Exclusive Interview: Houston Dynamo CRO Steven Powell

While he was in Houston covering Gold Cup and MLS for the EiF Road Trip Project, Thomas had the chance to sit down with Houston Dynamo CRO Steven Powell.


The Houston Dynamo did not have the best of times last season, finishing dead last in the Western Conference, but this season they find themselves 3rd in the table, merely three points out of first place. With bright young homegrown talents such as Memo Rodriguez emerging in the first team and the club’s Honduran and Mexican internationals shining at the Gold Cup, the Dynamo are in a great spot right now.

However, there is much more to a soccer club than just the players and their performances on the field, and one man who plays a key role in the behind-the-scenes action in Houston is CRO and Executive Vice President Steven Powell…

“[European soccer] is very much funded by television… If, for some reason, subscriptions went down or they had challenges and those dollars weren’t there, I would be worried about how they would be funding those wages and those salaries.”

– Steven Powell

“The players going to China are chasing the cash. End of story… I think we’re better off trying to find those great young players that may have slipped through the nets and developing those players.”

– Steven Powell

“We can’t make mistakes. So Matt Jordan, our GM, who’s been in the role for two or three years, is just spending day in and day out drilling through reports and drilling through videos and spending so much time going over this. And Matt travels and watches these players multiple times.”

– Steven Powell

“My vision and goal is to one day buy and operate a football league team in England, but my ambition doesn’t really go to the point of the Premier League. My ambition is Championship and below, because I think that’s where they’re more part of a community.”

– Steven Powell

“I hope Major League Soccer never loses the passion and the importance of the fans.”

– Steven Powell

“53% of Dynamo fans are Latino.”

– Steven Powell

“Put yourself in this position. If both of you guys had just gone out and acquired a team in Charlotte, North Carolina, and you bought its franchise and paid $200 million for the team, and then suddenly the team got relegated [from the MLS] to the USL, what do you think the value of that investment would look like?”

– Steven Powell

“I think the league’s in a great place and there are a lot of markets that have massive fanbases, but I think it’s important that the playoff games are sell-outs or near sell-outs.”

– Steven Powell

“Will [the MLS] ever compete with the other leagues in the US? I think the answer is yes. Will we ever be the English Premier League? My answer is no… And frankly, I’m not sure if it’s important that we are as big as the English Premier League, because we’re not competing with fans for the English Premier League.”

– Steven Powell

“We’ve got fans, especially millenials, who are soccer fans… Our goal is to say, ‘we want you to adopt this team as your hometown team in Houston.'”

– Steven Powell

“We are Major League Soccer, we are the product in North America, I think the quality of what that product looks like in North America has gotten better and better and better every single year. I genuinely do believe that; there was a time where it wasn’t good, but it’s good now.”

– Steven Powell

“We’ve got fans who are engaged in the game. Our suites are nine rows from the field, they are not 200 yards from the space, because we built the stadium believing that we want this to be a unique experience, we want this to be an experience where fans are watching the bloody game.”

– Steven Powell

“That’s what we’re constantly trying to look at: surveying our fans, trying to understand what they’re looking for, what makes the soccer experience for them better.”

– Steven Powell