Houston Dash announce New Members of Technical and Medical Staff 


The Houston Dash announced new members of the technical, performance, and medical staff ahead of the 2024 season, featuring a dynamic team.

“A target of ours this offseason was to recruit best in class talent to our technical staff. We have put focus on revamping the medical and performance departments to ensure our athletes are set up to thrive and perform at their best,” said General Manager Alex Singer. “As we continue to elevate the club and our ambitions, I’m thrilled to add these members to our staff, who will all play a part in building and sustaining the environment we need for success.”

New to the Dash will be Assistant Coach Gilberto “Giba” Damiano who will be making the international move to Houston. Damiano brings extensive experience to the Dash having over a 20-year career as a coach, manager, coach educator in soccer and futsal from the academy level to the senior professional level, including as the Head Coach of the US Virgin Islands Soccer Association. With the USVI, Damiano led and created a multi-stage strategic plan within the Technical Department and launched their DNA Program. He holds a UEFA PRO License and is expected to join the team in the coming weeks. 

Renee Balconi assumes the newly created role of Director of High Performance to oversee the revamped performance department, collaborating closely with the medical team and coaching staff. Balconi, a former collegiate and professional player, brings extensive experience specializing with athletes, managing year-round workload, providing recovery guidance, and implementing mobility, stability, return to play, and prevention programs into daily routines and macro, meso and micro periodization plan to coaching staff to guide decision making and individual management. Before three and a half years as Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at LSU, she founded and built Balconi Top Training, an elite pro performance center specializing in high performance training for hundreds of athletes and teams.

Head of Sports Science Bethan Lloyd, joined Houston late in the 2023 season. Prior to arriving in the Bayou City, she dedicated eight years to the Football Association of Wales overseeing the entire sports science department from the Youth National Team level through the Senior Women’s National Team, using profiling data tools to inform and assess player capability and develop long term athletic development plans. Lloyd's expertise, in collaboration with the performance team will be crucial in monitoring and improving player performance as she captures and analyzes data, monitors player wellness and individual specific programming, and help the coaching staff make data driven training recommendations. Lloyd holds her UEFA B License.

Andy McKeown joins Houston as the Strength and Conditioning/Performance Coach after three seasons with Celtic Women FC, and will work closely with Balconi, Lloyd, and the coaching staff, responsible for the overall planning and delivery of gym and pitch-based strength and conditioning programs and implementing ongoing physical testing protocols and biomechanical specialization. McKeown who has worked in dual strength and conditioning and sport science roles is known for his role in the 2023 research article titled “Peak physical demands of elite women's soccer: Assessing playing position and post-goal locomotor patterns,” explores the correlation between tactical and physical aspects of performance in elite female athletes.

Texas native Wafaa Chatila returns to the Lone Star State as the Head Athletic Trainer for the Dash. Prior to joining Houston, Chatila led the athletic training team at the Kansas City Current for the last two seasons. In addition to leading medical at the professional level, her experience spans several years working within Division-I collegiate athletics, including roles with Texas Tech, University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of Houston.

Jill Davis assumes the role of Assistant Athletic Trainer for the Dash, bringing her expertise from the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi athletic training staff, where she primarily worked with the soccer program. Before joining the Islanders, Davis spent two years at Liberty University, contributing to soccer, tennis, and volleyball programs. The West, Texas native earned her master's in athletic training and bachelor's in Kinesiology from Abilene Christian University.