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Pittsburgh Riverhounds Announce Partnership with Houston Dynamo

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds of USL PRO have formed an affiliate partnership with the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer, it was announced today by Riverhounds CEO Jason Kutney.

The deal will enable Houston to loan a minimum of four MLS-contracted players to Pittsburgh for the 2014 USL PRO season.

Kutney says the affiliation is more proof that the USL PRO team is working to reach the top level of soccer in the United States.

“In partnering with a top MLS side like Houston Dynamo, the Riverhounds are now on a path to the top, both on and off the field,” says Kutney.

“In doing our homework, we found Pittsburgh to be a very professional organization and a club that will provide the right environment for our young players to develop,” says Dynamo President Chris Canetti.  “In particular, we like their ownership structure, new downtown stadium, training center and technical philosophy.”

The partnership between USL PRO and MLS, now entering the second year of a multi-year affiliation, has had immediate impact for teams in both leagues.

“The partnership between the Dynamo and Riverhounds is a great step forward as we move into the second year of USL PRO’s partnership with Major League Soccer,” USL President Tim Holt said. “The Dynamo’s Brian Ownby was a standout for Richmond last season, and this partnership will offer more opportunity for Houston’s young players to gain valuable experience with a club that is swiftly rising in USL PRO. In the past year, the Riverhounds have become a model franchise, and we believe this will accelerate their growth in their local market, and offer their fans an outstanding product on the field.”

“It’s an exciting time to be a soccer fan in Pittsburgh,” says Riverhounds Head Coach Justin Evans. “Houston has been a top team in Major League Soccer since they joined in 2006 and I think affiliating with them definitely shows the positive ambition of our club.”

Evans also looks forward to working with Dynamo Head Coach Dominic Kinnear.

“Dom and I have known each other for many years. I’m excited to be able to work hand in hand with such a great person, coach and soccer visionary.”

“Justin has a good reputation and had a good playing career in MLS,” says Kinnear. “Our players will be fortunate to be play under an established coach.”

Added Kutney, “We are committed to top-level soccer development, resources, and experience in Pittsburgh, regardless of league or level.”

Crew Earn 1-1 Draw with Houston

The entire Columbus Crew organization has finally breathed a sigh of relief.

Photo Credit: Ric Kruszynski/

Federico Higuain’s 69th minute penalty conversion against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday ended a home MLS goalless streak for Columbus that lasted 294 minutes and spanned four matches. The 1-1 draw was also the first time that Columbus has earned a point at home since late April against D.C. United.

The penalty came when Dynamo striker Andrew Driver took down Crew left back Chad Barson in the area after an extended period of pressure from Columbus. The captain, Higuain, caught Hall moving early and buried the ball in the back of the net for the equalizer.

The Argentinian almost earned his team the victory when his 74th minute shot from 20 yards ricocheted off the post and midfielder Justin Meram missed the open net on the rebound.

Overall it was a disappointing match offensively for Columbus, who continued their troubling pattern of being unable to finish chances despite being dominant on the offensive end of the pitch.

Despite registering four shots on goal in the first half to Houston’s one the Crew found themselves down 1-0 heading into the dressing rooms.

Houston’s goal seemingly came from nothing in the 31st when defender Kofi Sarkodie beat Columbus down the right and played a cross in to Warren Creavalle, who made a wonderful touch to beat Gruenebaum for the opening goal.

Columbus has been consistently poor at home this season, only earning six points in six matches at Crew Stadium this season. Still the Crew remains close to the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, their 17 points just two back of the Philadelphia Union.

Eddie Gaven’s absence after his midweek injury against the Dayton Dutch Lions was noticed, with Justin Meram struggling to consistently make the offensive impact that the Crew’s bearded midfielder often made.

Subside Sports Man of the Match: Federico Higuain, Columbus Crew

On an overall poor night by the Columbus midfield, Higuain reminded us why he is Columbus’ best player. His play in the midfield kept the ball in the Crew’s attacking half for a majority of the night and he displayed his usual skill delivering set pieces. His goal was the most important moment of the match for Columbus, earning them the point, and he almost earned the squad all three points on multiple occasions. Honorable mention goes to Jairo Arrieta who was outstanding coming back from international duty and was consistently threatening up front.

Review: Geauxing Galt by Jason Garey

On the surface, Jason Garey’s Geauxing Galt is a great “rags to riches” story about a likeable, hard-working everyman that makes it big.

You dig a little deeper and you have a story about good vs. evil.  Wyatt Bourgeouis, a character in the vein of Horatio Alger, spends his life preparing to take on corrupt politicians like Harry Maddow.  Wyatt becomes a self-made billionaire thanks to hard work and determination. But he risks losing it all to Harry, a man who has been given everything in life.

But there is so much more to the story.  It is a treatise on government and the way it interacts with its people. It is political discourse wrapped up in a crafty narrative with some serious Libertarian themes.

Let’s start with the characters.  Garey does a great developing them; they have depth and are certainly dynamic in every sense of the term.   The protagonist/antagonist relationship is clear and helps move the plot throughout the story.  There is plenty of conflict, whether it is Wyatt working towards his dreams or Harry trying to destroy them.

Garey does a nice job with regional dialect, creating real-life conversation that helps move the story along.  The setting is easily recreated and shows the fondness the author has for the area.

The events of the story help drive home a message on government, economics, and the environment.  It honestly was a book I couldn’t put down and I finished it quickly because it was thought-provoking and questioned many aspects of American society.

Personally I am not a big fan of politics of any kind, but Garey makes those discussions accessible.  The key to reading this text is having an open mind.  Whether you agree with his views and opinions, it is a great story that many will enjoy.

And the best part is the author is one of the good guys in professional soccer. You might say that a guy that kicks a ball around for a living might not have the tools to write a book.  But this is Jason Garey, a great striker that brings passion and enthusiasm for both the pitch and the page.   Someone with a bright future as an author or whatever he puts his mind to.

Jason Garey: An Intellectual on the Pitch

The last time I saw Jason Garey in Columbus, he was wearing the Black & Gold of the Crew.

He was finishing up his 5th MLS season and unbeknownst to me, he soon would be plying his trade with the Houston Dynamo.  The Dynamo would make it to the 2011 MLS Cup Final, but Garey wouldn’t get another championship win as the Dynamo fell to the star-studded LA Galaxy.

Major hip surgery would sideline Garey for nearly 5 months. He would miss out on the start of the 2012 MLS season and would find himself signing instead with the Carolina Railhawks of the NASL.  For the first time in his professional career, Garey wouldn’t be with a MLS side.  You have to feel for a player that has worked so hard to get this far, only to have an injury delay his upward progress.

But Garey is not afraid of hard work on or off the field.  Known as a goalscorer on the pitch, he was just as intense off it when it came to social concerns.  He was the Crew Humanitarian of the Year in 2010 after helping with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and speaking out about the aftermath of the BP oil spill in his native Louisiana.  He has also been active on several Habitat for Humanity projects.

Garey is one of the good guys in the game of pro soccer, a fan favorite and a people person.  He would do anything for a teammate and shared his passion and enthusiasm for the game with everyone he encountered.  Simply put, Garey made the people around him better.

He was a high school and collegiate star before turning pro in 2006 and winning the MLS Cup with the Crew in 2008. Now as he looks toward the future, he adds yet another experience to his résumé: author.  A soccer player writing a book? Yeah and a deep one at that.

Rehabbing his injury gave him time to put pen to paper on some ideas he had.  Always interested in economics and politics, Garey composed an entire book with a libertarian vibe.  Geauxing Galt is a fictional adventure story with some serious political and economic themes. He realizes not everyone will embrace his beliefs with open arms.

“Some people will like it,” Garey stated. “Some people won’t.”

Garey is a true intellectual, a big reader that goes through 2 or 3 books a week.  He has strong beliefs and puts them into action for the betterment of others.

He has become a leader for the Railhawks, giving the young team a veteran presence along with former Crew midfielder Cory Elenio and goalkeeper Ray Burse, Jr.

Garey knows that even though he is only 28, he won’t be playing pro soccer forever.  Armed with a finance degree from the University of Maryland, Garey hopes to get involved with the financial services industry after his playing days are over.

One thing is for certain, he will approach the next step of his career with the same intensity and tenacity he does everyday in the beautiful game.

Major Sponsors Announced by Houston Dynamo and Galveston Pirate

It was a banner week for soccer sponsorships in the great state of Texas.  Both the Houston Dynamo (MLS) and Galveston Pirate (NPSL) announced major sponsorship deals that put them in the forefront of their respective leagues.

The Houston Dynamo announced a long-term sponsorship agreement with Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) on Thursday. The agreement will make Mazda the official vehicle of the Houston Dynamo as well as a founding partner of BBVA Compass Stadium, which will open May 12.

The agreement signals Mazda’s first sports sponsorship in Houston and provides automotive exclusivity with regard to sponsorship rights for the Houston Dynamo. As part of the agreement, for each Dynamo home game this coming season, there will be a Mazda preferred parking area for select fans at BBVA Compass Stadium. The first four Mazda cars that enter the specified lot will be able to park free of charge. The exact location of the lot will be announced at a later date.

“Mazda is proud to be the official car of the Houston Dynamo Soccer Club. Our dealers have been serving the Houston-area for more than thirty years and are committed to their community,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, MNAO. “We look forward to a long relationship with the Houston Dynamo and congratulate them on their new stadium.”

When BBVA Compass Stadium officially opens, customers will have the opportunity to test drive the newest Mazda cars at a two-day Mazda Test Drive Experience event to be held at the Dynamo’s new downtown soccer facility.

“We are pleased and honored to introduce Mazda as a founding partner of BBVA Compass Stadium and a team partner for the Houston Dynamo,” said Dynamo Senior Vice President for Business Development Steven Powell. “Mazda is a strong, international brand and we look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with one of the world’s most innovative automotive manufacturing companies.”

The Galveston Pirate made a huge splash in the NPSL, signing a five-year sponsorship deal with Admiral Sportswear.  Admiral is a brand once worn by some of the biggest names in the world of soccer, including Manchester United, the New York Cosmos, the Vancouver Whitecaps, and the English national team.

Today the brand has made a resurgence in North America and is being worn by champions like the Minnesota Stars (NASL) and Kitsap Pumas (PDL).  Admiral is also worn by numerous other USL-Pro, NPSL, MISL, and WPSL clubs such as the Puerto Rico Islanders, AFC Cleveland, Norfolk SharX, and the LA Vikings.

Galveston Pirate is excited about playing in the NPSL in 2012 with a major sponsor like Admiral in tow.

“I believe Admiral will take Galveston Pirate SC to a new level of professionalism with the players running out on the field in style with top quality apparel for the upcoming NPSL season,” Galveston SC President Brendan Keyes stated. “I look forward to working with Paul Hamburger and his staff for many years, building a trusting relationship between both organizations.”

Admiral Sportswear is excited about breaking into a new market like the Southwest.

“The USA is a really important market for Admiral. There are more soccer players here than in England, Germany, Italy and Spain added together,” Admiral CEO Paul Hamburger commented. ”It’s the right partnership for a team and a sports brand both going places.”