New Dynamo Chief Executive Officer Jamey Rootes may have decades of experience in North American sports, but even he has admitted that his first week on the job has been quite the whirlwind experience.
"It's been drinking from a firehose,” said Rootes with a laugh. “Especially starting from a standstill when you have an organization that is flying the way that this one does. I have had the opportunity to meet tons of people, start to get an understanding of how things operate, but it's still new. This is day five. I'm honored to join this club at such an exciting and important time in this organization's history. Any time that you have new ownership with the excitement and energy and vision that Ted brings to the table, it's awesome.”
Rootes comes to the Dynamo after 20 years as president of the Houston Texans. From the first minute he stepped in the door, Rootes says, he has begun learning the ins and outs of the organization.
“This role of CEO is new to both me and to the organization,” said Rootes. “So, the operative word out there is learning. I'm in an extensive learning process, and folks are getting an opportunity not only to teach me, but to understand what I'm all about. I've had some dialogue and interaction with several members of the management team, and that'll continue. I'll tell you, I'm very excited about the folks that are in place, this is such a talented and passionate team.”
In addition to his decades in the NFL, Rootes spent time at the Columbus Crew as president and general manager in the club’s first four years in Major League Soccer. An Executive of the Year and Marketing Executive of the Year award recipient while in Columbus, Rootes is impressed with how far the league has come since his last involvement.
"It is surprising that you have a truly a national footprint and lots of folks who are interested in investing in the league and being a part of it,” said Rootes. “You've got these great stadiums that have been built, you look last week in Austin, what's happened there. I will say that that was the vision from the beginning. You never know in a doubtful undertaking how it's going to turn out, but it turned out the way that folks like Robert Kraft and Lamar Hunt and others envisioned. It's really nice to see it come to fruition.”
Now back in the beautiful game, Rootes is ready to replicate his former success in his current hometown.
“The idea is let's awaken the sleeping giant of Houston, Texas - that people have been talking about from a soccer perspective,” said Rootes. “I've had a chance to see it first-hand over the last 20 years at NRG Stadium with the number of events that we've hosted. The absolute incredible passion for the game that exists within this community. Where do you start there? Well, you have a new owner who's coming in to put the resources behind the team to realize the vision, so you must identify what's the most important things for us to be investing in – players and their facilities.”
Facilities turned into one of Rootes’ main points of discussion in his introduction to local media. Rootes identified a “holistic review” of BBVA Stadium that is currently underway and announced that the club plans to provide safe standing supporters sections beginning next year.
Before getting back to work, Rootes was sure to give a nod to who he believes is the lifeblood of Houston Dynamo Football Club.
“Excited for this weekend… this is the first time we're going to have the opportunity to have fans at full capacity for a long time,” said Rootes. “As I think about my involvement with sports, what's been the most exciting part of it – it's about the fans. To see the smiles on people's faces, to see the value that we bring to them and to their lives. It brings people together like nothing else. I am looking forward to working with this great management team and the talented teammates that are so passionate about what they're doing to take this franchise forward and realize the vision that Ted (Segal) so articulately pointed out last week."