At a press conference at BBVA Compass Stadium today, the Houston Dynamo announced they will host Valencia C.F. from La Liga in the 2012 Dynamo Charities Cup. The match will be played at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 31, and marks the first time the Dynamo have played a club from Spain's top division.
Official Dynamo Press Release:
The Houston Dynamo and Spain's Valencia announced today that they will meet in the fourth edition of the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup. The game will be held on May 31 at BBVA Compass Stadium and will mark the first time the Dynamo play a club from Spain's prestigious Liga BBVA.
"We are honored and privileged to be hosting such a prominent international soccer club in Valencia," Dynamo president Chris Canetti said. "Their participation in this match helps bring major credibility to the tradition we are building in this event. We expect that the local soccer community will come out in strong support of this match, the first of its kind in our new stadium."
Valencia is one of the most successful clubs in Spain, having won six league titles and seven Copa del Rey trophies. The club, managed by Spaniard Unai Emery, is currently in third place in the Liga BBVA standings and is in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Europa League. Valencia has finished among the top four in Spain's first division in four of the last six seasons.
"It is a great honor for Valencia CF to travel to the United States to participate in this friendly match against The Dynamo," Valencia president Manuel Llorente said. "MLS is a competition that is growing in quality and recognition and we are very excited to be showing off our skills in a country like the U.S. For Valencia CF, a club with almost 100 years of history and a great record of titles, it is an honor to have the chance to represent European soccer against Houston Dynamo - a club with which we share our orange color scheme - in their spectacular new stadium."
The BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup is an annual event that brings prominent international teams to Houston to raise money for charity. This year, Dynamo Charities and BBVA Compass will focus on two initiatives. First, partial proceeds from the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup will benefit Junior Achievement, an organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness and financial literacy. In the fall, Dynamo Charities and BBVA Compass will work to create a Business in Sports program with Junior Achievement to help foster and create future entrepreneurs.
In addition, Dynamo Charities and BBVA Compass will hold a food drive on the day of the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup, with all donations benefiting the local Star of Hope shelter. This project is in conjunction with the Building a Better Houston campaign that will kick off in the weeks leading up to the May 12 grand opening of BBVA Compass Stadium.
"We are thrilled to be the sponsor of the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup," said Mark Montgomery, BBVA Compass Houston city president. "BBVA is the title sponsor of Spain's soccer league, La Liga, and BBVA Compass Stadium is where soccer will be played in Houston. So it makes sense for us to support this charity event along with the Dynamo. At BBVA Compass, we strive to build a better future for people in the communities where we operate and this event does exactly that. It allows us to improve the lives of needy children in Houston."
Valencia was founded in 1919 and is among the best-supported clubs in the world. The club's most famous players include Edmundo Suarez (260 goals), Mario Kempes (145 goals; 1978 FIFA World Cup winner), and David Villa (108 goals; FIFA 2010 World Cup winner). Valencia is currently led by Roberto Soldado, who has scored 27 goals in 49 appearances in all competitions this season.
"The match with Valencia will be a great moment for us," said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. "It is exciting to open up new boundaries for exhibition games. We have played teams from Mexico, Central America and England before, and now we will play a team from Spain. Valencia is one of the top clubs in the world and it will be great for our fans and for our players."