Houston Dynamo FC (MLS) and Rio Grande Valley FC (USL Championship) announced on Wednesday a restructuring of their affiliate partnership, leaving RGV FC to manage all aspects of soccer operations for the second-tier side.
The agreement places RGV FC in charge of player selection, as well as coaching and technical staff decisions, with a head coach search process expected to begin immediately. The partnership runs through the 2021 MLS and USL seasons, but includes the option to be extended further.
Houston will keep the MLS affiliate rights to all players under contract with RGV FC. The clubs can still loan players to one another for individual games or for longer durations during a season.
“The COVID-19 pandemic created a number of challenges for both of our clubs this year on and off the pitch, and that led us all to reevaluate the nature of the partnership going forward,” Houston president John Walker said in a release. “It has been a long process to get to this point, but thanks to the leadership of Ron Patel at RGV FC, we were able to work out an agreement that sets both organizations up for success going forward.”
Because of the restructuring, RGV FC can compete in the U.S. Open Cup for the first time in 2021. During the partnership’s first five years, 12 players have been signed to Houston’s roster after first playing for the Toros. Another 37 players have played for RGV FC while on loan from Houston.
“Due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic and the challenges it has presented, we’ve had to work as partners to allow both clubs to focus on our primary objectives,” Matt Jordan, Houston senior vice president and general manager, said in a release. “We are pleased to have reached this agreement to restructure our affiliation with RGV FC while continuing to provide a platform for our players to gain crucial experience in a professional and highly competitive environment.”