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Behind the Orange Lenses: Ray Garza

We continue our series taking a look at the driving force behind Houston soccer, the fans.

We continue our series of giving some of the spotlight to you, the fan. Living in the Houston area we are used to long drives to get anywhere around town. Heck, it takes me 45 minutes to make it to PNC Stadium on game days. Now, imagine driving 5 hours to see your favorite team and driving 5 hours home afterwards. Yet, some people say Houston doesn’t have a passionate fan base. Let’s get to know this Dynamic fan!

Name: Raynaldo Garza (Ray)

Fan Since: Year: 2007

Current Season Holder: Yes, but on and off since 2008

Where are you originally from and what is your earliest memory of soccer?

I’m originally from Brownsville Texas. My earliest memory of soccer is watching the U.S. Women’s National Team win the World Cup in 1999, as well as seeing David Beckham score an audacious 60-yard goal from the hallway line against Wimbledon in the Premier League. Beckham’s goal made me a Manchester United supporter.

Tell us a little bit about how you became a Houston Dynamo fan?

I moved to Houston in 2005, when the Dynamo became a club. Back then I used to only watch the English Premier League and would go to Richmond Arms Pub to catch the Red Devils matches since they had the Setanta Sports channel. Fans there would speak about the Dynamo and players like Brian Ching and Dwayne De Rosario, which sparked my interest to watch the 2006 MLS Cup Final, when Houston won their first championship. I didn’t watch a single match all season but I caught the final. After the game, I told my girlfriend at the time, that we should catch a game next season. My first time at Robertson Stadium, I thought to myself how it was an interesting venue and the weirdest sporting event that I had attended at the time. Not that I had been to many events in the past, but the atmosphere felt similar to that of a high school football game on a Friday night. However, the product that I saw on the pitch was different. The two players that quickly stood out the most to me, were Brian Mullan and Brad Davis. Today, looking back, it’s easy to say that one of the main reasons why I wanted to go to matches was Brad Davis. Every season, Brad just blew my mind with his playing style and skill. Whether it was his ball placement on set pieces or in-game, he was just unreal. A left footed, David Beckham. I became a season ticket holder for the club’s third season, but the back-to-back championships weren’t the reason that kept me going. The team winning was fun for sure, but there was so much more that happened in the stands and in the parking lots that maybe even the club’s front office didn’t even know about or cared to be involved in. Friendships were being made, awesome memories being created and of course the team was always winning. What happened? Who knows?

What is your favorite Houston Dynamo memory and why?

My favorite memory was the inaugural match at BBVA Stadium against D.C. United. Brad Davis scored the 1st goal at the stadium and probably one of the greatest goals in MLS history. My friend Jeremy and I wore the Dumb and Dumber tuxedos to the match on a very hot day in Houston with the match starting at 3:30 pm. We were intoxicated, dehydrated and have no regrets!

Many people might not know, but is it true that you drive 5 hours to make most Houston Dynamo games at PNC Stadium?

Yes. I drive 5 hours north to Houston and 5 hours south, back home to Brownsville, Texas. It’s my 2nd year doing it as a season ticket holder living outside of Houston, but I’ve been doing these road trips for 6 years now. Even when I didn’t have season tickets, I was still going to games because either my friends, Jeremy, Robin, or Bob would give me their seats for free since they also have season tickets.

My son Evander is 9 years old, and I wanted him to experience the games and the road trips, so I got the season tickets again for that reason. I love the son and dad bonding time that we get. We went to so many games the past two years. Even when they allowed the 1/4 stadium attendance on a Wednesday game during Covid, we were there. I document our trips so I can remind Evander of these times when he’s older and to prepare for our World Cup Road trip in 2026.

Last week, the Houston Dynamo suffered the worst beat down in club history. We know that we are amid a rebuild but what are your thoughts on this season and the future of the team?

There are so many good players around the world, and I see other clubs pick up veterans or up and coming players from Europe. The Dynamo continue to look for these gems in South America. We picked up a young kid at 19 years old, or they look at some players who have played at 6 clubs in 3 years with 5 goals and expect what? It’s time for this club to get with the program and get some European blood, or some more Mexican players, or current USMNT players. Hector Herrera can’t do it on his own and we need to move on from the Matt Jordan era. They haven’t done anything positive in a long time and it’s time to move on. It’s embarrassing to watch the club sink.

Our hope is that you can put a name to a face in the crowd at PNC Stadium. That you would wear your orange gear with pride and make friendships catching the games at your favorite watering hole. And never forget to always Hold It Down and Keep It Forever Orange!