Houston Dynamo FC and the Houston Dash join Jack Yates High School to re-launch soccer programs
The first boys’ and girls’ soccer team to represent Jack Yates High School since 2013 walked onto the pitch today and were met with more than $10,000 in equipment and gear donated by Dynamo Charities, adidas and Bumpboxx.
The festivities took place on their future practice field in the heart of Houston’s Third Ward, about 200 yards from the previous site of Robertson Stadium on the campus of the University of Houston. The Dynamo claimed two MLS Cup titles during their tenure at Robertson Stadium and returned to the Third Ward with a new brand identity and commitment to grow the game in the Bayou City.
“This the first step in a continuous effort to help grow the game in areas throughout our city,” the Club’s Director of Community Relations Valerie Holland said. “Beyond the equipment and how important that is, this donation will have a lasting impact on the field thanks to Ricardo Clark. Ricardo wrote a curriculum for the coaches and will follow both teams as they return to competitive action this fall. We are excited to see the game grow in a neighborhood that means so much to the Club.”
Students heard from Clark, current Dynamo goalkeeper Michael Nelson, forward Michael Salazar and local rapper Trae Tha Truth. Each student received a new pair of cleats, shin guards and their team uniform courtesy of adidas. Bumpboxx donated a Flare8 for both teams and Retro Pagers for all the student athletes. Dynamo Charities purchased goals and additional equipment to help students like Akeya Mason, an 11th grade student at Jack Yates who will play organized soccer for the first time.
“I wanted to join the Yates soccer team because I wanted to try something new and I thought this was a great opportunity to stand out,” Mason said. “This is huge for us, because it shows that somebody actually cares about us and we can actually represent (the Club) and Yates at the same time.”
Mason and her teammates will train under a program designed by current Academy coach Ricardo Clark. The Dynamo Legend shared a message of perseverance with the students today and he joined the program by working with Holland to select the equipment and gear both teams will use for their first season since 2013.
“When they asked me to help with the program and help design it, I was excited. This is what I do as a coach now, so I connected with the coaches to find out where they were,” Clark said. “We started from square one, we had to make sure they had the right equipment, identify what they are going to do throughout the year and I’m glad to be a part of this initiative. We want to see this grow.”
Clark committed to helping the Yates program develop a new generation of soccer players in one of Houston’s most underserved communities. Clark was often seen in Houston’s underserved communities as a player hosting workshops, donation drives and other events to help grow the game that opened so many doors for him.
“This is awesome, this is what I enjoy doing. Just coaching, designing training sessions, passing on the game that gave me so much,” Clark said. “At the end of the day, soccer is where I found joy, where my passion is and spreading that is a super cool feeling. That’s what I’m doing.”
The students will break for the Thanksgiving Holiday next week but return to competitive action for the first time in nearly a decade this fall. Yates will compete against Furr, Scarborough, Wheatley and other Houston-area schools in class 4A.