The Houston Dynamo announced Thursday the launch of the Houston Dash, a women’s professional soccer team that will enter the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) as an expansion team for the 2014 season. The Dash will be owned by the Dynamo ownership group and operated by the Houston Dynamo.
The Dash will begin play in April 2014 with the start of the second NWSL season, a 24-game schedule that includes 12 home games at BBVA Compass Stadium, which they will share with the Dynamo.
The NWSL is supported by the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA), Federation of Mexican Football (FMF) and the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and is the top-flight women’s professional soccer league in North America, featuring many of the top players from the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as talent from around the world.
“We are thrilled to have our very own NWSL franchise here in Houston,” said Houston Dynamo president Chris Canetti in a statement. “It is an important addition to our sports landscape and will bring added value to our community.”
The Dash join the league as its ninth club and first expansion team. They are also the second team to be affiliated with an MLS side, the other being Portland Thorns FC--partner club to the Portland Timbers. The seven other clubs in the NWSL are the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, Washington Spirit and the Western New York Flash.
Canetti added: “We share the vision for this league and look forward to playing our part in making it a great success. Part of our responsibility is to grow the game of soccer, and this new team will play a significant role in that effort.”
The club has begun its search for its first head coach. In addition, its roster will be constructed over the coming months through the following methods: allocation of players from the US, Canada and Mexico national teams; an expansion draft; the NWSL College Draft, set for Jan. 17; and Discovery signings (domestic and international).
“We’re proud and excited to welcome the Houston Dash to the NWSL as the first expansion team in league history,” NWSL executive director Cheryl Bailey said in a statement. “The creation of the Dash will mean enhanced opportunities for female soccer players at the professional level as well as the chance for fans from another part of the country to watch and interact with some of the world’s most talented players. We are thrilled at being able to add an organization as strong as the Houston Dynamo as we work toward continuing to build a sustainable league.”
The Dash roster will include 18-20 players, per NWSL rules. The club will train at Houston Sports Park (HSP), the official training home of the Houston Dynamo and the Dynamo Academy. Team uniforms will be unveiled at a later date.