The Houston Dynamo Academy moved up to No. 3 nationally in Soccer Wire’s most recent national rankings update, which was published earlier this week.
And while Soccer Wire publishes rankings of youth clubs on an overall basis, Top Drawer Soccer ranks individual teams within their respective age groups. Houston Dynamo Academy teams from the U13 level up through U19 have been ranked nationally in both outlets thanks to a series of outstanding performances over the fall season.
According to Top Drawer Soccer, the Dynamo Academy’s U17 side ranked ninth in the country, the U14s were ranked seventh and the U13s were ranked third nationally. Top Drawer had the Dynamo U15 side ranked 16th in the country while the U19s were ranked 18th.
Additionally, Youth Soccer Rankings, which ranks teams beginning at the U11 age level, placed four Dynamo teams ranked in the top 100 at the U12 level, including three teams from the Club’s innovative Catalyst Program.
“We are really pleased with the growth and development that occurred during Fall season, especially considering it was a very challenging period for everyone with the pandemic. Our staff maintained a strong focus on helping our players improve and develop, which resulted in the teams competing at a consistently high level each week,” Dynamo Academy Director Paul Holocher said. “The Dynamo Academy mantra is ‘Culture of Development,’ which means having a growth mindset and a daily, proactive approach in developing not just your own game but a willingness to go the extra mile and help others develop as well. Our players have embraced that, and these rankings are a reflection of their hard work and commitment.”
Soccer Wire has covered youth soccer since 2006 beginning in the Mid-Atlantic region before expanding to national coverage in 2015. Their monthly youth club rankings began in February 2020, but was forced to pause in July due to the COVID-19 pandemic which halted youth play across the country.
Both Top Drawer Soccer and Soccer Wire’s rankings factor in teams’ performances in league play with an emphasis on championships and postseason play; and both factor in tournament play and criteria such as youth national team call-ups to compile their ratings.
Dynamo Academy teams posted a combined record of 28-9-6 in the abbreviated fall season, led by the U13 side that went unbeaten in 11 league matches. In late November, the U15 and U16 sides each won the Copa Rayados tournament, with the 16s playing up and winning the Under-17 division.
Each of the Dynamo Academy’s teams from the U13 through U19 level compete in the MLS NEXT developmental league. MLS NEXT was founded by Major League Soccer in 2020 to provide consistent high-level competition for elite players throughout the country. The league currently includes 113 member clubs, which are broken down regionally in order to minimize travel and prioritize athlete, staff and community health standards.
Beyond match day, the fall season was highlighted by a pair of Academy players receiving call-ups for youth national teams. Sixteen-year-old forward Joseph Farouz was called up by Egypt for their U-20 national team camp in September, and 15-year-old center back Mateo Pinilla earned a call to the Colombia U-17 national team camp in December.
The Dynamo Academy began play in the spring season of MLS NEXT earlier this month. Play will run through the spring semester, along with tournaments such as the Dallas Cup on the competition calendar.