While every stop that Steve Clark and the Dynamo goalkeeping roster have made in 2022 has contributed to helping get points on the board, some of their stops have meant much more. Throughout the season, with the help of MLS Works and TUDN, Allstate's Every Save Makes a Difference program ensured that every save during a nationally televised Dynamo game sent $500 worth of soccer equipment to a Houston-area school in need.
With the last of six site visits happening at AAMA North Campus last Tuesday, the program has officially seen over $10,000 worth of equipment be donated.
"We want to be part of the community," said Dynamo goalkeeper, Steve Clark, at the Dean Middle School donation event. "I certainly enjoy the connection with the kids, and our Club is one that I think the Greater Houston community can be proud of. We want to do this more - I certainly didn't have those resources in Michigan, but it would have it would have been cool. I was thinking about myself in middle school and how much fun it would have been to take part in an event like this."
The chance to speak to the next generation in Houston was a cherished experience not only for a newcomer to the area like Clark, but a native like Michael Nelson.
"I remember not long ago when I was a kid, probably twenty miles from here in my high school classroom, just wanting an opportunity," said Nelson. "Having people around you to support you in any way, emotionally or with equipment, is a really important part of growing the game. We all need people alongside us on our journey to being the best we can be, and having the opportunity to be that today was amazing."
At all six events, one Dynamo goalkeeper and one Dynamo player surprised students with a question and answer session, followed by a chance to sign autographs. For the principals of the schools visited, the effect of having an honest conversation with a professional athlete was profound.
"It really stood out for the kids to hear that these two didn't just wake up one day and become professionals," said Hoang Pham, Principal at Dean Middle School. "They worked hard each and every day - not only on their skills on the field, but off the field things like school and wanting to become a more complete person. Those points hit home with our kids - hard work takes a lot of dedication, and that is something we want to reinforce at our school."
One of those students was Katherine Ochoa, a student at AAMA North Campus. When asked to speak on behalf of her school to what the donations meant, she gave a passionate speech about the value of extra help to a campus that just needs that little something extra.
"At AAMA North, a lot of our students just need a little push," said Ochoa. "A lot of them are motivated, but we don't really had the opportunities and resources that other schools do. So, getting these moments and this equipment is incredible."
Dynamo Charities is a proud supporter of the idea that soccer can be used for greater societal good in the city the Dynamo and Dash call home. For more information on the organization and how to help our mission, please click here.