Houston Dash / National Women's Soccer League

Houston is a Go: NWSL Welcomes Houston Dash as First Expansion Franchise

The Houston Dash are the newest NWSL franchise and the second to be affiliated with an MLS ownership group.

dashlogoHouston Dynamo President Chris Canetti said during Thursday’s press conference that the vision took much “planning and research” for the ownership group to buy into his vision of a women’s team in Houston.

U.S. President Sunil Gulati was a big supporter of the club coming into the league and pushed the club to get in, Canetti said.

Confirmation that the eight owners had voted for Houston to come into the league for 2014 came on Wednesday afternoon.  The news, which was first reported by Soccer Insider’s Stephen Goff, came after three weeks of talks of “progressing” and “moving forward.”

The Dynamo will own and operate the club and the Dynamo front office staff will run the business side of the Dash on a daily basis.  Canetti said that there will “be no crossover” between the Dynamo and Dash on the technical/soccer side.

The Dash are aiming to announce a head coach by Christmas.  Canetti said that there are several “credible names in U.S. Soccer” that have put their names into the hat but would not give any specifics.

An Expansion draft is slated for after the allocation process takes place with the College Draft on January 17 in Philadelphia.  There will be more details in terms of roster building in the upcoming week.  The club is able to sign up to four Discovery players as well as internationals at the moment.

The Dash will play at BBVA Compass Stadium, but the club will reduce seating capacity to the lower bowl of the stadium, with the capacity at approximately 7,000.  Canetti says that the goal is to sell out the stadium on average.

The franchise will not partner with the WPSL’s Houston Aces.  Aces owner William Brumbaugh told The Equalizer in October of the club’s plan to pursue an NWSL bid in 2015. With the Dash coming into the league for the upcoming season, it is doubtful that that would be the case.

Also interesting to note that two prominent names within women’s soccer in the United States were mentioned as being influential throughout the process – Mia Hamm and yes, you guessed it:  Alex Morgan.

You can follow the Dash on Twitter @HoustonDash

To see how the Dash came into the league, check out our timeline.

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