Houston Dynamo midfielder Ricardo Clark was recognized by the All Nations Soccer Academy (ANSA) at their inaugural Field of Dreams dinner Thursday night at BBVA Compass Stadium for his work with the organization and commitment to youth soccer.
“I started working with ANSA a couple of years ago. The main thing that drove me to the organization was their mission. I have a passion for working with kids and that started when I had my own kids,” Clark said. “[Soccer is] always fun, that’s what carries me through. That’s what I enjoy the most, I see the pure aspects of the game through these guys.”
At its core, ANSA’s mission is to provide an opportunity for all people of all nations to play soccer. Clark emphasized three pillars for his work with ANSA – a strong mind, body and spirit.
“I really believe that by having those three things in balance through school, by exercising, having a good diet and most importantly through a higher power like Christ – it can only be beneficial for us,” the midfielder said.
Clark met the founder of the organization, Marcelo Galvao, who is also an assistant coach with the Houston Dash, at an ANSA practice a few years ago. Galvao’s sons played for the Dynamo Academy and a casual conversation led to the continued development of ANSA and the strong relationship with Clark.
“I would see Rico not only in the morning with the Dynamo but in the evening training on his own, a conditioning coach or other people helping him improve. You could see he was committed and wanted to work hard and you can just tell that he cared and see his humility,” Galvao said. “This guy is the perfect example for what we’re trying to coach here in Houston. I tell my boys that this is what a professional looks like.”