On Thursday, the Houston Dynamo formalized a series of prolonged rumors, unveiling a 2014 NWSL Expansion team ahead of the league's second season. The Houston-based "Dash" will serve as the league's ninth club and first expansion team, showcasing the growth of women's soccer in America.
According to Dynamo president Chris Canetti, the addition of the Dash will create "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." Canetti sells NWSL-based growth well, though the impact on the remaining eight teams - in the heart of the league's off-season - has yet to be determined.
So, how will the Dash affect the NWSL in year two?
For starters, Houston will jump into the fifth spot in the first round of upcoming NWSL College Draft (Jan. 17), while earning the first overall pick in the second and fourth rounds, respectively. Canetti's side will also participate in a league-wide expansion draft, which, according to Soccer By Ives writer Caitlin Murray, will function with rules "dependent on whether the U.S. Women's National Team can secure 27 players for allocation, three per team." Further details about the expansion draft have not yet been determined.
On the scheduling front, the league will transition to an even, 24-game schedule, with all clubs meeting for three matches. This schedule will require the Breakers to visit BBVA Compass Stadium at least once in 2014, a rivalry-invested ground for New England Revolution supporters.
As experts continue to forecast Houston's first significant roster move, fans have started to weigh in, offering curiosity over Alex Morgan, who recently announced her engagement to Dynamo midfielder Servando Carrasco. Though no roster moves will likely occur before Dec. 22, when a proposed "unfreezing" of NWSL rosters will occur, speculation will abound until the 2014 season begins.
Have your own thoughts about the Dash, Alex Morgan, or the state of the 2014 season? Continue the conversation below.