Preparations for the upcoming MLS NEXT season are well underway at Houston Sports Park and the Dynamo Academy celebrate the accomplishments of four players who reported for preseason prepared for a new campaign.
The first Dynamo Academy Team of the Month includes Maddox Choate from the U-13 team, Jose Menjivar from the U-14 squad, Javier Caro from the U-15 team, and Akseli Ekqvist from the U-17 group.
“The Dynamo Academy want to recognize players who showed effort and consistency in their own process of development and celebrate players who are developing positive habits through their level of daily practice,” Dynamo Academy director Paul Holocher said. “There are many variables we considered; deliberate focus in training, competitions, professionalism and positive support of teammates.”
Ekvist joined the Dynamo Academy at the U-12 level and the Houston native was praised by U-17 head coach Adin Osmanbasic for his work in the offseason as the midfielder reports for his second year in MLS NEXT.
“Akseli has started the season strong. His work in the off-season has allowed him to come into training at a higher level, which has not only benefited himself but the team as well,” Osmanbasic said. “His focus on and off the field along with his willingness to be a voice on the team is the reason he is our first player of the month for this season.”
As mentioned by Holocher above, this award looks to recognize Dynamo Academy players that facilitate a professional environment both on and off the field. Caro enters his third year with the Dynamo Academy after joining the U-13 team in 2020 and the Houston native has proved to be a stellar representation of the program going into his first year with head coach Jeremy Hurdle.
“Javier has been a top competitor and a selfless teammate so far this season,” Hurdle said. “He is always focused and engaged and arrives every day with a professional approach and hunger to improve himself and our team.”
Menjiva enters his first year with the Dynamo Academy after joining the club from Houston Hotshots. He will work with U-14 head coach Shahad Farahani, who enters his first full season with the club.
“Jose displayed a great competitive attitude in pre-season in the month of August along with a growth mindset and willingness to learn new concepts about the way we want to play at the Houston Dynamo Academy,” Farahani added.
The youngest member of the Team of the Week was a member of the Dynamo Academy Catalyst Program and Houston Dynamo & Dash Youth. Maddox reports for his first season in the Dynamo Academy and the Katy native represents the U-13 side led by head coach Tanner Chassman.
“In the first month of training, Maddox has exemplified the professional qualities of a Dynamo Academy player,” Chassman said. ‘Through his quality of play, intensity within training, and level of focus, he has shown the qualities of a leader. He has helped push the high standards we hold for our team both on and off the pitch.”
“There were many deserving players on each team, but these four set good examples over the course of the month, taking active ownership of their own development. We are very happy they have been recognized as our first Dynamo Academy Players of the Month for August.” Holocher added.
The MLS NEXT season begins on this Sunday, Sept. 11th vs Austin FC, with the U-13, U-14, U-15 and U-17 squads all opening their league play at the Houston Sports Park.
Additional information about the Dynamo Academy Team of the Month will be available on Twitter and HoustonDynamoFC.com