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I began writing for Dynamo Theory in the fall of 2014. Quickly, I found my niche as the lone person covering the Houston Dynamo’s USL affiliate. For those not familiar with the soccer pyramid, the United Soccer League is a lower division than Major League Soccer. Most clubs in MLS have an affiliate in the USL to help develop their younger players. My first year writing was a one year only affiliation with the Charleston Battery. I loved covering them, and made so many important connections. I learned a ton that first season, which prepared me for Houston creating their own hybrid affiliate, in the deep south of Texas, starting play in 2016.
In the spring of last year, the Rio Grande Valley Toros were born. Ever since that day, they’ve become my team. Last year, I covered everything Toros: the unveiling of the new club, the first head coach, the initial roster, and the inaugural season as a whole. It was exhilarating to follow a club so closely, literally from the ground level. In 2016, they played their matches at UTRGV, a local college, then their new practice facility, as the club’s state of the art stadium’s completion was delayed. This spring, they began play at H-E-B Park, their breathtaking, best in the league venue. They finished their first regular season second in the Western Conference, and broke USL records as they went, including the longest streak without allowing a goal. (Eight straight clean sheets!)
However, a club is just a club without good people. The right group makes it a family. That starts at the top for RGVFC. Bert Garcia, the club’s president, has been incredible to me from the jump. We connect from time to time, just to check in and discuss any developments with the Toros. I respected him so much, I covered his other team, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, this season for The Dream Shake, also here at SB Nation. Mr. Garcia is a consummate professional, and I’m humbled to consider him a friend. I’m also friendly with everyone on the team. From the roster last year and this year, I constantly communicate with a majority of the players, for official quotes, as well as off the record discussions about soccer and life. Talking to England’s Charlie Ward, Jamaica’s Jorginho James, Honduras’ Jose Escalante, or any of the other players from all over the world, I’ve learned countless lessons about their home countries. Since day one, there has been a mutual respect. The players even mention reading my articles. What more can you ask for as a writer, than the players on the club you cover reading a weekly piece you wrote? It’s an incredible feeling. A highlight for me was the journey of Jose Rodriguez. I was able to cover Jose “Memo” Rodriguez from his time as a scarcely used player on loan in Charleston that got cut by Houston, to a star for the Toros, then finally signing another first team contract with the Dynamo.
Growing up in Northeast Ohio, now living in Vegas, I feel a similar emotional attachment to RGVFC as I do a Cleveland sports team. When they lose, it can ruin my whole day. After a win, I feel like as rewarded as I would feel if I played the full 90 minutes. One of the club’s slogans is We are Toros/Somos Toros. It really hits home for me. I truly am a part of that family. No matter how long I have the pleasure of writing about Rio Grande Valley FC, they will always be my team. That is why I am fan of RGVFC.
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