Society is unity in diversity - George Herbert Mead
As we recently celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day here in the US, I'd like to discuss his most noble cause, diversity. But today, I'm discussing it at a much different level, and on a much less contentious level, in soccer. The Houston Dynamo have made a series of great player signings this offseason. We've added Erick Torres, Leonel Miranda and Raul Rodriguez as well as Oumar Ballo, Zack Steinberger, Rob Lovejoy and Taylor Hunter arriving via the SuperDraft. These new players all possess different skills on the pitch and play a variety of positions between them. Another thing that varies amongst them is their cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Houston is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in America. Diversity is a valuable tool for society, as well as in sports. Growing up, I've learned more than I can put into words simply by interacting with people of different ethnicities than myself. This same sentiment can be said on the soccer pitch. South American soccer is known for its beautiful ball control and dribbling. European soccer is known for its technical play and passion. African soccer is known for its pace and athleticism. American soccer has not yet carved out its niche but is progressing in the soccer world's eyes. The blending of cultures creates a beautiful symmetry on the pitch. With players now hailing from: the US, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Mali, Spain and England and a coach from Scotland, the Dynamo have an incredible variety on their club. Variety is the spice of life right?
Rome wasn't built in a day however. This team will be exceptional and very exciting to watch but there is bound to be an adjustment period. Some of these players are joining the Dynamo from thousands of miles away and being dropped into a new world. There are language barriers as well, however I believe this adjustment period won't be a lengthy one. Houston possesses such cultural diversity, it won't be hard for our new players to link up with people from their homeland. With such an experienced skipper, Owen Coyle, as well as longtime USMNT members DaMarcus Beasley and Brad Davis, who have been immersed into so many cultures, they can help ease the transition period to America for the newcomers.
Having as much diversity as we now have is advantageous in so many ways. The players get to know each other's cultures and lifestyles and grow as human beings. On the pitch, they learn certain techniques that may have not yet made it to America. A whole new group of fans overseas may pay attention to Houston who before their countrymen joined the club. Diversity is a beautiful thing in life and in soccer. Which is why I'm glad Houston is a melting pot, on and off the pitch!