When Tab Ramos was named the Head Coach of the Houston Dynamo, engaged minds connected his youth development work and coaching to the future of the Dynamo.
Sure, there was his coaching the U.S. U20 national team but that was preceded by working with youth players of all ages.
Did this hire signal a move towards youth development in soccer-rich Houston?
This city has had a large history of players going into MLS that dates back to the first year of the league. These facts are sadly forgotten and not used to enhance the reputation of this rich soccer city.
Names like Baba, Gbandi, Gardner, Quill, Pierce, Forko, Woods, Deric, Shea, Torres, Dixon, Lewis all had careers or moments in MLS and believe me I have left a number out.
Gbandi and Torres were both Hermann Award winners signifying the top college player in the country.
Gbandi won a national championship at UConn with four other Houston area players. The history the soccer culture and success has always been a part of this city.
For the Dynamo, the hiring of Tab Ramos is the missing piece.
When recently signed Nico Lemoine entered the LAFC match this past Monday, a statement was made that youth is in the future of this club and that possibility exists.
Lemoine at 20 played with DeAnza Force, San Jose and a season with the U19’s and Rio Grande Valley Toros – the USL Championship affiliate of the Dynamo – before signing a full contract last month.
A winger type, Lemoine, if all goes to plan, will earn (emphasis on earn) more minutes this season to embark on his professional career.
A message was sent by Ramos with this singular substitution that echoed down to RGV and to the Dynamo Academy system that possibility exists to get in to the first team at a young age.
Lemoine was the choice to come in over seasoned veterans and, with that, came a message that youth will be oriented into this team when it is earned and that all have to earn their place with the new manager.
The change will likely be seen this year with the likes Lemoine, Marcelo Palomino and others in line for minutes. If you are a young player in the Academy or at RGV, you have taken notice. If you are a veteran, you have taken notice.
The Dynamo have to get younger and the future model includes developing their own players that actually can get on the field and make a difference.
The new coach believes in youth.