MLS announced Orlando as a future expansion team on Tuesday, but far more exciting news began surfacing around Houston. The Houston Dynamo are currently looking to bring a professional women's soccer team to Houston to compete in the NWSL. In a survey sent out to season ticket holders, recipients were told that the team would be playing 11 home games at BBVA Compass Stadium between April and August. It went on to ask Dynamo season ticket holders if they have a daughter who plays soccer, if they follow the NWSL, and what their interest is in a women's team in Houston.
An expansion team backed by the Dynamo would be the first expansion team for the NWSL, if it were to enter the league today, and only the second to be owned by an MLS team, the other being the Portland Thorns (owned by the Portland Timbers). The National Women's Soccer League, created in 2013, is currently made up of eight teams, four of which were part of Women's Professional Soccer before it tanked in 2012. It has a similar format to MLS, with a regular season shield winner based on points, and then a playoff format which crowns a champion. A number of the players in the league are drawn from the U.S. Women's National team, as well as WNTs from around the world.
During the 2013 playoffs, Sunil Gulati, the head of U.S. Soccer, announced that there would again be eight teams in the NWSL for the 2014 season, which means that 2015 would be the earliest that Houston may be able to hope for a women's team. But who would that team be?
Early speculation is turning to the Houston Aces, founded in 2012. The team currently plays in the Women's Premier Soccer League, the second tier of women's soccer in the U.S. Their first year in the league, they managed to finish only seventh. But they turned it around in 2013, winning the 2013 National Women's Open, and finished first in the Big Sky South division before getting knocked out in the semi-final round of the playoffs. The team has already stated that they want to make the move to the NWSL, so it seems like the perfect fit. But it is still possible for the Dynamo to either start a new team or move one in from another area.
But everything points to the Dynamo being very serious about wanting to bring a team to Houston and share BBVA stadium with them. With that known, the big question is: will fans embrace it? During the 2012 Fan Tribute Tour, the U.S. Women's National Team had over 15,000 attend their match against China at BBVA. That's a solid number for a women's match - and one that gives hope to the chances for Houston to fill the stadium to see it's own local team. This begs the question - do you want Houston to have a NWSL team?