Dynamo welcome NWSL expansion team: Houston Dash

Houston Dash official logo

By CAITLIN MURRAY

The Houston Dynamo will join the National Women’s Soccer League in 2014 with a new team named the Houston Dash, the club announced Thursday.

“We are thrilled to have our very own NWSL franchise here in Houston,” Houston Dynamo president Chris Canetti said during a formal announcement at BBVA Compass Stadium that was streamed live on Dynamo’s website. “It is an important addition to our sports landscape and will bring added value to our community.”

The Dash become the first expansion team and ninth franchise in the year-old NWSL. They will also be the second Major League Soccer franchise to join the NWSL with the Portland Thorns as sister club to the MLS’ Timbers.

The Dash will play 12 home games during a 24-game season at BBVA Compass Stadium in downtown Houston, which will be scaled back to accommodate seating for about 7,000. Capacity for the venue is just more than 22,000.

The Dynamo front office will run the Dash but a dedicated staff with women’s soccer experience will be brought into to handle technical operations, Canetti said. Uniforms will also be unveiled in coming weeks.

The Dynamo couldn’t give their women’s club the same name due to trademark conflicts with MLS and NWSL having different uniform sponsors.

A head coach should be named by Christmas, with “a couple” people expressing interest in the job who are “credible names” in soccer, Canetti said.

Details of upcoming drafts to fill Dash’s roster have yet to be announced, but sources have exclusively told SBI how the drafts are expected to go, including that Houston will pick fifth in the first round of the 2014 NWSL Draft, but pick first in the second and fourth rounds.

In a conference call Thursday, NWSL Executive Director Cheryl Bailey confirmed SBI’s reports that rosters are frozen, saying they would be locked for the eight founding franchises until national team players are allocated. Bailey said that could happen as late as Jan. 2, but a knowledgeable source told SBI the expected date is Dec. 22.

The Dash are not subject to the freeze and can start signing up to four discovery players immediately, Bailey added.

An expansion draft will happen after allocations are set, with sources telling SBI the rules will depend on how many players are allocated. Bailey said national team coaches from the U.S., Canada and Mexico will submit their list of subsidized allocated players to the league in the next 7-10 days.

The U.S. Soccer Federation, which owns the league, had worked with Dynamo directly for months before finalizing the expansion this week, sources have told SBI.

“We share the vision for this league and look forward to playing our part in making it a great success,” Canetti said. “Part of our responsibility is to grow the game of soccer, and this new team will play a significant role in that effort.”

The NWSL 2014 season will begin in the second week of April.

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What do you think of the name Dash? Do you see this being a success for the Dynamo club? If you’re in Houston, would you attend their games?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in MLS- Houston Dynamo, NWSL, Women's Professional Soccer, Women's Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Dynamo welcome NWSL expansion team: Houston Dash

  1. Michael V says:

    Congrats to Houston. I, one day, in a perfect world, envision most MLS clubs have a youth system, USL Pro “reserve team” and a women’s team. A total football “club” — if you will. It will probably never happen in my lifetime but I can certainly dream. On another note, I’m kinda “meh” on the Dash name. I personally would have gone with something sounding a little more similar to the Dynamo like the Dynamite.

  2. CT says:

    As part of their decision process, Dynamo management asked existing season ticket holders to make a deposit for season tickets for the team now known as the Dash. I put up a deposit for 4 tickets, so yes this particular Houstonian will attend their games.

    Trivia: Alex Morgan just got engaged to Servando Carrasco, a Dynamo MF. Perhaps a player allocation should be made to the Dash.

    • MrMaxican says:

      During the press conference Dynamo president Chris Canetti stated he had many conversations with Morgan about NWSL while watching Dynamo games in the presidents box. Also the NWSL / Dash video was a montage of USWNT players with Morgan being featured every 3rd picture.

    • Ron says:

      I doubt Servando Carrasco would want to play for the Dash. ;-)

  3. Reg Chapman says:

    In most professional sports the expansion team would get the #1 pick in the draft. Just curious if anyone has any info as to why they’re #5?

    • Alex says:

      Believe it’s so the bottom four teams that missed the playoffs don’t lose out on their draft picks. Basically I bet the bottom teams told the league they still wanted their 1st round picks.

  4. nickp91 says:

    Why are people bringing up LA Sol to prove Houston’s case with AEG?

  5. Jersey2Colorado says:

    1998 Called. They want their team names back.

  6. El Paso tx says:

    Maybe the dash can make extra money to finish their roof cover since it’s very odd looking. It’s cookie cutter MLS stadium 2.0 :)
    As for the name, is terrible, why not Houston aeroes or Houston city stars
    For the men, Houston apollos because their name dynamo has no sense

    • Caleb says:

      I didn’t realize there were enough MLS soccer stadiums to consider them cookie cutter.
      Yeah, Dynamo is a terrible name, especially when you know what the word means. Houston has been slacking pretty bad about contributing to the energy production lately…

    • Wilson says:

      Cookie cutter stadium? Really? BBVA Compass stadium is considered one of the best soccer stadiums in the country.

      And not sure if you are joking by here is the definition of Dynamo: “a machine for converting mechanical energy into electrical energy; a generator. informal: an extremely energetic person.”

  7. Kor says:

    As a fan of women’s soccer, I’m happy to see another MLS team support NWSL.It is also nice to have SBI and Caitlin Murray keeping us up to date on NWSL news. Good job.

  8. Mike Dude says:

    This is political correctness gone wild. Just when the MLS is starting to turn the corner financially, they invest in this money sinkhole. I hope they can use it as a tax write-off.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      My concern would be the Dynamo are generally run more like a small market team and just punch above their weight. Every year when it’s why don’t we sign x or why did y sign with some other MLS team, it’s “we don’t have the money,” even though we’re part AEG. So, while in theory I like the idea of supporting women’s soccer, from a cold blooded dollars and cents perspective it makes little sense. Just a few years ago the highly successful WNBA Comets were folded, who played just blocks from BBVA.

      I think women’s soccer is a thoughtful decision for wealthy European teams or MLS blockbusters like Seattle or LA. They can afford an academy ladder, a reserve team, and a women’s franchise. But the Dynamo act like the primary franchise needs to be on a budget, so I don’t get it.

      • NaranjaFanatic says:

        I don’t think its much of an issue. The team salaries are very low. Personally I could care less about women’s soccer – it’s kind of like watching soccer under water. But whatever. I don’t think it is a bad thing and I don’t think it is much of a financial concern. Also, the Comets folded because that ridiculous “That’s A Fact Jack” furniture guy ran them into the ground, moved them to Astro Arena, etc. The Houston “fans” always come out to support a winner regardless of the sport. Ask the Astros how they support a loser though.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          I think it is a financial concern if the men’s team is break even. We have the nice stadium and slightly improved attendance but also a stadium lease and probably our own debt service related to construction.

          I disagree with your version of the Comets history. Alexander decided to spin off the Comets, which might itself suggest something about profitability, Koch kept them alive by buying them, but tried to limit expense by moving them from Alexander’s arena. But The House always wins. The attendance which was already decreasing at Toyota plummeted when they moved. No new purchaser could be found and it was over. The Comets were the third best attended WNBA team in history and could not keep the doors open.

          From my personal experience of attendance at CCL and USOC games (as well as what US-Canada did), I think the 6K pulled by the Comets at the end would be optimistic for games not involving MLS Dynamo, national teams, etc. I think the fairweather arguments are oversold — Texans fans will still show up but Astros fans won’t (which has to do with the appearance of trying at all) — and winning teams will pull exceptional numbers here. The Astros were once a top 5-10 attendance team in the Glory Years. I think we’re a decent sports city — if grumbly — but I just don’t see the interest in women’s sports here, nor am I eager to see the Dynamo’s bottom line impacted by expenses outside the team. I don’t want our ability to sign stars impacted by needing to pay Dash payroll too.

      • Mitchell says:

        seems Dynamo thought they were in the position to do it if they believe in it link to forbes.com

    • MNNiceFC says:

      I know, bro dude! It’s like, why would I ever want to see lady girls plays sports! ugh! That’s for Politically Correct weirdo liberals. UGH. DUDEBROLYFE4EVA!

    • Mitchell says:

      U mean using existing staff and an existing stadium to develop additional revenue stream for low investment? Just admit ur jealous that Alex Morgan is a better soccer player than u dude

  9. Kor says:

    Political correctness for MLS to support NWSL? My American Outlaw chapter members turn out at our local sports bar to cheer on the USNWT during meaningful matches, just like we do for the USMNT. They are representing our country with pride, technical skill and aplomb. They’ve earned our respect. However, to maintain their position at the top of the rankings, the women need to improve their skill levels by playing competitive games between World Cup and Olympic Games cycles.

    MLS teams already have the infrastructure in place to support NWSL teams. It does not cost nearly as much as for a team that has to negotiate a separate stadium and training facilities lease. If what I read on an obscure blog post is true, Portland basically traded dollars on the Thorns this year. Without the unique startup costs, next year should show a profit. As the concept of an MLS team supporting a NWSL team gains traction, it can only raise the profile of soccer overall. That is NOT political correctness. That is investing in the future of soccer in the USA. Pushing soccer into a gender entitlement spat is unproductive.and silly.

    • Mike Smith says:

      To Kor: Look, women’s soccer is either a business or a charity. It can’t be both. If you look at from a business perspective, it is a terrible investment. Both previous leagues were huge financial disasters. If it is a charity, then there are so many more worthy charities out there. Even if you have existing stadium and staff, the major costs of running a team are the salaries of the players, medical insurance, and travel expenses. If the Portland Thorns are profitable, which I doubt, the only reason is because most of the salaries are paid for by the USSF. I believe the Canadian Federation pays the salaries of Canadian players. The point is that MLS teams should invest their money in their youth player development. A woman’s league is a financial sinkhole. If they are giving money to charity, then help the homeless.

      • Richie says:

        Mike Smith = Another uninformed person spouting off. If I recall Merritt Paulson said even before the season started that Thorns would be profitable in year one based on their season tix sales. Portland has existing staff and an existing venue and they use all their MLS resources for NWSL. How is that not cost effective? The salary cap for NWSL is some insanely low number, I think I read it’s less than one MLS player salary. If you want to be a misogynist or hate womens soccer, disguise it better because I’m willing to bet you’ve never done anything for the homeless either…..

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