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No. 4 – Stories of the Year: Toros’ Hybrid Delivers

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 12/28/16, 7:00AM EST


First of its kind hybrid partnership between RGV, Houston Dynamo thrives in first season

Photo courtesy of Rio Grande Valley FC

The idea was a novel one: An experienced local ownership group in one of the fastest-growing regions in the country partners with an established MLS club to form an organization that will both put a high-quality product on the field and have energized local fan and business support.

In 2016, Rio Grande Valley FC took to the field for the first time, and quickly became the success those within both the local ownership group led by Alonzo Cantu, the Houston Dynamo organization and the USL’s management believed it would be.

With strong crowds in attendance at Toro Stadium, as the club’s state-of-the-art H-E-B Park was constructed, the team put in an excellent inaugural season. RGV finished second in the USL’s Western Conference with an exciting brand of soccer led by Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera.

Photo courtesy of Rio Grande Valley FC

Cabrera is now the Head Coach of the Dynamo, where he will look to improve the club’s fortunes at the MLS level, but a strong contingent of players is set to return for the Toros’ second season in South Texas. Meanwhile, with Reno 1868 FC, the second iteration of the hybrid partnership is about to take off, after the club owned by Indiana Pacers and Reno Aces owner Herb Simon partnered with the San Jose Earthquakes.

With former MLS player and Quakes assistant coach Ian Russell installed as 1868 FC’s first Head Coach, it will be fascinating to see if the hybrid model becomes a partnership trend across the USL as the league’s partnership with Major League Soccer goes from strength to strength.

2016: Top Stories of the Year
No. 4: Toros’ Hybrid Delivers
No. 5: Fury, Rowdies Make Move
No. 6: Forefront of VAR
No. 7: Fountain of Youth
No. 8: Music City Embrace
No. 9: Highlight-Reel Tallies
No. 10: International Flavor