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2021-01-22 at 09:00 The 2021 Texas Soccer Summit - Presentation


Join us at The 2021 Texas Soccer Summit!

Welcome to The 2021 Texas Soccer Summit! Texas is a soccer state, but too often the conversations about the sport here have been confined to a select few youth fields, pubs or back rooms. With this all-virtual celebration of soccer, we want to bring those discussions into the open and make sure all voices are included. That’s why we’ve brought together nearly 100 stakeholders to join us on a free platform to discuss the sport we love in the state we call home. The conversations taking place during these four days will continue on The Striker Texas — an app and website devoted to the best coverage of all levels of soccer in our state. We hope you’ll join us.

Check out the upcoming events

February 10 (Wednesday)

1:00 PM - How to make soccer relevant in the mainstream media - Presented by TEXAS MUTUAL

Moderator: Chris Bils, The Striker Texas Senior Staff Writer and Co-Founder

Panelists: Johanna Gretschel, The Striker Texas

Jason Jarrett, Austin American-Statesman 

Tommy Magelssen, Dallas Morning News 

David Nuno, Sports Anchor/Reporter, ABC-13 Houston

Soccer is huge in Texas. So why is consistent coverage of the world's most popular sport so hard to find? For decades, newsrooms around the state have been built around football. Meanwhile, being buried beneath gridiron headlines has hurt FC Dallas, the Houston Dynamo and Dash in their quest to be perceived as a major league in their own markets. Can a new soccer-focused outlet like The Striker Texas help turn the tide?

2:00 PM - MLS Next: Creating the national team stars of tomorrow

Moderator: Jon Arnold, The Striker Texas Senior Staff Writer

Panelists: Juan Delgado, Technical Director, Austin FC Academy

John Gall, U-19 Head Coach and Boys Director of Coaching, FC Dallas

Paul Holocher, Academy Director, Houston Dynamo

Will MLS NEXT mean an even bigger boom of young stars? When the United States failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, there was an obvious issue. Veterans like Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley contributed in World Cup qualification, as did rising stars like Christian Pulisic. Players in their prime, though, were largely absent. That ‘talent donut’ proved costly to the national team. Now, things are changing, with MLS Academy products standing out in the domestic league and also moving abroad and earning plaudits in some of the best leagues in the world. As the MLS DA program is phased out in favor of MLS NEXT, will even more young players be developed? And what’s the best way to guarantee the talent in Texas is being properly scouted, coached and brought along at the right pace?

3:00 PM - College Soccer: With the academy path, will college soccer survive? - Presented by Austin Soccer Foundation

Moderator: Paul Leese, former Men’s Soccer Head Coach, UT Rio Grande Valley

Panelists: Kevin Hudson, Men’s Soccer Head Coach, SMU

Angela Kelly, Women’s Soccer Head Coach, Texas

Paul McGinlay, Men’s Soccer Head Coach, Trinity University

College soccer has been a mainstay in the country’s soccer model for years now, but with the improvements of youth academy programs and the new paths players can take, will college soccer continue to see the success it has in the past? Colleges from all levels on both men’s and women’s sides have seen many of their players reach the highest level of soccer on multiple occasions. With players opting to take an academy path instead, skipping the college route, will college still seem like a viable option for players who want to find success at the professional level?

4:00 PM - Player Panel: Navigating the Path from Second Division to MLS - Presented by Gloria

Moderator: Victor Araiza, The Striker Texas Senior Staff Writer

Panelists: Jimmy Maurer, FC Dallas

Tyler Pasher, Houston Dynamo forward

The conventional path to becoming a professional footballer in the United States isn't always through college soccer or an MLS Academy. A few standout players have grinded out careers in the lower divisions of U.S. Soccer before getting their chance in the top flight. Austin FC defender Ben Sweat, FC Dallas forward Ema Twumasi and Houston Dynamo FC forward Christian Ramirez share their stories of how they eventually got their chance at an MLS club.

5:00 PM - MLS Texas: Can Texas become MLS’ model state?

Moderator: Roberto Silva, The Striker Texas Executive Director and Co-Founder

Panelists: Andy Loughnane, President, Austin FC

Tab Ramos, Head Coach, Houston Dynamo

Andre Zanotta, Technical Director, FC Dallas 

Texas has a rich soccer history at all levels of competition with noteworthy successes in MLS, including the Houston Dynamo’s two MLS Cup titles and 2018 U.S. Open Cup Championship, and FC Dallas capturing the 2016 Supporters’ Shield and a pair of U.S. Open Cup trophies. Austin FC has entered the fold this season and is already garnering attention across the league for its fan engagement, emphasis on local partnerships and state-of-the art stadium. With Austin on board, Dallas placing increased focus on its academy and Houston’s recently rebranding in an effort to build a deeper connection with the city, can the state of Texas become a model for the rest of the league to follow?

February 11 (Thursday)

1:00 PM - Club Marketing: Making soccer matter in a football-loving state - Presented by TEXAS MUTUAL

Moderator: Jon Arnold, The Striker Texas Senior Staff Writer

Panelists:  Zac Emmons, V.P. of Marketing & Communications, Houston Dynamo and Dash 

Sarah Nollner, Director of Marketing and Communications, El Paso Locomotive FC 

James Ruth, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Austin FC 

Can the beautiful game co-exist with Texas' unofficial state religion? From the Dallas Cowboys on down to Friday Night Lights, we know Texas historically has put American football as priority number one on the list of sporting priorities. So, how do Texas’ soccer clubs make sure the fans who are tuned in Saturday and Sunday for college and pro football also become fans of their local soccer team? Or is converting fans of the gridiron a lost cause, with a smarter strategy targeting the minority of Texans who don’t follow another sport?

2:00 PM - Youth girls’ path to pro: Charting the course for girls soccer

Moderator: Chris Bils, The Striker Texas Senior Staff Writer and Co-Founder

Panelists: Kaylie Collins, USC Trojans goalkeeper; ECNL alum

Lesle Gallimore, Commissioner, Girls Academy League

Bri Hilsenteger, Lonestar Academy; Pitt Women’s Soccer commit

Christian Lavers, President, Elite Clubs National League (ECNL)

It's a confusing time to be a player or parent in girls youth soccer in the United States. Despite producing the world's best players for decades, the system has undergone a series of constant changes. What does the future look like for ECNL and Girls Academy? What has all the upheaval taught players about what they want from the experience? Why has high school soccer remained so important to players, despite the growth of the club game? What role should a national league have in player development?

3:00 PM - Performance Panel: Technology's Role in Improving Players' Performance - Presented by Austin Soccer Foundation

Moderator: Victor Araiza, The Striker Texas Senior Staff Writer

Panelists: Wafaa Chatila, Athletic Trainer, Texas Tech Women’s Soccer

D.J. Clark, Sports Scientist, Texas Tech Athletics

Frances Gilbert, Head Athletic Trainer, Houston Dash

Alex Olivares, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Austin FC Academy

Technology has become more prevalent in sports and each year soccer gets more "digital." We dive into the use of technology with trainers from different levels of the soccer pyramid in Texas.

4:00 PM - Laws of the Game: What does futbol expect? VAR, handball and more - Presented by Gloria

Moderator: Christina Unkel, CBS Sports association football laws expert; former FIFA-licensed referee

Panelists: Shaw Brown, Producer, CBS Sports

Ismail Elfath, Professional Referee Organization; 2020 MLS Referee of the Year

Mark Lowry, Head Coach, El Paso Locomotive FC

Dax McCarty, Nashville SC midfielder

What is the soccer world looking for when it comes to VAR, the handball rule and other aspects of the game? What are referees trained to look for and how are players and managers readings of the rules? We take an in-depth look and delve into a variety of perspectives to look for common ground.

5:00 PM - USL Executive: Can second-division teams become relevant in their communities?

Moderator: Rene van de Zande, The Striker Texas Chairman and Co-Founder

Panelists: Tim Holt, Managing Director, San Antonio FC (Spurs Sports & Entertainment)

Alan Ledford, President, MountainStar Sports Group & El Paso Locomotive

Ron Patel, President, Golden Grape Entertainment & RGV FC Toros

Warren Smith, Co-Founder, President and CEO, San Diego Loyal SC 

Is it possible for USL teams to fill the role clubs in England or Germany do as pillars of the city? It can be difficult for clubs to break through in the largest cities in the country, but for decades lower-league clubs have been pillars of smaller communities in countries like England, Germany and Argentina, among others. As the USL Championship and its other leagues continue to grow, what must clubs do to foster the same connection with their local communities? Are there things the league could do to make that more likely? And what are some of the unique challenges each market faces?

February 12 (Friday)

1:00 PM - Foundation of Texas Soccer: The lessons Texas taught you on the way to stardom - Presented by TEXAS MUTUAL

Moderator: Jon Arnold, The Striker Texas Senior Staff Writer

Panelist: Carla Overbeck, former U.S. Women’s National Team captain; FIFA World Cup Champion

How did growing up here help or hinder the path to greatness? Texas can point to some extremely talented players as alumni of its clubs and schools. National team players like Clint Dempsey, Jeff Agoos and Jose Torres on the men’s side and Carla Overbeck and Monica Gonzalez on the women’s side made the state proud on the international level. Yet, we’ve also heard stories about how Dempsey had to drive long hours to make it to training sessions, among other obstacles. We’ll ask these legends whether or not they made it to the very pinnacle of the sport because of or in spite of the soccer culture in Texas and how the environment has evolved since their days on the youth fields.

2:00 PM - Youth during COVID: Keeping youth soccer safe during the pandemic

Moderator: Chris Bils, The Striker Texas Senior Staff Writer and Co-Founder

Panelists: Simon Boddison, Dir. of Soccer Operations, Houston Dynamo | Dash Youth Soccer Club

Erin Medina, COO, Sting Soccer Club

With tournaments every weekend and 10-month seasons, youth soccer has become a billion-dollar industry. What happens when it all stops? In 2020, leagues and clubs were faced with their worst nightmare as the COVID-19 pandemic brought soccer to a halt. What lessons were learned during the scramble to restart? What protocols put in place now will continue into the future? If it happens again, will there be a plan?

3:00 PM - Black Lives Matter Panel - Presented by Austin Soccer Foundation

Moderator: Victor Araiza, The Striker Texas Senior Staff Writer

Panelists: Sade Adamolekun, USC Trojans forward/midfielder; Lonestar Academy alum

Tyler David, Director of Community Relations, USLPBA; Union Omaha midfielder

Jamia Fields, Houston Dash forward

Khiry Shelton, Black Players for Change; Sporting KC winger

Last year saw the soccer community raise its voice in protest of systemic racism and rampant injustice in the world, with organizations like Black Players for Change and the USL Black Players Alliance organizing. In this panel, members of those and other organizations will discuss the role the beautiful game can play in bringing equality to our society and making sure future players of color are seen as equals on and off the field of play.

4:00 PM - Player Panel 2: Taking soccer from hobby to Pro - Presented by Gloria

Moderator: Laura Gomez, The Striker Texas

Panelists: Satara Murray, FC Austin Elite defender

Cami Privett, Houston Dash midfielder

Bri Visalli, Houston Dash midfielder

Danny Woodfill, General Manager, FC Austin Elite

A male athlete can make a living off just being an athlete, but it’s an entirely different story for their female counterparts, that sometimes have to work several jobs to survive and still play. Yes, things are changing specifically for women in soccer due in large to the success of the United States Women’s Soccer team. But is loving the game enough to turn it from a hobby to a career? Does knowing that the possibility is high of having to have different jobs to survive while being pro deter more women athletes from becoming a professional soccer player?  As broad a question as it may be, what do we as a society have to do to help the pro-female athletes?

5:00 PM - Women Pro: 3 vs 1…. Texas should be bigger for professional women's soccer

Moderator: Johanna Gretschel, The Striker Texas Managing Editor

Panelists: James Clarkson, Head Coach, Houston Dash

Victoire Cogevina Reynal, Founder, Gloria

Julie Uhrman, Founder and President, Angel City FC

The state of Texas is well-represented in Major League Soccer between Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas and the league's hottest new franchise, Austin FC. But the Lone Star state boasts just one team in the National Women's Soccer League, the Houston Dash. Can Texas support another professional women's team? Which city is the prime candidate? Why hasn't the NWSL expanded further in Texas already?

February 13 (Saturday)

1:00 PM - Looking Back on Texas’ Best MLS Moment: When the MLS Cup came to town - Presented by TEXAS MUTUAL

Moderator: Glenn Davis, Voice of the Houston Dynamo

Panelists: Paul Dalglish, former Houston Dynamo forward

Eddie Robinson, former Houston Dynamo defender

MLS had just arrived in Houston and it was an immediate success, as the Houston Dynamo lifted the MLS Cup in back-to-back seasons in 2006 and 2007. We look back on the moments behind the scenes of these title runs, remember some of the ups and downs of those runs to the title and reminisce on the glory days at Robertson Stadium with some of the figures who made it happen.

2:00 PM - Youth Mexico/USA (Spanish): La dura decision, Mexico o EEUU

Moderator: Victor Araiza, The Striker Texas Senior Staff Writer

Panelists: Rafa Calderon, Explorador de Federación Mexicana de Fútbol

Monica Gonzalez, former Mexican Women’s National Team forward/defender

Ricardo Pepi, FC Dallas forward; United States U-17 National Team alum

Many players in Texas share ties to the other side of the border and the choice on which country to represent can be controversial, given the rivalry that exists in soccer between the USA and Mexico. Our panel explores the hard choice on choosing to sport the Red, White and Blue or the Green, White and Red.

3:00 PM - Texas Soccer History: Keeping the Stories of Texas’ Greats Alive - Presented by Austin Soccer Foundation

Moderator: Jon Arnold, The Striker Texas Senior Staff Writer

Panelists: Josh Hakala, TheCup.US

Jeff Organ, Texas Soccer Journal

Dave Brett Wasser, soccer archivist

Remembering the greats who have laced it up in Texas. With the excitement surrounding MLS, it can be easy to forget the history of soccer in Texas goes back much further than to 1996. In a discussion with a number of respected soccer historians, we’ll talk about big moments like the 1994 World Cup and other oft-overlooked moments like Pele, Lionel Messi and other greats suiting up to play in Texas - plus how some of the greatest players from Texas got their humble start in the state and teams that represented Texas on the national stage long before the Dallas Burn - or even the San Antonio Thunder - existed.

4:00 PM - Player panel 3: The secret life of a pro soccer player - Presented by Gloria

Moderator: Chris Bils, The Striker Texas Senior Staff Writer and Co-Founder

Panelist: Sonny Guadarrama, Liga MX and USL Championship veteran

Every day, millions of young soccer players wake up with the dream of playing professionally. Full stadiums, fancy cars and adoring fans dance through their heads. But what does it really take to make it at the top levels? Is it everything the media makes it out to be?

5:00 PM - MLS Coaches: The transition from the pitch to the sidelines and front office

Moderator: Jimmy Conrad, 13-year MLS veteran and U.S. Men’s National Team defender

Panelists: Matt Jordan, Houston Dynamo, Senior Vice President and General Manager

Luchi Gonzalez, Head Coach, FC Dallas

Can you predict the success of a great coach or general manager by their attributes as a player? We get into the challenges players face in starting a new career once their playing days are done.

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