Houston Dynamo FC signed forward Roberto “Beto” Avila from its MLS NEXT Pro affiliate, Houston Dynamo 2, the Club announced today. Avila is the first player signed to the first team from Dynamo 2 since the launch of the program in Dec. 2021. Avila is also the first player to sign an MLS contract after competing in MLS NEXT Pro.
"Beto’s signing is a historic moment for the club as he is the first player to graduate from Houston Dynamo 2 to our first team,” said Dynamo general manager Pat Onstad. “We launched our MLS NEXT Pro team to provide more professional opportunities for talented young players in Houston and around the country. MLS NEXT Pro is a new initiative by MLS, but we are already seeing the advantages to our player development efforts by providing a valuable bridge from our oldest Academy team to our first team. We plan for Beto to be the first of many players to earn their way to MLS through this new pathway.”
The 21-year-old signed an MLS NEXT Pro Professional contract with Dynamo 2 on February 19 and joined the first team on a short-term loan in April. The forward would go on to make his Dynamo debut in Houston’s 2-1 victory over Rio Grande Valley on April 19, where he assisted on Sam Junqua’s game-winning goal in the 93rd minute. Avila has scored five goals this season with Dynamo 2, and he recorded the first and only hat trick in MLS NEXT Pro history on April 10 against SKC II.
"Beto has earned this new contract by being a standout performer in MLS NEXT Pro and taking advantage of his opportunities training and playing with the first team,” Dynamo assistant general manager Nick Kowba said. “We are excited for Beto and even more excited for the players who can follow Beto’s path. Kenny Bundy and his staff have created a positive, demanding professional environment around Dynamo 2 that has all the conditions to continue producing players for the first team. We look forward to attract more of the top talent from our city and around the country who can benefit from our professional pathway.”
Avila is a product of the Houston Dynamo Academy, having played there during the 2017/2018 season. With the addition of Avila, the Dynamo have six Dynamo Academy alums (MF Juan Castilla, MF Marcelo Palomino, FW Danny Rios, MF Memo Rodriguez and GK Xavier Valdez) on the roster.
After playing for the Dynamo Academy, Avila joined Lonestar SC for the 2018-2019 season, where he scored 12 goals in 18 appearances. In 2019, Avila then signed with the USL Championship’s Austin Bold, where he played until he was loaned to Canadian Premier League side Edmonton FC.