Major League Soccer

Paulo Nagamura vows to restore Houston Dynamo’s identity

Lizzy Becherano
Nagamura has been named as the Dynamo's new coach
Nagamura has been named as the Dynamo's new coach / Scott Halleran/GettyImages

Newly appointed Houston Dynamo head coach Paulo Nagamura vows to restore the Western Conference side after finishing in last place and missing the MLS Cup playoffs for a fourth consecutive year.

With a new majority owner in Ted Segal and new general manager in Pat Onstad, Nagamura hopes the restructure can rescue the identity that Houston held years ago. 

"I believe we have to change the culture a little bit, to rescue that identity that Houston had seven to eight years ago," Nagamura said during his inaugural press conference.

"We need to implement a culture and that is a process, that's not an overnight project. We need to rescue that. And once we settle that and have a good culture in the club I'm sure the pieces that are going to be added on, reinforcements, new signings, will make this a very competitive team."

While Nagamura may only be a first-time Major League Soccer coach, he’s been around the league for over a decade. He first kicked off with a lengthy playing career that included time with LA Galaxy, Toronto FC, Chivas USA and Sporting Kansas City before evolving into a coach. 

He has spent the last four seasons leading Sporting Kansas City’s USL Championship affiliate Sporting Kansas City II, working closely with Peter Vermes.

GM Pat Onstad is confident Nagamura’s experience with the league will distinguish Houston moving forward, as he admits the head coach marks a new era for the club. 

"When we searched around the world for all those coaches, speaking to a lot of high-potential coaches that we were looking for, is that we found the biggest issue we had with a lot of these guys we spoke to was a lack of familiarity with MLS," Onstad said.

"Well, the gentleman beside me has played 12 years in the league. He's been in a coaching environment for five years, he's as long in the tooth in MLS as I am. He's a guy that's very familiar and I think what's really important as well is he's a winner. He's won two MLS Cups, three U.S. Open Cups, he's continually been on teams that have been fighting for championships. And that's the type of person we wanted to hire."

The Houston Dynamo returns to action on February 26 as the 2022 Major League Soccer season begins.