Around the holidays, it's easy to find yourself reflecting on the past year. During the 2015 season, I was given the opportunity to cover an absolutely top class organization, the one year Houston Dynamo USL affiliate, Charleston Battery. I've tried stating previously, but I can not begin to give the Battery their due praise. Everyone, from their communications department, players, front office, to their fans and supporters groups, they are incredible. One of the older franchises in American soccer, including the oldest soccer specific stadium in the country, The Stadium formerly known as Blackbaud. I got to cover the all-time leading USL goal scorer, Dane Kelly, who I am excited to wish great success with Swope Park Rangers and a potential call up to Sporting Kansas City. Why am I still talking about the Battery you ask? Because after the season, it was hard to think of not covering them, a club that makes you feel a part of their family from across the country. It was especially difficult knowing, as the Dynamo Theory's USL writer, I would be moving on to a new club, a big unknown, with the Rio Grande Valley Football Club. Then, they were only a name, no logo, no colors, just a name. I was able to find a little comfort in researching Alonzo Cantu, the club's owner, and his history owning the Houston Rockets hybrid affiliate, the NBA D-League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He has shown a true dedication to their success and growth, including two D-League championship, but still, it was a mostly blank slate.
Then the pieces around the ownership group and acting President Bert Garcia, another top class gentleman, began to come together. First, it was the club's branding. Now, instead of just 5 letters, the club became the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros. Their color scheme with a great mix of blue and Dynamo orange, their logo with the unique horns extending outside the crest, became a visual to attribute to the club. Then, the hiring of a former MLS Head Coach with national team development experience. Wilmer Cabrera was tailor made for this exact position, the grooming of future Dynamo players, as well as making the team competitive in the USL league tables. The first two players officially were added to the roster this past week, with nationally regarded future star Christian Lucatero and Dynamo Academy leading goal scorer Juan "Charly" Flores becoming Toros. The Dynamo also signed Calle Brown, who very well may be RGV's goalkeeper in their inaugural season following a strong rookie year with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, also of the USL.
The Dynamo and RGVFC have shown that they are all in with this project. This club won't just be an afterthought of the organization, but will be an integral part of their club's future. It's easy to buy in as not only a writer, but a fan of the club when you know the organization itself is bought in. As more players ink deals with RGV, the excitement will continue to grow for not only myself, but naturally for all the soccer fans in the Valley. So like I said, the holiday season is easy to look back on the past year, but it's also it's a perfect time to get excited about the year ahead. I am ready to run with the bulls in 2016. It's Toro Time.