The Houston Dynamo Academy recently brought together players from throughout the Houston area as part of the Catalyst Foundation, which launched a collaborative and developmental partnership between the Academy and Dynamo Dash Youth and Total Football Club (TFC).
“The Catalyst program that is vitally important to our collective mission, as it focusses on the Foundation Phase (ages 9-12). Our objective is to build a strong future for hundreds of young players each year, while also improving coach and player development through consistent methodology and programming,” Dynamo Academy Director, Paul Holocher said. “We are very excited as we see ourselves not just as coaches of teams, but as a team of player developers.”
The U12’s preparing for the Generation adidas Cup and around 30 players were invited from various Catalyst campus sites to train together under the lights of Houston Sports Park. The players were brought through a technically based warm-up and then immediately jumped into 7 v 7 games, which is the format that will be used in the U12 GA Cup.
“It felt really good, seeing lots of good players there,” Catalyst player Amagai Agbu said, “they pass the ball really good and you can see the potential.”
The GA Cup is possibly the most important competition for young players in the MLS development system. Founded in 2007, the Generation adidas Cup has provided a venue for the top young talent in the country to compete against each other, and holds events in the U12, U15, and U17 age. Since 2014, the GA Cup has hosted not only MLS teams, but also many of the most storied international teams and academies in the world.
“The GA Cup is always an exciting event as you get to match up with many top players in a first-class event,” Holocher said, “We are looking forward to sharing this opportunity with the young players from within our Catalyst programming and from throughout Greater Houston.”
The GA Cup is set to take place on Nov. 27th- Dec. 1st in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Atlanta United facilities. After several trainings and evaluations around 24 players will be formed into two teams for the event, to represent the Houston Dynamo, the Catalyst Foundation program and the city of Houston.
“We are bringing together an initial pool of about 33 players to train and we will be having several more of these trainings over the coming weeks to train and evaluate,” Holocher said, “We will play and also train on some important themes within our Game Model. As coaches, it is always very difficult to select just 24 players from within such a great group of players, but the players understand that more opportunities always come, especially as they continue to work hard and keep developing.”
It seems every player is aware of the work it will take for them to prepare for the GA Cup and perform well. U12 player Leo Gitau had a simple reaction to the introduction of the GA Cup, but it was a reaction that spoke for the rest of the players present.
“Time to work hard,” Gitau said.