HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo net is going to be in good hands for quite some time.
Not often are players in direct competition with each other put at the same table to announce that both are staying with the club, but that is what success has bred in this case, as the allure of staying in Houston and with goalkeeping coach Tim Hanley was too good to pass up.
“I think both of us had an opportunity, when your contract is up it’s up to you whether you want to shop around overseas or do whatever you want,” Hall (above) told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s one of those situations where it is strange to announce two goalkeepers re-signing at the same time. It’s a situation where we’re both improving and pushing each other. That helps us as individuals and it helps the team.”
The decision did not present many obstacles for Hall. The 2011 MLS All-Star has been part of two Eastern Conference title-winning teams in his first two years as a starter, putting his name on the national landscape all while making a home in Houston.
Deric’s situation, however, was a bit different. Out of contract and open to explore his options, the 24-year-old decided to take the challenge of battling Hall instead of looking for a quicker road to a starting position.
“It was a really tough decision with the fact that Tally’s here and he’s an established goalkeeper, he’s earned everything,” Deric told MLSsoccer.com. “I take a lot of pride in myself and not taking the easy route so I wanted to look at this as a challenge and I have to work harder to become a better goalkeeper.
"So it’s always been my goal to take down the champ and it’s always been my goal to beat out Tally for that spot. Doing it this way is going to make me a better goalkeeper.”
That competitive drive has helped create a healthy environment, with Hanley's aid, for competition and not conflict. The result has been success for both as Hall has taken the reins with MLS success and Deric has won over critics by leading Houston out of their CONCACAF Champions League group and into a quarterfinal matchup with Santos Laguna while also helping take a division crown in the reserves.
The success has helped create healthy environment for both players to thrive, which they will get again in 2013.
“It’s kinda funny that people look at me and see I’ve been starting for two years and think I’m getting more and more comfortable,” Hall said. “Yes, there’s a huge competition but if I asked Tyler, ‘Hey, if I did this would I be in a better spot or make more saves?’ there’s no question he would answer me honestly and I’d speak up if he’s out of position to help him out.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.