Houston Dynamo majority owner Ted Segal appeared on Glenn Davis’ Soccer Matters radio program on Tuesday evening to address the decision to part ways with Senior Vice President and General Manger Matt Jordan and to share some insight into what’s next for the Club, on and off the pitch.
In the roughly 20-minute conversation, which you can listen to here, Segal touched on several topics related to Monday’s announcement, including his thought process behind the decision, the search for Jordan’s replacement and his commitment to building a winning culture within the organization.
“With respect to Matt, who in have to say is a person of the finest character and I know was invested in and deeply desired success for the Club, we are where we are in the standings, and we are in a fifteen-game winless streak, which has coincided a lot with my short stint as owner,” Segal said.
With regards to the search for Jordan’s replacement, Segal made clear that previous experience within the league would be an important factor in the process.
“I don’t want to give away all of the elements of our search,” Segal said. “What I will say is that we certainly will be looking at candidates with MLS experience. MLS experience, given the unique rules of MLS and the unique style of play, certainly is an important thing and a factor we’re going to consider.”
When asked by Davis whether Jordan’s role could be split in two with separate technical director and general manager roles, the Dynamo owner said that all options are on the table at this early stage of the search process.
“It is certainly going to be a consideration. We’re making our evaluations right now. We’re in the early days of our search. We’re going to see what kind of candidates we’re able to field, and who expresses interest to be here. I do think it’s an appealing location and an appealing opportunity, both with respect to the quality city and the successful history of Houston. And hopefully some folks who are encouraged by new ownership.”
In addition to the attractiveness of the city of Houston, another factor Segal mentioned that could help attract quality candidates to the position is an increased budget for the club. Segal did not provide specific figures for how much the budget will increase by, but he did emphasize that he is willing to spend more than the team has in previous years.
“What I will say is that we have set an objective to spend materially higher than we were last year. I think our fans will be presently surprised with what shakes out with respect to roster spend in the coming offseason,” Segal said. “I’ll also note that to the extent that folks are disappointed with the lack of spend to date, I hope that they can appreciate, the well-versed soccer fans that they are, that there are only certain things that you can do mid-season, inheriting the roster that we inherited, and changing things midstream as compared to in an offseason.”
While Segal committed to increased spending, he also emphasized that the team would not spend money just for the sake of it. He acknowledged that stars are important to any sports organization, but made clear that he would only spend money on a star if it would help the organization on the pitch.
“I think it’s about getting the right star,” Segal said. I think we’ve seen examples in MLS of the right star translating to great success for the club and you’ve seen other individuals who might be taking a victory lap in MLS, although that’s less commonplace now than in previous times. But you’ve seen examples of folks coming into MLS who are so-called stars and not playing that way. So, we recognize the risk of devoting a lot of resources into a given individual, so we’re going to be very thoughtful about that.”
While the on-field product is his primary focus at the moment, Segal said that he will continue to evaluate every aspect of the Club.
“No further changes are currently imminent, but we’re making a holistic review of all facets of the organization and how we can improve it, from our front office to our training ground, to our stadium. So, there’s a lot that’s in the works.”
This holistic approach, Segal said, is all about implementing a winning culture within the organization, and that radiates outward from the playing field.
“What I will say, is the culture that I’m trying to imbue here is a culture of winning and that starts first and foremost on the pitch. If we have a commitment to success on the pitch I do think that that should translate to a commitment to success in all facets of the organization.”