Born: September 24, 1993 – CISL expansion franchise
Died: February 2001 – The Hotshots cease operations.
Team Colors: Red & Black
The Houston Hotshots were an expansion franchise in the Continental Indoor Soccer League for the league’s sophomore season in the summer of 1994. The CISL was a successor league to the Major Indoor Soccer League (1978-1992), which popularized the sport of indoor soccer, but failed to find a sustainably business model and folded in July 1992. Two MISL clubs – the Dallas Sidekicks and San Diego Sockers – joined the CISL. A key difference from previous indoor leagues was the the CISL played during the summertime. Many of the league’s investors were arena operators and/or NBA owners who were looking to fill empty summer dates in their buildings.
The Hotshots owner was Houston real estate developer Giorgio Borlenghi. He owned the club for all six seasons of its existence.
During the CISL years (1994-1997) the Hotshots played in the old Houston Summit. Announced attendance hovered in the 6,000 – 7,000 per game range during all four seasons. The Hotshots appeared in the CISL Championship Series in back-to-back seasons, losing to Monterrey La Raza in 1996 and to the Seattle Seadogs in 1997.
Shortly after losing the 1997 CISL Championship Series, the Hotshots, the Dallas Sidekicks and the Portland Pride pulled out of the CISL in November 1997. This caused the league to fold on December 23, 1997, although several former CISL members quickly regrouped to form the Premier Soccer Alliance, which played a short, low-profile season in the summer of 1998.
Borlenghi and the Hotshots sat out 1998, but returned in 1999 as members of the World Indoor Soccer League, which was the new name of the Premier Soccer Alliance. As part of the relaunch, the Hotshots moved across town to the smaller Reliant Arena (formerly known as Astroarena). The fans didn’t follow and the Hotshots drew poorly for two seasons of play in the WISL in 1999 and 2000. Houston’s average draw of 2,887 per match in 2000 was the worst figure in the seven-team league.
In February 2001, Borlenghi folded the club, citing lack of fan, sponsor and media interest.
Odds n’ ends… a young midfielder named Diego Maradona played for the Hotshots for a few seasons in the mid-90’s. He was the nephew of the Argentinean legend of the same name….the Hotshots mascot was named Pico de Goalie.
1996 Hotshots highlights video excerpt