DSC00591

The Houston Dynamo and Dash are driven by a singular aim - to ignite passion and pride for the city of Houston. This comes in all shapes and sizes, and especially all ages. To this end, the Dynamo and Dash have launched the Skill Builders Academy in 15 schools across the city of Houston, aimed at starting love and passion for the sport of soccer at the youngest of ages.

Introducing the Dynamo Skill Builders Academy Program!

"The Skill Builder Academy is an innovative grassroots development program," said Houston Dynamo FC Academy Director, Paul Holocher. "Over the last several years, we have been working hard to develop a Physical Education program designed for young children. We emphasize the individual, with a special focus on developing skill through ‘ball mastery’ exercises and fun games. The goal is help each child become comfortable with the ball and successful in learning new skills, giving them a head-start for long-term enjoyment of the game."

"We are proud that as an organization, we can provide this type of positive program to the schools, teachers and families," continued Holocher. "We believe it can jump start a love the game for many thousands of boys and girls. These early positive engagements can also inspire many to join a local club or come out and enjoy the excitement of their first professional soccer match at the stadium. The Dynamo and Dash believe in the unlimited potential of the youth and we want to be a part positive part of helping it grow."

DSC00416

The philosophy of Skill Builders Academy is inspired by Tom Byer’s Soccer Starts at Home®, a world-renowned development philosophy designed for young children ages 2-8 and more specifically, their Parents and the schools in our Greater Houston community. The message is simple - success is driven by getting a ball at a child's feet and getting them comfortable with it as early in life as possible. While SSAH emphasizes the role of a parent in the success of a young soccer player, Skill Builders Academy brings in the teachers in a child's life as additional keys to success.

To help teachers from across Houston in this aim, the Dynamo and Dash held an initial physical education coaching clinic at PNC Stadium. While being entrenched in the methodology and ethos of what they will be teaching their children, they also were tasked with learning and mastering skill building drills.

DSC00379

"It is an incredible experience filled with tremendous awe and joy," said Grassroots and School Coordinator, Meghan Scharer, on the on-site visits within the program. "For many kids it is their first experience dribbling a soccer ball and to see the lightbulb go off when they are successful with a skill is so rewarding. It is also amazing to see the PE teachers learn and coach the lessons with confidence and enthusiasm. We have an extraordinary team of PE teachers that have brought the program to life at their schools. There are so many moments and opportunities to celebrate student growth and development that create such a positive environment and being able to use the sport of soccer to shine that light is the best."

The aforementioned site visits have be helped by a proud partner of the Club, Hess. Hess have had employees at multiple site visits throughout the city, with one of them being KIPP Explore Academy. Hess has partnered with Dynamo Youth Programs on supporting the community in the Third Ward, including providing a coach to run a six-week soccer program for local students. That coach will be certified within the Dynamo Skill Builder Academy.

"It was so fulfilling to be able to volunteer at the school and engage with the children," said Audrey Deleon, Talent Acquisition Analyst for the Hess Corporation. "I enjoyed helping them as they learned new skills and practiced their soccer moves."

"Our 2nd grade students at Explore were really excited that they got the opportunity to learn ball mastery skills from our partners with the Houston Dynamo," said KIPP Explore PE Teacher, Kevin Abanobi. "Our students loved having extra coaches available to be able to provide them with the proper feedback they needed in order to perform each skill properly."

"We are excited to be able to offer a development program designed to focus not only on player development, but Teacher Development as well," said Youth Programs Manager, Juan Vega. "Our goal for 2023 is to certify 100 campuses, which would mean hundreds of teachers having the ability to lead soccer-specific, skill development programming. Having a goal of thousands of players developing right in their own schools would have an amazing effect on the growth of our game in Houston."

Want your school or fellow teacher to be involved with the Skill Builder Academy? You can nominate them here, and can learn more information about the program and the beginning of the program here.

We want to come to your school!

We want to come to your school!

Want the Skill Builders Academy to come to your school?