As many Dynamo fans have discovered in recent weeks, the new Hold It Down Plaza located outside the north end of BBVA Stadium is a great place to hang out before the team kicks off its home matches.
Hold It Down Plaza combines the elements of the former Beer Garden experience on Rusk Street and Texas Street Fest on the north end of the stadium into one can’t-miss pregame destination. Adult fans can grab a drink at the new Michelob Ultra Pure Gold Beer Garden, while kids can win prizes at a number of fun soccer-themed games and activations. Weekly live music performances keep the energy up to get everyone ready for kickoff.
At this Saturday’s performance however, fans will be treated to a band that features some extraordinarily deep ties to the Club.
Deniz Love is the lead singer and front man for his eponymous band, who will be playing before this week’s matchup with Austin FC. This will not be Love’s first notable experience at BBVA Stadium, as the Houston native spent three seasons playing with the Dynamo Academy and frequently patrolled the sidelines as a ball boy during his years with the Club.
Love, who has been a fan of the team since its inaugural season in Houston in 2006 and attended both of the team’s MLS Cup winning matches, says that his experience with the Academy was foundational to the person he has become.
“I was just one of those kids that gravitated towards soccer,” Love said. “It was something my family supported. When the Academy offered me a spot as a 15-year-old, that kind of changed everything for us. The Academy taught me a lot about who I am today.”
While with the Dynamo, Love played under former Dynamo defender and current color commentator Eddie Robinson and alongside Dynamo midfielder Memo Rodriguez. He remains friends with Rodriguez to this day, often catching up in the offseason over a game of pickup soccer.
His experience with the Academy was instrumental in helping him receive a scholarship to play soccer at Wright State University in Ohio. Unfortunately, he sustained an injury that derailed his athletic career. As Love explains it, he did not allow the injury to negatively impact him, and instead used it as an opportunity to dive into his other passion, music.
“I always had a passion for music but once I got injured and realized I have to channel that same energy into something else, I realized that music was something that I could do that with,” Love said.
Playing in a band and playing on a soccer team are similar in a lot of ways, according to Love.
“I love it because it feels like I’m a part of a team again, with my band,” Love said. “It feels like we have a chemistry, a whole dynamic going. It feels like a well-oiled machine and an operation where we all have the same goal.”
Fans who plan to see Love’s band should keep their ears open for what MTV calls his “meditative lyrics” and “dreamlike choruses.” According to the Dynamo Academy alum, he has two goals for Saturday’s show including extending the in-state rivalry from the pitch to the concert stage.
“Honestly, I hope to excite people about having live music back,” Love said. “And I also want to show people that Houston has better live music than Austin.”