HOUSTON – Jeff Van Gundy's specialty is basketball but the former Houston Rockets head coach and current ESPN NBA analyst has found a new passion with soccer. In fact, he and his family now have a direct connection to the Women's World Cup.
One meeting with former Houston Dynamo star and current Houston Dash managing director Brian Ching was all it took to convince Van Gundy and his family to open their home and serve as a host family for Dash players Meghan Klingenberg and Morgan Brian.
"(I had a) casual conversation with Brian, and he mentions 'host family,' and it sounds great to me. I forgot to ask my wife first, but now they are tight -- the girls and her," Van Gundy told KPRC Channel 2 Sports.
The Van Gundys have loved the experience and the relationships they've built. They attend Dash home games, but now they are hooked on the World Cup because their house guests are both wearing the red, white and blue.
"We've gotten out of it tenfold. The example they set about hard work, persistence, no sense of entitlement and all the great things you can learn from sports," he said.
Van Gundy knows pressure from his long run as an NBA coach, but he admitted that it's stressful from the soccer fan's seat that he now enjoys.
"You see how much work has gone into it, the sacrifices and so it is absolutely nerve-wracking to try and watch," Van Gundy said.
Van Gundy and his family regularly attend Dash games. With three of Team USA's 23 players from the Houston Pro Women's League squad, Van Gundy said fans who are hooked on the game should find time to go out and support the Dash.
Team USA plays for the World Cup title Sunday in Vancouver.