It took Ted Segal only one day to show that with him signing the cheques, the Dynamo’s days of languishing in the bottom tier of Major League Soccer roster spending could soon be in the rearview mirror.
Officially unveiled as the new majority owner of the Dynamo and the Dash on Tuesday, Segal arrived at BBVA Stadium with two major player announcements ready to go.
The Dynamo have signed 25-year-old centre-back Teenage Hadebe from Turkish Super League club Yeni Malatyaspor as a Designated Player, which means his transfer fee and salary will be above the team’s salary cap.
They also have signed 28-year-old centre-back Tim Parker to a new three-year contract. Parker, who already has become a foundational piece for coach Tab Ramos’ rebuilding project, was in the final year of his contract when the Dynamo acquired him in an off-season trade.
According to salary data released by the MLS Players Union, Parker’s salary of $838 000 ranks third on the team.
Previous majority owner Gabriel Brener, who remains in the ownership group at a minority level, was reluctant to spend big money on the roster.
As a result, the Dynamo ranked 24th out of 27 MLS teams in terms of roster spending based on 2020 salary data.
Segal said he doesn’t have his eyes set on a specific ranking or dollar amount to spend, but he did affirm his commitment to giving the
Dynamo and Dash technical staff what they need to win a lot of games.
“Houston is a world-class city that deserves world-class teams,” Segal said.
“I believe the Dynamo and the Dash should represent the very best of Houston, and I recognise that my role in contributing to the club’s success is to provide the teams with the resources necessary to succeed on and off the pitch. This will be an evolving process as I familiarise myself with the operations of the club.”
Segal got a crash course in that process through the signing of Hadebe.
The Dynamo began tracking Hadebe, who has 30 caps with the Zimbabwe national team, about four months ago.
At the time, Ramos said, Hadebe was not going to be a Designated Player.
Hadebe, however, had a strong finish to the season in which he was named to the league’s best XI in three of the final five weeks, and other clubs began to pursue him.
That made the price tag rise, which forced the Dynamo’s hand.
Even though Segal was months away from finalising his post as majority owner, he stayed connected with Dynamo vice-president and general manager Matt Jordan.
That was just one example, Jordan said, of Segal’s commitment to understanding MLS’ complex roster rules and mechanisms.
And when the price for Hadebe went up, Jordan said Segal never hesitated.
“It’s like anything with recruitment,” Jordan said.
“You go from a list of 100 players to five to two or three, and then you sit and you go through it meticulously, and then you present to your ownership group. And I can tell you there were a couple of other cheaper options, but right away Ted and our ownership group said, ‘no, guys, look, we understand the process. Let’s go for this’. We’re very appreciative of the support on that. And that’s a credit to our ownership group.”
In Hadebe, the Dynamo are getting a player Jordan said has incredible recovery speed and is great in the air.
The Dynamo like that Hadebe is left-footed, which makes it easy for him to start next to the right-footed Parker in the middle of the back line.
The Turkish Super League is extremely athletic, just like MLS.
Hadebe’s transfer is dependent on his receiving his visa, which Jordan said could take five to seven days, and passing a physical in Houston.
The intent from Segal, however, is obvious. His level of commitment to signing higher-priced players on a regular basis remains to be seen, but he already has made a splash.
“I think there’s no question that we have underperformed as an organisation,” Ramos said.
“And I think (Segal is) willing to take the steps that will put us back up in that competitive mode with the rest of the league and head toward the top.” – Houston Chronicle