Not many teams can find a way to keep all facets of its enterprise together but the Houston Dynamo are the exception to the rule.
In a world where fans are more used to seeing players chase the almighty dollar and teams sell out to make the biggest splash, Dynamo team president Chris Canettis has done things the old fashion way. He has built a franchise that has earned the respect of players, fans, opponents and each other alike.
Respect begins at home. Following every win, lose or draw, the players salute the fans generating a mutual admiration between the two that has now grown to a 30 game home unbeaten streak in all competitions and the MLS' all-time home winning percentage (.700).
Respect is never more evident then when a player of Mike Chabala's talent who was traded in midsteeeam last season returns to the club he called home since the Dynamo's beginning.
Respect is never more evident than when Englishman Andrew Driver agrees to take a transatlantic flight to Houston for the 2013 season.
"Now, it’s (the MLS) is a place where you can go and really enhance your career," said Driver.
Respect is what you hear when the name of head coach Dominic Kinnear is spoken. Now in his eighth season Kinnear is the only coach Houston has known. "The Dom" has led the Dynamo to four MLS Cup finals winning it all twice. This season the Dynamo are favored to make a third straight appearance in the MLS Cup final and are expected by many to win it all.
Respect is marked by the fact that every member of the starting eleven on last year's MLS Cup finalist is back and under contract including Brad Davis, Oscar Boniek-Garcia, Will Bruin, and Corey Ashe. A big coup for Canetti and his staff in this day of big contracts and greener pastures elsewhere.
In addition to quietly adding players like Chabala and Driver, the team quietly brought in the explosive Omar Cummings although his appearance up front with Bruin has been delayed by injury.
The biggest sign of respect for what Houston has accomplished comes from fan favorite Brian Ching. Ching the team's all-time scoring leader quietly accepted a lesser role on the field last season and returns this season to player-coach.
It's time other teams sit up and take note of what the Dynamo have done and are doing in 2013. Are you listening Astros?