The Next Soccer Star?

Steven Devadanam for HouStoned Images Ltd., Ulmtd.
If you do win the Dynamo auction, take good care of the Cup, as Brian Ching does here.

Could this kid be the next Freddie Adu? No telling, but you gotta like that Walberto Vazquez has a soccer nickname: "Pana."

Today, your Houston Dynamo will meet with Vazquez, the team's first selection in the Houston Dynamo Player Development System. Vazquez is a ballin' 17-year-old who's currently a senior at Cy Falls High School, where he plays as a midfielder/forward. The local teen plays club soccer for the Houstonians, and has been a part of an Olympic Development Program for the last five years. Pana will join the Dynamo Player Development System's U-18 (under 18 years old) team. The Dynamo's DPDS provides young soccer studs a "direct path" to the pros.

So can Pana (again, love the name) be the next teen wunderkind? "I think he has the right attitude and the desire to make it big," says Dynamo Director of Youth Development James Clarkson. "He also has technical ability, which allows him to play well." Pana will meet with team reps, including team prez Oliver Luck and head coach Dominic Kinnear today at 4 p.m. Wonder if they'll have a # 17 jersey for him?

Oh, and in other Dynamo news: There's still time to bid on the MLS Cup and have it for a few days. The team is auctioning off time with the cup on the Dynamo site. The highest bidder will receive the Cup on Christmas Eve, and gets to keep it until December 26. The current bid is

$550 (a little rich for our blood), and we're sure it'll get much higher by the time the auction closes on Friday. Just a word to the winning fan: please don't go all Stanley Cup with the MLS Cup (link to horror stories of Stanley Cup abuse). Witness some of the lowlights of Stanley Cup abuse below, and try, dear Dynamo fan, not to emulate:

  • In 1964, Red Kelly of the Toronto Maple Leafs posed for a photo with his infant son sitting in the Cup, only to find the child had urinated in it. Kelly later said that it always made him laugh to see players drinking out of the Cup.
  • Clark Gillies used it as a food dish for his dog; in a similar incident, Guy Lafleur took the Stanley Cup to his family's house in rural Quebec and used it as a bird feeder.
  • The New York Islanders' Bryan Trottier admitted to sleeping with the Cup (as have, apparently, dozens of players).
  • Several New York Rangers took the Cup to Belmont Park, filled it with oats, and let Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin eat out of it.
  • In 2003, Martin Brodeur of the New jersey Devils ate popcorn out of the Cup at a local movie theater, and left butter stains and salt damage. Teammate Jamie Langenbrunner cleaned it up eight days later.
  • Steven Devadanam


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