Sometime this week, ownership will be deciding the fate of Houston's NWSL hopes for 2014. After a short fact-gathering campaign followed by a pre-sale of season tickets, team president Chris Canetti presented the ownership group with a business plan for an NWSL team. Owners will decide this week whether or not to proceed with getting a team.
The Dynamo started out by sending out a survey to season ticket holders to gauge peoples' feelings about a team coming to Houston. After a positive response in that regard, the front office took an unconventional approach by pre-selling season tickets, looking to account for at least 4,500 tickets. They fell short of that number, but still sold a enough that the team may come to fruition.
A lot of speculation has centered around the Houston Aces being the team to make the jump to the NWSL. The Aces progressed from a semi-professional women's team in 2012 to a professional one in 2013. The team has shown interest in joining the NWSL, but when the league announced they would not be expanding until 2015, the team's timeline was pushed back. However, with the flurry of activity surrounding the Dynamo, fans are now hoping that the team can work with the Dynamo to put them in the NWSL. They've have been in contact with each other, but both would have to determine if the fit is right.
"The recent announcement from the Dynamo of a possible expansion in 2014 for Houston surprised many with the timing. It is not surprising that Houston is seen to be a high potential candidate for the next expansion." said Catherine Brumbaugh, the Aces General Manager, via email late last week. "The Aces have continued discussions on working with the Dynamo starting back in 2012; however, Canetti has been clear, 'any expansion or partnership would have to prove to be beneficial for the Dynamo in order to be considered.' Without being able to predict the outcome of the Dynamo decision, the Aces stand undeterred in making Houston proud and continue to stay the course of our long term plan - bring a NWSL team to Houston, seek opportunities to work with the Dynamo, establish a loyal community relationship, and build a sustainable program for women's soccer development."
There's been speculation and interest, but has there been enough? It looks as if most of the pieces are there, but we'll learn later this week whether or not the ownership is willing to help put them together.