Nhan Doan - Sports Reporter

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Jenna Trauffler Road To Recovery

Posted on July 19, 2018 BY Nhan Doan - Sports Reporter


Dash U17’s Jenna Trauffler and the road to recovery......

While the rest of the U-17 Houston Dash Development Academy team travelled to San Diego, California for the DA Showcase, Jenna Trauffler stayed home to continue her rehabilitation.

Last September, Trauffler entered the season with high hopes. After spending more than 10 years at the club from the recreational to the competitive level, she received a call up to the DA team to compete in the inaugural Girls’ DA league season. She considered it a tremendous process in her career, and was eager to be a part of it.

“We just switched to DA from ECNL, so there were a lot of big changes,” Trauffler said. “I was just excited to be playing with the same competition, but at a new level of playing. Everything was kind of progressing a lot more. The competition was getting better and better each year.”

Houston Dash didn’t have the best start as its first victory only came at the ninth game of the season, but Trauffler, a sophomore centerback, enjoyed her life at the new level. She started in every match and was contacted by a Wisconsin recruiter for a possible scholarship. Her eyes were set for the three-game College Showcase tournament in Lakewood Ranch, Florida in December, where she would have a chance to impress in front of more than 300 college coaches.

In a flash, her season and her collegiate recruitment dashed away tragically.

A week after helping the Dash securing their first win of the season, Trauffler started her tenth consecutive match against Solar Soccer Club in Denton, Texas. Midway through the first half, Trauffler rushed out to take on an opposing attacker which should have ended with a routine tackle.

That routine tackle became eccentric when she heard a pop sound coming from her left knee.

“I was playing with this forward from Solar,” Trauffler said. “I tackled her this one time and the ball got away from us. We were both running back and she had turned to face me. I went for another tackle and I planted [the foot] wrong, and my knee collapsed.”

The trainer said she only suffered a sprained ligament and Trauffler was able to complete the match, but she knew something more serious happened to her knee. A week later, an MRI scan confirmed the worst: a torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligament. Trauffler was told she would take eight months to a year to fully recover. Her season and her chance to compete in the college showcase were lost at that moment.         

“When the doctor said I had a torn ACL, my mom started crying,” Trauffler said. “I was trying not to cry. When I got home, I just started to cry. I felt like, I’m going to be out for so long.”

Trauffer said it was the first time she had to miss matches because of an injury, but she never expected such a long absence. She used to spend hours travelling to training, practicing and then hanging out with her teammates after school. The injury suddenly gave her plenty of freedom, but the mental pain of not being able to play soccer caused her to fail to find anything fascinating to fill the blank.

“Soccer was what I looked forward to after school every single day,” Trauffler said. “I was able to get all of my energy out and work as hard as I could non-stop. The first week after surgery, I tried to go to the bathroom and my knee couldn’t bend because there was a big cast that was straight and I couldn’t go to the bathroom because I couldn’t sit. This is going to be awful."

“I didn’t have to go to practice. I had so much free time but it was just a lot of finishing homework early and kind of sitting in the bed, watching TV or doing whatever. I think I was more depressed about not playing soccer rather than doing anything new.”

Jenna wasn’t the only Trauffler to suffer a torn ligament as her brother, Ryan, tore his ACL on three occasions. The Trauflers knew what to do to help her recover as fast as possible and she was quickly setup for rehabilitation.

Jenna went to the same therapist that helped Ryan two days after the surgery, where she committed to attend three times a week. A regimen was quickly established. The first month, she did stretching exercises to regain the ligament’s usage. The next five months were spent building the ligament’s strength and getting back the muscle memory. She started to practice with the ball two months ago, and she is hoping to be cleared to return to full practice in time for the preseason. Through the process, her teammates and coaching staff checked up on her often.

“A lot of my teammates came and they bought me stuff and signed a big card,” Trauffler said. “My coach was checking up on me and text me and asked how I was doing all the time.”

Although her family provided her the resources, her brother was the barrier between Jenna and the recovery. Ryan re-injured his ligament minutes after his return. Although Jenna was determined to not let history repeat a sibling later, the bad omen hanged over her head.

“I originally I planted the foot wrong, and that caused me to injure myself,” Trauffler said. “When I ran for the first time, I felt like I could have planted wrong and reinjured myself just by running.”

“I was scared at first because I thought as soon as I started running, my knee was going to fall apart. The first couple of times, it felt really weird. I think two months after I started running, I was fine with it and I wasn’t scared at all.”

Seven months after that day in Denton, Trauffler kicked the ball for the first time. She had juggled with her therapist in rehab sessions, but that was the first time she tried to kick the ball with power. When she planted her injured foot for the first time to perform a volley, Trauffler knew she was ready to be back into action.

 “The first thing I thought was, I’m terrible. My touch is going to be bad,” Trauffler said. “After the first couple of times, it wasn’t that bad."      

Trauffler declared herself ready to be back in action after that session, but her mother and her therapist advised her to take everything slowly. In August, she will be ready to return to full-time practice, just in time for the pre-season period. Trauffler will restart the process as the U-17 DA kicks off the new season in September. As a high school junior, she still has plenty of time to improve her college recruitment. With the injury behind her, Trauffer is focused to return better than ever.

“I’m lucky that with my parents and everyone else supporting me, I was able to go to therapy and have a personal trainer,” Trauffler said. “I am super grateful that my parents paid for that to help me get back. I’m motivated and excited to get back to do what I love.”


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Posted in Development Academy

U15 Dash - Development Academy Finish Strong

Posted on July 06, 2018 BY Nhan Doan - Sports Reporter

Houston Dash’s U15 Development Academy finish the season with a fantastic showing at the Summer Showcase.

After two big victories against United Futbol Academy and Cedar Stars Academy, Houston Dash DA team had LA Galaxy San Diego in their sights for their final game of the season.

With home field advantage, Galaxy started fast with Taylor Rzewuski and Ryann Cull scoring in the 16thand 23rdminute leaving Houston trailing by two goals midway through the first half.

With 7 goals in the previous two games, there was no question if Dash would score, it was just a matter of when.  In the 36thminute, Angie Diep unleashed a powerful shot from outside the 18-yard box to cut the deficit. Galaxy took a 2-1 lead at the interval.

Galaxy restored the two-goal advantage courtesy of Gabrielle Prych’s effort two minutes after the break. Houston pushed forward to try to snatch a draw and in the 70thminute, Sydnie Thibodaux and Diep combined through the midfield. Thibodaux then beat two defenders and firmly buried her shot into the back of the net.  Dash pressed hard for a 3rdgoal in the final 10 minutes creating several great opportunities but it finished LA Galaxy 3, Houston Dash 2.

“LA Galaxy were well organized and very deliberate in how they wanted to attack,” Head Coach Andrew Squire said. “It was a completely different style of play to what we faced the previous day, but the girls worked hard to adapt and implement their own on style on the game.  In the second half, we felt a change of formation to 3-5-2 would give us an advantage.  We dominated the final 15 minutes and despite several efforts, we just could not find a way to get the equalizer which I felt we deserved.  Overall, it was a fantastic week and a great way to end the season.  The feedback from the college coaches about how the team has developed over the course of the season is inspiring and I can’t wait to get back on the training field next month to continue the process.  Below is a list of college coaches who watched the Houston Dash U15's this season.  The future looks very bright for this talented group of young ladies!"

Colleges Present:  

Arkansas, Army, Baylor Brooklyn College, Cal State Fullerton, Cal-Poly, Central Arkansas, Charleston College, Clemson University, Coastal Carolina, Colorado State, Cornell Dartmouth, Delaware, Duke University, East Carolina, Eastern Washington, ECU, Fairfield, Florida, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida State University, George Washington, Georgetown, Georgia, Gonzaga, Grand Canyon High Point University, Holy Cross, Illinois, Illinois State, Indiana, Jacksonville State, James Madison, James Madison University, Kansas State, Lafayette University, Leigh, Liberty University, LMU, Louisville, Loyola Marymount, LSU, Marquette, Marshall, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State Milwaukee, Mississippi State, MIT, Navy, NC Charlotte, NC State, New Jersey Institute of Technology, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Northeastern University, Northern Illinois Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, OSU, Oklahoma, Penn State, Pepperdine, Pittsburg, Portland State, Princeton, Providence College, Rice University, Rutgers, Sam Houston State University, Santa Clara, SMU, South Carolina, Southern California, St. Edwards, St. Francis University (Pennsylvania), St. John's University, St. John’s, TCU, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas AM Corpus Christi, Texas State, Texas Tech, Towson, Maryland, Troy University, Tulsa, TX State, TX Tech, University of Connecticut, University of Denver, University of Houston, University of Massachusetts, University of Pennsylvania, University of Richmond, University of Southern California, University of Iowa, University of Miami, University of Michigan, UAB, UCLA, UNC Asheville, University of California – Berkley, University of Central Arkansas, University of Cincinnati, University of Connecticut, University of Dayton, University of Delaware, University of Evansville, University of Illinois, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Indiana, University of Iowa, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, University of Maryland, University of Miami, University of Richmond, University of San Francisco, University of Tennessee, University of Texas, University of Texas El Paso, University of Utah, University of Virginia, University of Washington, Utah State, UTSA, Vermont, Villanova, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Tech, Washington State, Washington University, Washington University, St. Louis, Wesleyan, West Virginia, William and Mary, Wisconsin

To receive more updates about the Dash and the Dynamo Youth, follow them at @DynamoDashYouth on Twitter and @dynamodashyouth on Instagram.

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Posted in Development Academy

U15 Dash Development Academy

Posted on June 27, 2018 BY Nhan Doan - Sports Reporter


U15 Dash DA gets a big victory in its second match at DA Showcase.....

The Houston Dash U-15 Development Academy team’s good form continued with a convincing 6-1 victory against Cedar Stars Academy.

The Dash got a dream start as they found the net just two minutes into the match. After an excellent build up play, the ball found its way to Haley McWhirter, whose attempt on goal was blocked. Forward Cayden Hulse then tucked in the rebound to give Houston the early lead.

McWhirter doubled Houston’s advantage five minutes later as she burst into the box before finding the far post from a tight advantage. The Dash carried the momentum to the halftime break as they found the net three more times. Midfielder Sydney O’Shea scored the third goal in the 18th minute from a rebound after Cedar Stars goalkeeper Cleo Grignard denied McWhirter and Angie Diep from close range. Diep then scored Houston’s fourth after forcing a turnover from the defender. McWhirter capped off the Dash’s dominance in the first half with the header from a corner kick in the 38th minute.

Cedar Stars got its consolation goal through Olivia Carney’s effort in the 58th minute, before Catherine Coker skipped past the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation to score the final goal of the game.

In the first half, we absolutely dominated every aspect of the game,” Squire said. “We didn’t have to coach the players in the first half, [we] just encourage them to keep playing and making choices based on what they see. It was fantastic to see the players determine how they wanted to attack and play with confidence and speed. They found the right times to possess the ball and drag the opponent around the field [and] opening up pockets of space in the midfield.  They also recognized when to be more direct playing into the oceans of space available behind the opposition back line. Scoring from a set piece made it a very complete performances from an attacking point of view.

Five-nil at half time was fair a reflection of the game up until that point.  We did expect a different opponent in the second half and that’s exactly what we got.  It was much closer game, and Stars put us under some pressure but for the most part we handled it well and countered effectively.”

The U-17 Dash DA also played their second match of the showcase on Monday. After drawing 3-3 against U-17 Lamorinda Soccer Club on Sunday, the Dash got a 2-2 draw against U-17 Pateadores. Isabella Tablante and Alexa Primacio were the scorers.

The U-15 Dash will play their final match at the Showcase at 9 a.m. Tuesday against Los Angeles Galaxy, while the U-17 will play against Shattuck- Saint Mary’s U-17 a day later.

For those who want to follow along the Dash players’ journey at the Showcase while they are taking over Instagram, follow them at @dynamodashyouth.

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Posted in USSDA

U15 Dash DA - Showcase

Posted on June 24, 2018 BY Nhan Doan - Sports Reporter

U15 Dash DA gets the winning start at DA Showcase

The Houston Dash U-15 Development Academy team got off to a good start in its first match of the Development Academy Summer Showcase with a 2-1 victory against United Futbol Academy U-15.

The Dash got on the board early. In the 14th minute, Sydnie Thibodaux made a run from the midfield into the 18-yard box. Thibodaux then squared the ball across to Sara Engels, a positive run from midfield by Engels to finish a great team goal for Dash.  Houston Dash's lead didn’t last long. United Futbol Academy cancelled Engels’ opener before the break as Caroline Coggin tied the match at the 37th minute.

After the restart, The Dash pushed to find the winning goal. Their efforts were rewarded in the 62nd minute. Forward Angie Diep found Haley McWhiter in the tight space on top of the box. McWhiter then shifted the ball to her right, then scored a curler to the near top corner. Houston then hang on to the lead until the final whistle.

Coach Andrew Squire showed his pleasure with the result.

 “I was very pleased with the performance,” Squire said. “With the bad weather back home interfering with our training schedule and a long travel day yesterday, the players showed tremendous grit to overcome a slow start.  Once we found our rhythm, we dominated in the game in key areas of the field.   We deserved three or four goals in the first half and possibly a couple more in the second half.  In the end, we had to defend with courage and great discipline to secure the result.  Goalkeeper Bella Hollenbach claimed two dangerous crosses cleanly which helped elevate the pressure.  Tomorrow, we will analyze the game video with the team back at the hotel and prepare for our next game on Monday.”

The U-15 Dash will play their next game on Monday as they take on U-15 Cedar Stars Academy- Monmouth.

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Posted in USSDA


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