Houston Dynamo plays its MLS home matches at Robertson Stadium, located on the campus of the University of Houston.
Houston Outdoor Soccer
Following the 1966 FIFA World Cup held England and broadcast in the United States, promoters came together to start up two professional soccer leagues in U.S - the United Soccer Association (sanctioned by FIFA and the United States Soccer Federation) and the National Professional Soccer League (not sanctioned).
The U.S. leagues virtually imported full teams from foreign countries, placing them in U.S. cities, thus forming American teams for a summer league (summer season represented the offseason for European and South American leagues around the world). Brazil's Bangu Atlético Clube became the Houston Stars and joined 12 original teams in the United Soccer Association. The other international teams were: Scottish clubs Dundee United (Dallas Tornado), Hibernian (Toronto City), Aberdeen (Washington Whips), English clubs Sunderland (Vancouver Royal Canadians) and Stoke City (Cleveland Stokers), Uruguay's Cerro Porteno (New York Skyliners), Holland's ADO Den Haag (San Francisco Golden Gate Gales), Northern Ireland's Glentoran of Belfast (Detroit Cougars), Italy's Cagliari (Chicago Mustangs), Ireland's Shamrock Rovers (Boston Rovers).
The 12-game season began in late May of 1967 and ran through July, with Los Angeles defeating the Washington Whips 6-5 in overtime in the first Championship game. The Houston Stars, playing their games at the Houston Astrodome, finished in fourth place in the Western Division and placed four players on the League Best XI team: defenders Mario Tito and Jose Fidelis, midfielder Ary Clemente and forward Paulo Borges.
In April, 1967, the 10-team National Professional Soccer League also kicked off with a 32-game schedule. The Oakland Clippers defeated the Baltimore Rays in a two-game championship series.
In December of 1967, the two leagues (United Soccer Association and National Professional Soccer League) merged and 17 of the 22 teams remained to form the North American Soccer League (NASL) - which remained the top U.S. soccer league until 1984. The league had its ups and down however. Following the first full season, 12 of the teams folded. While keeping the NASL running with five teams in 1969, the league grew and 18 teams finished the 1977 season.
The Houston Hurricane became one of six expansion teams to enter the NASL in 1978, which was then at its all-time high of 24 teams. Houston was the last city awarded a franchise and finished with a 10-20 record in the American Conference's Central Division - eliminated from playoff contention.
In 1979, the Hurricane were the surprise team of the NASL, posting a 22-8 record but falling to Philadelphia in the Conference Quarterfinals. The Hurricane's head coach Timo Liekoski was recognized as the NASL Coach of the Year while goalkeeper Paul Hammond was named to the NASL All-Second Team.
Houston's last season in the NASL was in 1980, when they posted a 14-18 record and lost to Edmonton in the first round of the playoffs. The team folded following the season along with two other teams. The NASL would continue for four more seasons as an outdoor league and folded as a league following the 1984 season.
In February 1984, the United Soccer League was born and competed against the NASL for one season - hoping to correct the reasons of the declining interest in the NASL. The USL sought to focus on controlling finances, becoming more regional in nature, and featuring more American players.
The Houston Dynamos joined the USL in 1984 and were led by Jose Neto - the "Babe Ruth" of a previous league called the American Soccer League. The Dynamos lost in the Championship finals to Fort Lauderdale and folded after just one season. Neto was League MVP and Gary Hindley was selected Coach of the Year. The League played only half of the following 1985 season before also folding.
Shortly after the demise of the United Soccer League of 1984 , the Lone Star Soccer Alliance was founded in 1987 as a regional soccer league in the Texas area. The Houston Dynamos returned and joined the Dallas Express, Austin Thunder, and San Antonio International. The Houston Alliance joined the regional league in 1998. In 1991, with the league now also including teams in Oklahoma, the Dynamos changed their name to the Houston Internationals. However, both Houston teams folded following the 1991 season.
The current-day United Soccer Leagues (USL) began in 1986 - as an indoor league that was called the Southwest Independent Soccer League and has grown into the largest professional league ever in the United States, comprising over 140 teams in both indoor, outdoor, amateur and women's leagues. Houston's first entry in this league was the Houston Express, which joined the 12-team regional indoor league (SISL) for the 1988-89-season but folded after two seasons.
The Southwest Independent Soccer League (SISL) was able to sustain and grow to also include outdoor regional leagues and in 1991 became the United States Interregional Soccer League (USISL). The USISL was in essence a collection of other regional leagues, comprising both pro and amateur levels. The Puerto Rico Islanders of the Pro league moved to Houston and became the Houston Force before the 1995 season but the team folded midway through the season.
Before the 1996 season, when the USISL made additional changes and added a new "Pro Select League", the Houston area saw the return of the old NASL team name - the Houston Hurricane joining the USISL Pro Select League. The team played for four seasons and folded following the 2000 campaign.
The most recent organized team competing in the USL was the amatuer Houston Toros which played in the Premier Development League (also a part of the USL) in 2002 and 2003. The PDL highlights Under-23 players from Florida to Canada. The PDL provides top college and youth players with the opportunity to perform in a professional setting during the summer while maintaining their college eligibility. The Toros played their games at the Freedom World Ranch.
Houston has also had two women's teams play in the United Soccer Leagues (USL). From 1999-2001 the Houston Tornados played in the W-League. Since 2003, the Houston Stars have been part of the Women's Premier Soccer League of the USL.
Houston Indoor Soccer
The Houston Summit, joined the new 6-team Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) in 1978 and finished atop the standings with an 18-6 record. The team, made up mainly of players that also played for the NASL's Houston Hurricance, also finished first in 1979, when the league had grown to 12 teams. However, the Summit lost in the Championship Game 7-4 to the New York Arrows. Following the season, the team moved to Baltimore.
When the MISL folded following the 1992 season, the owners started up the league in the summer and called it the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL). The Houston Hotshots, owned by Giorgio Borlenghi, entered the CISL in the 1994 season when the league was at 14 teams. The team lost in the championship finals in 1996 and 1997, however folded with the league following the 1997 season.
In 1999, the World Indoor Soccer League debuted after the collapse of the CISL. The original idea of the name World Indoor Soccer League originated from the idea that there would be teams participating from Europe. The Houston Hotshots came back into this league (WISL) for the 1999 and 2000 seasons. The team went on hiatus for the 2001 season and the WISL then merged with teams from the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) to form a new league which took the name "Major Indoor Soccer League".
International and other Soccer
Throughout the years, Houston has played host to many high profile international soccer games. The United States played regional rivals Mexico to a 0-0 tie in front of more than 70,000 fans at Reliant Stadium in May of 2003. Since then, the Houston area has hosted InterLiga games in 2004 and 2005 (also a host for the 2006 tournament), the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Mexican National Team games and other top clubs from England, Mexico and the United States.