Since being hired by the Houston Dynamo Matt Jordan has been a busy man. From new players to a new coach to adding a Sports Science Department, Jordan has made a lot of changes in Houston.
"I think to this point it has been off to a pretty encouraging start considering all of the changes we have been through in such a short period of time. I believe we have changed 11 players, brought in a whole new coaching staff besides Wade Barrett, who we are thrilled stayed, myself coming on board," Matt Jordan, Dynamo general manager said when asked about the Dynamo's season thus far. "I think it has been an encouraging start. We have gone to the defending champions and got a good road result. We went to Seattle and performed very well. We have two nice victories at home. We are encouraged by the results but not satisfied. I think that is the best way to put it. We are encouraged, but not satisfied; we know this group is capable of more."
Part of the team being capable of more means that they are always looking to improve the roster and last week the team traded Jason Johnson to Chicago in exchange for Alex, a midfielder. While the trade seemed to have come out of the blue for Dynamo fans behind the scenes it had been in the works for a while.
"It was something that the discussion had been going on for a while. We felt the opportunity to add a player like Alex was a good opportunity we wanted to take advantage of. There is a potential that we will be losing some players this summer to call-ups for Copa America and the Gold Cup," said Jordan when asked about the trade. "We felt it was important to have a player with close to 80 games of experience in the MLS. Who fits the style of play we want to play possession oriented player, very technical. What we liked most about Alex is he is versatile. He can play all positions across the midfield. He can play as a second striker. Towards the end of last season for Chicago he even played as a left back...it is very valuable to have a player that brings a certain level of experience to the table but can also play a variety of positions especially when you start getting into the summer month and you are having two or three games a week."
Also coming this summer will be Erick Cubo Torres. The Dynamo signed the striker this off-season but he is currently on loan to Chivas and expected to join the team later this summer.
Jordan's focus hasn't just been on the first team but also with the Dynamo Academy. The U-18's are currently 16-4-2 and are ranked 1st in the U-17/18 Central Conference. The U-16s are 9-7-6 and are 5th in the U-16 Central Conference. Jordan is committed to vertical integration between the first team and the Academy. Among the changes he has instituted a coaching exchange has been one of them.
"Right now our Academy Director will be on the field with the first team coaches for first team training once a week. Once a month our first team staff is going down and taking a night to coach our academy teams. We are rotating our teams to help the players, expose the players to a high level of coaching and to help our young coaches learn from our first team staff." said Jordan.
Closing the gap between the first team and the Academy is a big focus for Jordan. The team is also going to be bringing on a performance analysis to help look at player data. Coaches will be able to have real time data brought to them at the halftime of games so that they are able to make more accurate decisions on the field.
Change is inevitable in sports and in life and as the landscape of soccer changes around the world Jordan is working to keep the Dynamo and its Academy one step ahead of the crowd. By improving the technology and staff that surround the club Jordan is working to make the Dynamo a cutting edge team. The changes have been positive so far but there is still work to be done and Matt Jordan is ready to do it.