Houston Dash: Why You Should Care


Last weekend was exciting for Houston Dash fans. Friday morning began with an early leak of the new Houston Dash uniforms and the announcement of the NWSL schedule for the upcoming season, featuring a choice home opener on April 12th against Alex Morgan’s Portland Thorns. The festivities continued Friday evening with the official unveiling of the uniforms, modeled by eight of the Dash players.

Saturday saw Dash fans have their first opportunity to interact with members of the team in Q&A, autograph sessions and photo opportunities at BBVA Compass Stadium. Saturday was also the first time fans could purchase Dash gear at the BBVA Compass Stadium store.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the excitement, Dash fans remain a relatively small group. Where the Houston Dynamo have a season ticket holder base of approximately 14,000, the Dash base is currently around 2,000. The Dynamo frequently sell out the 22,000+ seats at BBVA Compass; the upper bowl will be closed for Dash games putting capacity somewhere between 7,000-8,000.

The Dash expect to be able to sell out available seats which would be a positive result as the league average attendance is closer to 4,000. Still, the Houston soccer community can do better. I’d like to think that demand could force the opening up of seating in the upper bowl. The issue right now is that many soccer fans in the community, primarily male, simply don’t care because it is women’s soccer.

I believe fans should care very much so I’ll attempt to explain why I care. As background, I have not followed the NWSL prior to this year. I have followed the women’s national team for as long as I can remember and will happily go to U.S. women’s national team games when they play in Houston. When the Dash were first announced, my initial reaction was one of support but I did not plan to purchase season tickets, however I did plan to attend a few matches in this inaugural season.

My reason for not buying season tickets was “game fatigue”.  It is difficult enough to make time to see every Dynamo match each season.  Adding the Dash would make it even more difficult. I figured I’d wait and get season tickets when my daughter was old enough to attend matches.

I came around as local enthusiasm grew and the pieces fell in place and went ahead and bought two season tickets. I had two real reasons for doing this, but there is a third that is important as well for those with less interest than I had.

My first reason was simply that supporting the success of the Dash helps further build the soccer community in Houston; a rising tide lifts all ships. With successful MLS and NWSL teams, I hope we see even more international soccer here in Houston, including World Cup Qualifiers which we did not get during the most recent go around.

The second reason is far more personal. As alluded to above, I am a father. I have two boys (7 and 9) and an 18-month old daughter.  I want positive role models for my daughter. With all due respect to cheerleader squads who are athletic and highly skilled, I don’t want my daughter growing up thinking that women stand on the sidelines and cheer on the men. I want her growing up knowing that women can play kick ass soccer (or any other sport).

As I thought about it more, I realized this doesn’t apply only to my daughter. It applies even more so to my sons. We live in a world where we are constantly assaulted by negative images of women. Scantily clothed women in beer commercials, lingerie football leagues, pop stars who essentially sell sex. This influences how men see women and how much respect they have for them. Naturally, I teach respect to my boys but I need help from the surrounding world. The Dash are not the end all be all cure for this, but they help as positive role models for both young girls and boys.

There are a lot of you out there who are not parents and for whom this may mean nothing right now. However, we all have mothers, sisters, female cousins, and one day you may have a daughter. I guarantee you that when you have a daughter you will be very thankful you have role models like the Dash. You may find yourself similarly thankful that the Dash are here to provide a positive role model to the boys who will grow up to date your daughters.

Long story short, strong support for the Dash means they (and the NWSL) continue to operate successively in the long-term such that the role models are always here. Of course none of this really matters if the product on the field is poor. I don’t expect anybody to treat the Dash like a charity. This is where many male soccer fans miss the boat and is my reason number three for following the Dash.

The peak of the American public’s excitement for women’s soccer is probably the 1999 World Cup. As exciting as that U.S. team was, the quality of women’s soccer has only gotten better. Yes, the pace is slower than the men’s game, but in many ways this makes for a more technically and tactically attractive game. Simply put, the women’s game is fun to watch. In addition, the Dash organization is class: Chris Canetti, Brian Ching and Head Coach Randy Waldrum are building a strong team and Coach Waldrum promises an attractive style of play.

So, don’t miss out on this opportunity to support the growth of local soccer whether as a single-game ticket holder or a season ticket holder. You will not be sorry and it will not hit you in the pocket book; the Dash have now replaced the Dynamo as the least expensive pro sporting option in Houston.

See you at BBVA Compass Stadium.