First, Dominic Kinnear left and everyone knew that it would be hard to fill his shoes. Now Owen Coyle has left and well it shouldn’t be too hard to fill his shoes. Coyle’s departure has given Houston the opportunity to go back to the “Dynamo Way” and a culture of winning.
For all the trivialization made of a saying like the “Dynamo Way,” it rings true to this organization. The “Dynamo Way” is not just a saying. It was and can be once more a culture that breeds winning. Players like Brad Davis, Pat Onstad, Bobby Boswell and many more often spoke of and lived the “Dynamo Way.” They worked at instilling it in each player that stepped through the doors of the Houston locker room. Only one active player really remains from those days and that player is Ricardo Clark. And only one former player currently connected to the organization can bring that back and that person is Wade Barrett.
Barrett is not your rah rah kind of guy but if you have observed him at training sessions over the years, you know that he is a guy who expects the best and has a way of communicating his message without being brash, arrogant or combative. He is as Houston Dash defender Cari Roccaro might say “laid back intensive.”
In his day, the 39 year old was considered one of the best defenders to step on the pitch. He was the starting left back for the then San Jose Clash winning the 2001 MLS Cup. A year later he departed for Europe after being named to the 2002 MLS Best XI side. After three seasons in Europe, he returned to the San Jose in 2005 helping the organization win the Supporters Shield before the team relocated to Houston as the expansion Houston Dynamo. Barrett won two more titles with Houston before retiring in 2010 and becoming a fixture on the Houston sideline learning under Kinnear and becoming the only member of that staff to remain during the Coyle regime. Suffice it to say that Barrett knows defense and if Houston needs anything, it needs to get back to being a strong defensive side.
Barrett represents continuity and chemistry something this team is sorely lacking. With a 76% roster turnover since the 2014 season, it is little wonder that the team has a problem finding chemistry, continuity and should I say an identity. Only eight players remain since Kinnear last roamed the Houston sidelines. Barrett has endured through the turnover and he knows each player maybe better than the players know themselves.
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In Matt Jordan’s media conference call on Thursday afternoon, he made reference to the team looking for a coach that is familiar with North American soccer. Well look no further, Wade Barrett is your man. He has been associated with North American soccer for pretty much his whole life and oh by the way he has some knowledge of European ball too.
When Barrett retired in 2010, he spoke of what he wanted to accomplish as he began his coaching career.
“I am going to be a sponge and learn as much as I can from this coaching staff,” Barrett said. “I’m sure I’ll have my own ideas along the way, but this is a great opportunity for me to soak in as much knowledge as they can pass on and take it down the road and see what that it turns into for me.”
Houston has a knack for putting former Dynamo players in the right spots throughout the organization. Brian Ching, Michael Chabala and Eddie Robinson are just a few that come to mind. Why not Wade Barrett, the former Dynamo captain? He is a respected former player with a knowledge of the game that is second to none, has a means of communicating that resonates with players, is loyal to the organization and it’s way of doing business and he has earned the opportunity. He is a proven winner. He believes in the “Dynamo Way.”