Jhosua Jory - Houston Dynamo academy
Courtesy of Houston Dynamo

MLS, Houston Dynamo communities rally behind academy player Jhosua Jory

When the Houston Dynamo set up a GoFundMe page for academy player Jhosua Jory last December, there was no guarantee that their $21,000 goal would ever be met.

Yet, that’s exactly what happened earlier this winter when the Dynamo and Major League Soccer communities rallied to help the Under-15 forward not only stay in Houston, but keep on fulfilling his soccer dream.

Back in November, Jory’s stepfather, Jhon Quinones, tragically passed away. He was the main source of income for their family, with Jhosua’s mother, Ximena Quinones, in the process of completing her accounting degree at Houston Community College. They family is originally from Colombia and faced the realistic possibility of having to return to South America.

Ultimately, $21,145 was raised from 133 donors, with the funds helping to cover monthly expenses for food, rent and other basic necessities.

“I was so happy because I thought I had to go back to Colombia, which would hurt my dreams of playing for the Dynamo,” Jory said. “I was so happy people came out to support me. I'm just thankful that the Dynamo and MLS helped me a lot with the money. Me and my mom, we were so thankful. It was amazing how they helped us.”

Before an initial story on MLSsoccer.com, the GoFundMe page had raised $8,650 – just over 40% of the goal. That very story caught the eye of Dynamo co-owner Jake Silverstein, who contributed a sizable donation to the efforts.

Silverstein is an executive at Stormlight Holdings, a diversified investment platform based in Portland, Oregon. He had never met Jory or his family, yet felt compelled to act for a deeply personal reason: he’s in the process of losing his own father under different circumstances.

“I thought about what it'd mean to go through this while also having the fabric of their family thrown into chaos and possibly peril by the loss of the principle bread-winner for the family,” Silverstein said. “My heart just broke for him.

“It seemed like one of those rare situations in life where you're actually able to translate the values we try to live by into a direct action that can be meaningful for a person who needs it. It was clearly the right thing to do, trying to help the family in this moment.”

The gesture, for the time being, allows Jory to progress through the Dynamo academy system, having joined for the 2019-20 season from Texans SC Houston. A freshman in high school, he’s hoping to one day join defender defender Erik McCue and midfielders Marcelo Palomino and Memo Rodriguez as Homegrowns on the first team.

While that possibility is years away, Houston academy director Paul Holocher has called Jory a “player of really strong potential.” Those aspirations weren’t even present for Silverstein when he donated.

“It was because when you're part of our community, when you're in need, the community takes care of you,” Silverstein said. “That's what it means to be human, to be part of a club.”

The overall situation was entirely out of Jory’s hands, and the same goes for his younger sister. When tragedy first struck last fall, Quinones said through a translator that they weighed going back to Colombia, but some patience and faith ultimately kept things afloat.

“It's been very hard, but it's helped to see Jhosua able to see his soccer dream continued,” Quinones said. “We have a daughter, too, so it wasn't just on the soccer side. It helps our family in general a lot, so it's very special.”

As for next steps, Jory’s preparing for Houston’s start to the spring academy season. His soccer aspirations will continue, even if the grieving persists and family structure never quite looks the same.

“I was happy because I didn't have to go back to Colombia, and I could continue my dream here with the Dynamo,” Jory said. “I cried a lot with my mom because we were so happy to see the support. It was amazing how fast it all happened and how many people were willing to help us out.”