Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tampa gets pro team; Houston Dynamo expand into Texas Rio Grande Valley

Seven years after MLS folded the Tampa Bay Mutiny, a move that caused many to predict the sudden demise of the league, professional soccer is returning thanks to a new USL First Division squad. The new team will begin play next season.

This announcement comes one day after 'Hillsborough County commissioners gave limited approval to building a $15 million soccer complex and stadium at a site to be determined' but a spokesperson for the team says the two are unrelated as the owners want to build their own stadium in northwest Tampa. The proposed new stadium would seat between 6-7,000 and be expandable.

By joining the league now, the new owners were able to pay the current expansion fee of $350,000. After 15 August, the fee will increase to $750,000.

The new Tampa club will join the Austin Aztexs as an expansion USL-1 team next season.

This all sounds like a great move for the league and soccer in southern Florida, especially since the stadium project is not looking for public money. With a good place to call home and a stable financial situation, this new Tampa Bay club will have a much easier time then the Mutiny.

In other expansion news, it looks like the Houston Dynamo will expand into the Texas Rio Grande Valley. According to this report, after seeing the talent in the area through team sponsored youth academies, they feel a professional team could do well here and hope to bring a USL-PDL team in the area in the next 18-months.

It comes as no surprise that there are quality soccer players along the Texas-Mexico border. What is a surprise is that the no one else has stepped up to make this happen earlier.

If this does happen, there could be an interesting twist as the Houston area has a team in the PDL, the Houston Leons, however they are not affiliated with the Dynamo.

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Blogger People ask... said...

I recall watching former England captain Bobby Moore play for Tampa in the former USISL league on a travelling team against the Oklahoma City Slickers. Those were the days!

11:16 PM  

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