Aston Villa FC was officially announced as the opponent for the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup match set to take place on July 26. The Charities Cup is an annual match hosted by the Dynamo that gives fans a chance to see the team face an international opponent while raising money for a good cause. The Charities Cup is part of the "Building a Better Houston" initiative, a campaign led by Dynamo Charities and BBVA Compass to make improvements in Houston's East End.
"We are extremely pleased to be hosting Aston Villa and honored to have them here for the Dynamo Charities Cup," said Dynamo president Chris Canetti in a press release. "They are a club with a great history and storied tradition from one of the greatest soccer leagues in the world. It will be an exciting night for our club and fans."
Aston Villa is one of the oldest English clubs, founded in 1874, the team is currently thirteenth in the English Premier League Standings. They have won the FA cup seven times and have remained in the Premier League since its creation in 1992.
"Our previous US tours have been exciting and hugely positive experiences for the Club and I'm sure we will work hard to ensure we achieve further development into a country in which the game is increasingly taking root," Villa CEO Paul Faulkner said in a press release. "Commercially, we are always looking to grow the Club while remaining true to the values we espouse as Villa people. I see this as a wonderful opportunity and I thank the staff of FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo for the courtesy and welcome they have already shown us in helping to put these games together."
The team features a number of stars including American Brad Guzan and Belgian Christian Benteke. Guzan, Villa's starting goalkeeper, is a native of Texas and a regular member of the USMNT. While Benteke has already scored 10 goals for Villa this season in 26 appearances. The team also features striker Gabriel Agbonlahor who is the team's all-time Premier League leading goal scorer with 66 goals.
"I think Aston Villa is a great team with a great history and a huge club in England," said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. "They've done ever so well over the years and I think it shows that we're doing our best every year to bring top-quality teams to Houston for the Charities Cup. I think it is a fantastic opportunity for the players. They will be in preseason, but for us to line up against guys like Agbonlahor and Guzan, it is a good team. I think when you get to play against some good, quality players it tests you a little bit and I think it motivates you."
Previous Dynamo Charities Cup opponents include Stoke City FC (England), Valencia CF (Spain), Bolton Wanderers (England), Club Deportivo Aguila (El Salvador) and CF Monterrey (Mexico). The Dynamo are 3-2-0 all-time in Charities Cup play.