US SoccerUS Soccer
Evan Louro

Academy Finals Week Players Reflect on BBVA Compass Stadium Experience


Several Players in Houston this Week were Part of U.S. U-17 Group that Opened New Stadium in May and Hope to Return for Finals Week Title Match

Several Players in Houston this Week were Part of U.S. U-17 Group that Opened New Stadium in May and Hope to Return for Finals Week Title Match

The pinnacle of this year’s Development Academy Finals Week are the title matches taking place at BBVA Compass Stadium, the new home of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo. It’s a valuable experience for a young player to compete in such a huge game and in a fantastic stadium, furthering their development. Some of the Academy players involved in Finals Week already had a taste of the new facility when the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team defeated the Houston Dynamo’s U-17/18 Academy team 3-0 on May 10 in front of a crowd of 8,611 fans.

At the forefront, Crew Soccer Academy Wolves U-15/16 forward Ahinga Selemani led the U.S. with two goals, including the game-winner.

“It was a pretty cool experience because we got to feel like pros for the first time in my life,” Selemani said. “You go through the entrance, walk up and see all the fans there – about 9,000 people. It was a new experience that I’ve never had before, so it was pretty cool.”

“It was a great experience to get to score the first goals in a new stadium,” he continued. “Our team and the way we came out that day, we showed we could be dominant. That led to me having my chances to score those goals.”

Four members of the New York Red Bulls’ U-15/16 Finals Week team also christened BBVA Compass Stadium during the U.S. U-17 MNT’s victory in May. Here is what they had to say about the experience:

New York Red Bulls U-15/16 forward Wesley Wade
On breaking in the new stadium:
“It was a good feeling. Once we got in there, we looked up in the stands and saw all these people there, and the grass was really nice. It was really exciting to open it up in front of all those people.”

New York Red Bulls U-15/16 defender Kevin Politz
On opening the new venue:
“It was great playing in the stadium for the first game. It was a great atmosphere. The field was perfect, the locker rooms were nice – everything was nice about it. It was really fun.”

New York Red Bulls U-15/16 goalkeeper Evan Louro
On what the team has to do to make it back to BBVA Compass Stadium:
“I think we just have to play hard. If we stay together as a team, I think we’ll be fine. It would be great to play in the finals in that stadium again.”

New York Red Bulls U-15/16 midfielder Christopher Lema
On playing at BBVA Compass Stadium:
“I’ve never played on a field that was that nice ever in my life. It felt different; it was a different environment. It was a great way to prepare for the U-17 World Cup.”


×