where he oversees the training curriculum for all of the Academy’s keepers. Grubb holds a USSF ‘A’ coaching license and a UEFA ‘B’ coaching license, along with a USSF National Goalkeeping license. He has also earned the USC Advanced National Goalkeeping Diploma. Grubb is assisted by Brenton Saylor, who also serves as an assistant coach for the Rice University women’s soccer team.
In addition to the primary Dynamo Academy training ground at Houston Sports Park, the Academy expanded in 2018 to establish a Dynamo Academy West program to serve players on Houston’s west side. The new program features Under-10, Under-11 and Under-12 teams. Nelson Ballesteros serves as the Director of Soccer Operations for Dynamo Academy West, while Dynamo Academy alumnus Alan Cuevas will coach the Under-12 team and Sean Street coaches the Under-11 squad. Cuevas holds a USSF ‘B’ coaching license.
Former Inter Milan and AS Monaco forward Mohamed Kallon serves as a consultant with the Dynamo Academy, with a focus on developing strikers at all levels of the Academy. The former Sierra Leone international scored 14 goals in 35 caps at the international level and scored more than 100 goals as a professional in a 22-year playing career.
The Academy technical staff is supported by Executive Assistant Liliana Cardenas, Fitness Coach Charlie Gremillion and Head Athletic Trainer Jose Madrid Chavez.
|Under-19||Kenny Bundy, Bryan Haynes|
|Under-17||Bryan Haynes, Kenny Bundy|
|Under-14||Hiro Suzuki, Ian Clerihew|
|Under-13||Hiro Suzuki, Ian Clerihew|
|Under-12||Daniel Roberts, Benji Saez|
|Under-12 (Dynamo Academy West)||Alan Cuevas|
|Under-11||Justin Neese, Leo Cruz|
|Under-11 (Dynamo Academy West)||Sean Street|
|Goalkeepers||Jason Grubb, Brenton Saylor|