U.S. women's national soccer team and Portland Thorns star forward Alex Morgan broke hearts around the world by announcing her engagement to longtime boyfriend Servando Carrasco of the MLS's Houston Dynamo.
And now, an interesting scenario is developing in the wake of the news that the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced the founding of its ninth club and first expansion team, the Houston Dash. The other clubs are the Boston Breakers, the ChicagoRedStars, FC Kansas City, Houston Dash, Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, the Washington Spirit and the Western New York Flash.
"I think that in the Greater Houston area and even beyond, there's a very strong participation level for girls soccer," Dynamo president Chris Canetti told the Houston Chronicle. "It's a completely different relationship when young girls watch women.
The Dash is owned and operated by the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer (MLS) and will begin play with the start of the 2014 NWSL season in April. The Dash will have plenty of competition locally in a Chicago Red Stars lineup includes forward Ella Masar, midfielders Lori Chalupny and Alyssa Mautz, and defenders Lauren Fowlkes, Michelle Wenino and Jackie Santacaterina. Notable additions to the team in 2014 will include USWNT stalwart Shannon Boxx and the number one college draft pick, Zakiya Bywaters.
The NWSL schedule will be announced in January.
Morgan's Portland Thorns, who are the only NWSL team owned by an MLS franchise, won the inaugural NWSL title earlier this year. The Thorns also led the league in attendance, attracting 63,000+ fans over the season.
But with her engagement to Carrasco, Morgan just might be persuaded that home is where the heart is. The Dash will play its home games at BBVA Compass Stadium, the downtown home of the Houston Dynamo, and will train at Houston Sports Park (HSP), the official training home of the Houston Dynamo and the Dynamo Academy.
Can you imagine Morgan and Carrasco driving to the Compass Stadium together, training together at HSP, attending each other's games, and boosting interest in the new team?
A Dynamo-c Duo?
But all of this is speculation. The Thorns still hold the rights to Morgan, and she tweeted on December 7th that her immediate plans are to hold her Alex Morgan Soccer Camp in Pomona, California on January 4th and 5th.
That's before wedding planning and training camp begins for the second season of the NWSL The teams will play a 24-game schedule (three games against each opponent), and the four teams with the most points at the conclusion of the 2014 regular season will earn a berth in the NWSL Playoffs.
Cheryl Bailey, Executive Director of the NWSL, remarked on the significance of adding the Dash to the roster:
“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.”
NWSL executive director Cheryl Bailey
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