Goalkeeper Tyler Deric has signed a new contract with the Houston Dynamo, despite remaining under league suspension for an unresolved domestic violence charge last fall.
Deric, 29, was banned by MLS from team activities, including practices and matches, after being charged with misdemeanor assault during the playoffs. Following the season, Houston declined to exercise a contract option. He was eligible for free agency, but without fanfare this winter, the organization signed him to what people with knowledge of the situation say is a low-level senior contract at less than half of what he earned last year. According to the MLS Players Association, he made $185,000 in 2017.
It’s unclear whether he is being paid while under suspension.
The Dynamo has not made an official announcement about the new contract, but on Thursday released a statement saying: “The Houston Dynamo have re-signed Tyler Deric. Deric remains under league suspension and the league’s investigation is ongoing. We will continue to monitor the situation and will reassess his future with the club pending the completion of the investigation.”
Deric has not participated in training camp, which opened Jan. 22. If he is cleared by the courts and league, it’s not certain the Dynamo would add him to the roster. The club would, however, have his league rights.
An MLS spokesman confirmed that the league’s investigation remains active. He did not have immediate details as to whether the league has a policy about a team signing a player who is under suspension for a non-soccer issue.
Deric, a Houston native, was the second homegrown player in MLS history, signing in February 2009 after playing at the University of North Carolina. He was the Dynamo’s first-choice keeper in 2015 and ’17, and has made 81 career regular season appearances.
Last year, he started 26 regular season games and two playoff matches before the Oct. 31 arrest for allegedly head-butting a woman he was dating. Joe Willis started in the last three postgame games.
The league suspended him pending further investigation. He is scheduled back in Harris County Court next Thursday.
In 2015, the same woman said Deric assaulted her and dragged her out of his apartment. He was arrested 12 days later. The woman dropped the charges and he completed counseling.
Houston already has two experienced goalkeepers on the roster: Free agent Chris Seitz, entering his 12th season, arrived from FC Dallas in December and Willis (eighth) re-signed with the club last week. The Dynamo also used its first-round draft pick on a goalkeeper, Southern Methodist’s Michael Nelson. Patrick McLain, 29, had been in camp, as well.
In Wednesday’s preseason friendly against Portland in Tucson, Nelson played the first half before yielding to Seitz.
Houston will open the season at home March 3 against Atlanta.