Four Houston Dynamo FC Academy players received invitations to the upcoming U-17 U.S. Youth National Team camp. The four players that were invited by U.S. Soccer are Brian Alanis, Andre Gitau, Luis Moreno and Zeke Soto.
The camp will take place from Jan. 18-25 in Bradenton, Florida.
For Alanis, Gitau and Moreno, this is their second USYNT camp invite, having previously attended a camp in November 2021. It is the first invite for Soto, who is a full year younger than his fellow attendees. Soto is one of only two players born in 2007 to earn an invite to this camp, with the rest of the invitees having been born in 2006.
After hearing news of the call-ups, Houston Dynamo Academy Director Paul Holocher expressed satisfaction at the opportunity these players have earned.
“We are all extremely excited for these four young men who have been called into the upcoming U-17 US National Team camp,” Holocher said. “It’s been great to see Luis, Brian and Andre grow and mature in the game over these last few years, and it’s a superb honor for Zeke, who will the youngest player in the camp with his first call up to this level. They are all prepared and excited to represent Houston and the Dynamo positively with this opportunity.”
While getting the chance to participate in a national team camp is special in and of itself, the invited players say that getting to share the experience with their teammates makes the time that much better.
“We all have a good relationship with each other, which always helps,” Moreno said. “It just helps us get comfortable and not get nervous because if all four of us made it, it means we all deserve to be here.”
The three returning players have excelled since joining the Dynamo Academy in 2018, catching the eye of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s talent evaluators. Soto, joined the roster more recently, have come to Houston this past August from his hometown club, Murrieta Soccer Academy in California.
"I think it's a big win for everybody in the club to get four guys into a camp, which is kind of rare for a camp of 36 players coming from all across the country,” Director of High Performance Tony Vigil said. “I think it's a sign of the times of where the club's heading. I think you're going to start to see a lot of young players start to be produced through the Academy."
For Houston Dynamo U-17 coach Adin Osmanbasic, receiving this kind of honor has a positive impact throughout the squad.
"I certainly believe it would show them that the quality of the group is high, which makes them feel more positive about the group they're playing with and also feel like they're competing with top guys every day in training,” Osmanbasic said. “They're training with guys everyday who will make them better. So, it's important as a teammate, I believe, to have the feeling that you're in an environment where you're developing as best as you can, and I think this goes well to show them that."