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Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

Houston Dynamo Academy expands its reach through Partners in Development initiative

Paul Holocher opened his second preseason with Dynamo Academy earlier this month as nine teams and hundreds of players returned to Houston Sports Park. The Director of the Houston Dynamo Academy made his way around the facility and welcomed new and familiar faces that were beaming to hit the field for the first time in months.

For Holocher, his preparation and work started weeks ago and will extend beyond Houston Sports Park as he rolls out the first full year of the Partners in Development program.

“This is what I have always envisioned – clubs need resources, they need consistency. This program is a way that the Dynamo Academy can bring that to the Houston community in two ways. We will offer a coaching collaboration session and a training invitational once a month,” Holocher said of the program.

“The focus is going to be on the grassroots foundation – which is something we wanted to address. What can the Dynamo Academy do at the grassroots level to help develop players, coaches and parents?” Holocher asked. “Our goal is to impact the base of each club and see over the course of time more players develop and enjoy the game, more people becoming passionate and knowledgeable about the youth game.”

There are eight founding clubs that will kick off the season-long initiative on Monday, Aug. 26 as the Dynamo Academy hosts world-renowned youth soccer trainer Tom Byer for a collaborative workshop at Houston Sports Park. Holocher organized similar programing in his first year with the club to gauge interest and the program rollout after creating the Partners in Development in San Jose.  

“I think the vision of bringing together multiple clubs into a cooperative project represents a chance for our soccer community to enhance its performance environment and ultimately, change the culture,” said Adriano Versari, Director of Coaching at Cavalry Youth Soccer. “This collaborative project really helped me implement sharp changes to improve my club and impact my young players. I’m looking forward to being a part of the new and updated Partners in Development educational meetings that will be offered again this year.”

The inclusive and free program begins with a coaches’ collaboration workshop that will bring coaches and representatives from the eight clubs to Houston Sports Park to share best practices and for “deep dives” into topics like coaching education, club development, programming and organization structure.  

Once a month, the coaches will hit the field with 24 to 30 players invited from the participating clubs to execute the methods of development discussed at the coaching collaboration.

“We all want to help each other develop, so we are sharing and learning from each other,” Holocher said. “The training invitational brings players from each club for a session designed by the coaches so that everyone gets something out of it. Coaches learn from the session, players walk away inspired and return to their clubs and share what they gained from the program. Everyone is really exited about it and they all want to take part.”

Programming is scheduled for the remainder of the year and for additional information, coaches and parents can visit HoustonDynamoAcademy.com.