One of the things we Houston sports fans will get to look forward to in 2014 is the April 12 start of the inaugural season of our new team in the National Women's Soccer League, the Houston Dash.
The NWSL has been set up as the top echelon women's pro soccer league in North America and is supported by the national soccer federations of the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
It has the ultimate goal of building a elite level league for the top women's national players of Canada, Mexico and the USA to play in when they are not competing for their national clubs in the Olympics or the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Randy Waldrum, the former coach of Notre Dame's women's team, was subsequently hired to become the first head coach of the Houston Dash on January 3. Waldrum led Notre Dame to two NCAA titles in 2004 and 2010 and was the NCAA runner up in 1999, 2006 and 2008.
Three players were initially assigned to the Dash by national team allocation. Forward Melissa Tancredi from Canada, defender Whitney Engen from the USA and midfielder Teresa Noyola from Mexico. Melissa Tancredi was subsequently traded to the Chicago Red Stars on January 6 for fellow Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod.
The Dash get the opportunity today to select their core roster players for their inaugural season today. The NWSL expansion draft is taking place as I post this in which the Dash will be allowed to select up to ten unprotected players from the existing eight NWSL club.
On January 17 the 2014 NWSL Collegiate Draft will take place in Philadelphia. The Dash will have the second overall election in the first round, and the first picks in the second, third and fourth rounds.
There are rumors that Alex Morgan, who lives here in Houston, is interested in playing for the Dash. However, she is one of the protected players on the NWSL champion Portland Thorns and there is no way they are letting her go to the Dash if that rumor is true without some major compensation.
Knowing the Dynamo temperament, they will probably build the Dash in their image. They will build the club through the draft, make key trades that improve the club like the Erin McLeod for Tancredi swap is evidence of, and when they can afford it, get a free agent that fits with their style of play.
Hope they choose wisely and looking forward to watching the Dash play at BBVA Compass Stadium this spring and summer. Not expecting a miracle since they are an expansion club, but if they make the NWSL playoffs this year, cool.