HOUSTON – During the offseason, Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear conceded that he would prefer to carry three goalkeepers in 2011. With the retirement of Pat Onstad, there was a vacancy to fill.
On Monday, the Dynamo filled that vacancy when they announced the signing of 2011 Supplemental Draft pick Evan Newton. For the rookie goalkeeper out of Old Dominion University, the signing accomplishes a lifetime goal.
“It’s a dream come true from when I was a little kid,” Newton said. “Now the pressure of getting the contract and on the roster is over and now it is a matter of keeping it.”
As a Supplemental Draft pick, Newton entered the preseason without a contract. That meant the rookie would have to show the Dynamo coaches he was ready to be a professional.
“He had to come in and look to prove himself,” Kinnear said.
Proving yourself in preseason can be tough as a third goalkeeper. Chances are often limited, but Newton got an early chance to step in during Houston’s first scrimmage this preseason. He made eight unofficial saves against many of the Dynamo regulars, and the performance caught Kinnear’s attention.
“[In] the game we played against the academy, he came in and made some very good saves and looked very comfortable,” Kinnear said.
His performance in that match — his only playing time of the preseason to date — and his work ethic during trainings convinced the Dynamo of his potential.
“His attitude and talking to Tim [Hanley, Dynamo goalkeeper coach] who deals with him more one on one than I do, Tim feels he is a goalkeeper with potential and that’s what you want from your third goalkeeper,” Kinnear said.
Now that he’s signed his contract, Newton is looking to take the opportunity to learn from Hanley and veteran goalkeepers Tally Hall and Tyler Deric.
“There are some little things, like positioning, that at this level you need," Newton said. "Here everyone’s got a base but it’s the little details that make the difference.”
Newton plans to keep working and adding to his game and to push Hall and Deric during trainings.
“Now I’m going to support them and push those two as much as I can," Newton said. "I understand where I’m at and what my job is, and that is to play and do what I can.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.