In 2007, Corey Ashe helped the Houston Dynamo win their second consecutive MLS Cup, playing in 22 of Houston’s 30 regular-season matches during his rookie season. Over his eight-and-a-half-year tenurein Orange, the Viriginia nativecontinued his winning ways with the Club, bringing two Eastern-Conference titles to the city that he now calls his home.
After retiring in March 2017, Ashetransitioned to life as a Dynamo Legend and shifted his focus into helping people stay fit, as well as helping kids develop on the soccer field.One of the first steps into hissecond career was the creation of Cashefit, a company that focused on helping people maintain a high level of fitness, as well as developing soccer players on the field.
“I started my business to help people stay fit, but I also wanted to help kids develop their technical ability on the soccer field,” said Ashe. “The biggest challenge was finding steady clientele, but friends and family were a big part in helping overcome the obstacles.”
With February being Black History Month, Ashe has seen an increase in the attention given to Black-owned businesses in Houston and throughout the country; and he believes that shining a spotlight on those companies is crucial to helping the Black community continue to grow and prosper.
“I have noticed the emergence of supporting Black-owned business. I think it’s important to support these businesses as it serves to create jobs and promote economic growth within the Black community,” said Ashe. “With things like Jim Crow laws and redlining, African Americans weren’t always given the privilege of building generational wealth. By supporting Black-owned businesses, we are able to uplift and empower our community.”
It came by no surprise, however, that Ashe quickly found himself back in the professional realm three years after retiring. After first joining the Dash temporarily at the beginning of the NWSL’s Fall Series in 2020, Ashewas named the team’s Head of HighPerformanceby head coach James Clarkson earlier this year.
“The ladies and staff are fun to be around, and they work hard, demanding a lot of each other. It is a great environment to be in.My passion for soccer and fitness make this position a great fit,” Ashe said.
Taking the position was a no-brainer for Ashe. His success with the club as well as the memories with his former teammates makes the former left back see the Club as hisfamily.
“There is a strong connection with the Club. I met a lot of great people while I was here,” he said. “To me, this is home. I want the Dash to have the same success that I had during my playing years here.”
While his primary goal is to develop the players physically forthe team toachieve success on the field, Ashe is also aware of his ability to help the players away from it, particularly as they navigate the larger questions about race and social justice in America.
Before he joined the team last summer, several Dash staff members and players attended Houston’s protest to seek justice for George Floyd, and Ashe is keenly aware of how his experience as a Black athlete at the highest levels of the sport in America can help him serve as a sounding board as players become more comfortable using their voices to speak up about issues.
“For change to happen, people must be willing to not only use their voice, but also to be quiet and listen. People of color experience a lot of things.Telling them to be quiet or just focus on sports does not fix the problem,” Ashe said. “The events that happened in 2020 forced people to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations. It shed light on a lot of issues that need to change in this country.”
Ashe commends the players in the Club who speak up and use their platform to seek change.
“I think that it’s good that they are using their voices to speak up and really seek change. I think for change to happen, people must be willing to not only use their voice, but people must be quiet and listen” he said. “People of color experience a lot of things and telling them to just focus on sports does not fix the problem.”
Now, the 34-year-old hopes to lead the players into becoming the best versions of themselves.
“I think the biggest goal for me is to help the players be at their best. That means making sure they are explosive, strong, and their bodies can withstand the demands of the season.They have the quality to be a good team that can do a lot of great things.”