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Houston Dynamo exploring NWSL expansion

Houston is in the news again as a potential NWSL expansion city. Houston Dynamo president Chris Canetti says the MLS club is exploring the opprtunity to add an NWSL side to its ranks.  The team would play at BBVA Compass Stadium, which has housed the Dynamo since 2012.

In October, The Equalizer featured Houston Aces owner William Brumbaugh, who expressed his desire to take the Aces to NWSL.  Reached by The Equalizer on Tuesday, the Aces declined to comment on any details surrounding the Dynamo’s bid to start an NWSL team.

Canetti, whose Dynamo team can advance to a third straight MLS Cup with a win Saturday, was open about the idea on Tuesday.

“I think that in the greater Houston area and even beyond there’s a very strong participation level for girls’ soccer,” Canetti told the Houston Chronicle. “It’s really solid. I know as a father of two girls that I will drive into College Station to see (Texas A&M’s) women’s team play because of the impact it has on young girls looking up to other women as role models.

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said in August there would be no expansion in 2014, but a league source says “no changes at this time, but never say never.” Whether a Houston team would enter NWSL in 2014 or 2015 — and if at all, since this isn’t a done deal — would depend on what’s “in the best interest of the league.” Talks are already underway with the league and have been for some time.

The Dynamo sent out a survey to Dynamo season ticket holders to gauge the interest of an NWSL teams.

Houston would be the second MLS team to get involved in the National Women’s Soccer League if they do become an expansion team. The New York Red Bulls held preliminary discussions with Sky Blue FC, but that front has been quiet of late, with no indication that a deal is in the works.

Portland is currently the only city in which and MLS team and NWSL team fall under the same ownership. MLS’ Portland Timbers FC and the NWSL’s Portland Thorns FC are both owned by Merritt Paulson.

UPDATE (11/20): The Houston Aces have released a statement on their Facebook page and The Equalizer understands that a meeting on Thursday could shed more light on Houston’s possibility at an expansion team.

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