Your daily dose of Austin
Smartphone image
Make your inbox more Austin.
Local news and fun, every day 6am.
Austin FC upgrades 'ringleader' Alex Ring, hints at more to come with two-year Designated Player signing

Attacking midfielder and Austin FC Captain Alex Ring has resigned with the club and upgraded his contract. (Austin FC/Twitter)

Austin FC's first "ringleader," Captain Alex Ring, has officially signed once again with the Verde and Black and has upgraded his contract to the coveted Designated Player status, the team announced Monday.

Ring, a 30-year-old midfielder who formerly captained for MLS side New York City FC, signed a multi-year contract with Austin FC that includes two guaranteed seasons in 2022 and 2023 and two undisclosed options for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.

Ring has been a polarizing figure in Austin's bumpy first season, often facing criticism for having his heart—and captain's armband—on his sleeve while also earning multiple MLS Team of the Week honors. The Finn has been dubbed one of the league's top defensive midfielders in his five years in the league and earned the most minutes of all of Austin's outfield players.

Ring racked up four goals and three assists as he took control of Austin's brand-new style of play but drew criticism for his hotheadedness that resulted in two red cards in the team's first season. Still, the MLS vet earned respect as he led Austin FC in tackles (43), duels (301) and interceptions (52), tallying third-most in interceptions among all MLS midfielders.

Before Austin FC, Ring spent four seasons with NYCFC, scoring 10 goals and making 13 assists in 112 appearances. Ring also saw 44 caps with Finland's international team and spent years in Germany's Bundesliga.

While the price of the contract was not disclosed, Ring was promoted to the Designated Player position, one of three available DP positions for Austin FC. The rule, originally dubbed "The Beckham Rule" because of its creation to bring British star David Beckham to MLS side LA Galaxy, allows those three players to sign with combined contracts that exceed each team's salary cap of $4.9 million.

Ring will join Designated Players Cecilio Dominguez, Sebastian Driussi and Tomas Pochettino—meaning one of them's got to go. Rumors have swirled that Pochettino, a 25-year-old Argentinian midfielder who showed promise but failed to translate his skills into goals in 2021, is headed on loan to Argentinian side River Plate.

Austin FC has quietly made arrangements in the offseason following their 2021 debut, a season that saw promise and unrivaled fan support but resulted in just 9 wins. Apparently replacing Pochettino is Colombian midfielder Jhojan Valencia, a 25-year-old midfielder who currently plays for Colombian top-flight league Categoria Primera A. The move has yet to be confirmed by the club but was confirmed by Colombian transfer expert Pipe Sierra on Wednesday.

In official Austin FC news, the club signed free agent striker Maximiliano “Maxi” Urruti, who will become the first athlete to play on all three Texas MLS teams, with a two-year contract Tuesday. The Verde and Black also resigned winger Jared Stroud for another year on Dec. 17 and started their first signing season with veteran attacking midfielder Ethan Finlay on Dec. 20.

But in an effort to clean house, the team was forced to decline contract options for the following players:

  • Kekuta Manneh
  • Aaron Schoenfeld
  • Brady Scott
  • Aedan Stanley
  • Ben Sweat
  • Sebastian Berhalter
  • Emmanuel Perez

The club also lost true Austinite McKinze Gaines to new club Charlotte FC in the MLS Expansion Draft but will have a chance to keep bolstering their roster at the MLS SuperDraft on Monday, Jan. 11.


Bites & Sips: what's new in food and drink
Consumable Content

  • San Marcos favorite Industry Burger opens "mid-October" on E. 5th, featuring "low key healthy" Texas fare.
  • Cinnaholic at The Arboretum opens Friday, October 14, serving "create your own" cinnamon rolls and other sweet treats.
  • San Francisco's Marufuku Ramen opens next Wednesday, October 12, in the Mueller District.
  • Carpenter Hotel announces its popup food truck, Lil Carpenter, open Fri-Sun both ACL weekends, serving what you want, early to late, coffee to donuts, to dogs/burgers/fries/beer.
Airport braces for high traffic this month with ACL and F1 drawing in travelers

(AUS airport/Instagram)

With major entertainment events slated for October, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is gearing up for a busy month.

Keep ReadingShow less