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MLS Discusses Adding Houston Team

May 8, 2003

HOUSTON (AP) _ Major League Soccer is having discussions about adding a team in Houston, but there isn’t a timetable for a decision.

``It is a city we hope to expand to,″ MLS commissioner Don Garber said Wednesday, a day before the United States plays Mexico in an exhibition game at Reliant Stadium.

Garber said the 10-team league is in preliminary discussions with Houston Texans owner Bob McNair about putting a team at Reliant Stadium. Garber said other candidates for expansion include Cleveland; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Oklahoma City; Philadelphia; Rochester, N.Y.; Seattle; and Tulsa, Okla.

``We considered this a test, if you will, of what the soccer market was and could potentially be,″ Garber said, warning that having an expansion franchise here ``might be a long journey.″

The league hopes to have an expansion decision made by November, Garber said, and the new teams would start play in 2005.

On Tuesday, Garber was among the U.S. soccer officials who met in Switzerland with FIFA, soccer’s governing body, about moving this year’s Women’s World Cup to the United States. China, the original site, was ruled out by FIFA last Saturday.

Garber said Houston is a longshot to become a site for the 16-nation tournament, scheduled for September and October.

``Stadiums owned and operated by MLS owners are the priority,″ he said. ``There’s a very small pool being considered.″

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