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When joining the first season of MTV's "Are You the One?" Austin residents Amber Lee and Ethan Diamond had no idea what their love story had in store for the world.
The reality matchmaking show premiered in January 2014, following 20 young men and women in hopes of winning a cash prize and a perfect love match. The show predetermines 10 perfect pairs through a matchmaking algorithm, but it is up to the contestants to figure out their secret other half. While isolated together, the contestants have 10 rounds to determine the pairs. If guessed correctly, the entire group shares a $1 million prize.
Amber and Ethan during Season 1 Episode 2 of "Are You the One?" (MTV's "Are You the One?"/Netflix)
Out of eight seasons of "Are You the One?," only nine couples have stayed together and Amber and Ethan remain the only match from Season 1, filmed seven years ago in Hawaii, that have stuck it through.
The MTV stars have since shifted to a simplier way of life in Austin with their two daughters.
Before the transformative experience, Amber and Ethan were just two young college students. Ethan, who is originally from Denver, Colorado, studied natural resource tourism. Amber, who was just another local Austinite, was attending Texas State University in San Marcos, enjoying her weekends on Sixth Street.
As the pilot season, producers reached out to cast members in various ways with the questions: "Are you single? Are you looking for love? Do you want to win some money?"
In an interview with Austonia Amber said, "I never thought I was going to get cast and honestly we didn't know anything about it. I rode it through to see how far I could get and then I met my husband."
Amber secretly visiting Ethan in Colorado before the airing of MTV'S "Are You the One?" (Amber Lee Diamond)
Inside the crowded house in Hawaii, Amber and Ethan's relationship grew throughout the season. When asked if they had any idea that this would be their lives seven years ago, Ethan said, "No way! Watching the show, did you? Did you think we would be together?"
Shortly after the show ended, Amber and Ethan continued their college education while Amber was pregnant with their first child, Scarlett. Per Amber's request, Ethan relocated to Austin where they have lived with Scarlett and their youngest daughter Serena since 2014.
Amber, Serena, Ethan and Scarlett Diamond. (Amber Lee Diamond)
"(Austin) is the best city in the whole freaking world," Amber said. "I love Colorado, but it's too cold and they don't have an H-E-B."
Now a true local, Ethan has spent the last seven years adjusting to the Austin lifestyle. The two say they don't plan on leaving any time soon.
In the past year, their family has spent the past year at home, avoiding large crowds and leaving the house. Ethan, who is a sales director at Oracle, has been working from home and enjoying the time spent with family.
Ethan, Amber and their youngest daughter, Serena during an interview with Austonia. (Isabella Lopes/Austonia)
"The one year you spent in quarantine with your significant other is like four years. I feel like we did that when we met each other; we were quarantined in that house," Ethan said. "And now, quarantine is happening and this feels familiar, for a lack of better term."
Amber and Ethan are often recognized by strangers around town for their brief stardom from cashiers at H-E-B to receiving messages on social media about relationship advice. The couple says they try to be as transparent as possible.
"We don't work because we are the perfect match," Amber said. "We are not a fairy tale couple. We've had a hard time and we worked really hard to make it work. We are a hard-working, loving family and that's why we love Austin, it's perfect here."
The Diamond family enjoying snowy Austin. (Amber Lee Diamond)
MTV's "Are You the One?" season one is available to stream on Netflix where you can watch the beginning of Amber and Ethan's love story.
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Something about Q2 Stadium brings the best out of goalkeepers.
Much like Austin FC's Brad Stuver has done throughout the season, U.S. men's national team keeper Matt Turner kept his team alive in a 1-0 victory over Qatar. The match proved to be a battle of stamina as USMNT's Gyasi Zardes netted a last-minute goal to push Team USA to the CONCACAF Gold Cup final.
Turner, who has conceded just one goal throughout the tournament, continually tipped off shots by an offensively-minded Qatar and put up three saves. Turner now has 18 saves in the Cup.
🧤🧤 Matt Turner was on 🔥 in goal for the #USMNT!
This magnificent save was the Save Of The Game presented by @Allstate #ThisIsOurs #GoldCup21 🏆 pic.twitter.com/MzUScTLNJU
— Gold Cup (@GoldCup) July 30, 2021
The USMNT stumbled through the first half, falling to a 10-shot deficit in the first 45 minutes. Qatar, which gained quick acclaim as the 2019 Asian Cup winners, has not gone scoreless throughout the tournament and has tallied the most goals in the Gold Cup so far.
Qatar saw their biggest shot to topple the U.S. team in the 61st minute after they were awarded a penalty kick. Turner never had to make a save, however, as Hassan Al Haydos missed the crucial shot.
Team USA regrouped and took the reins of the second half, but it was two substitutions by USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter that advanced the team to the continental final.
The two second-half subs, Gyasi Zardes and Nicholas Gioacchini, proved to be the perfect mix for Team USA. As the final whistle loomed, Gioacchini set Zardes up for the first goal of the game in the 86th minute of play.
⚽ The finish ✅
🎥 The camera ✅
🔥 The atmosphere ✅
A perfect goal 🇺🇸🙌#GoldCup21 🏆 #ThisIsOurs pic.twitter.com/KGcpz8aZOR
— Gold Cup (@GoldCup) July 30, 2021
But Zardes wouldn't take credit for the game-changing goal.
"It's not just me, it's a whole team effort," Zardes told FS1. "It was a tight game, they're a great team, but our starters did a phenomenal job at wearing them out... and trying to create opportunities to where when the subs came in, we were able to make a difference."
An outmatched Qatar wasn't able to gain ground as the final tally went 1-0 to the U.S. in Q2 Stadium.
While some were concerned at stadium turnout before the match began, the stadium slowly swelled to near capacity as usual in Austin. Berhalter, whose son Sebastian Berhalter is a midfielder at Austin FC, has previously shown admiration for the MLS' newest stadium.
The USMNT is in Austin for the first time tonight.
After watching his son Sebastian play in the Austin FC home opener, HC Gregg Berhalter is hoping for a similar atmosphere at Q2.
"It's one of the top atmospheres in Major League Soccer." | @KVUE pic.twitter.com/Il4xJ76jvZ
— Jake García (@Jake_M_Garcia) July 29, 2021
This was the second national team match held in Austin in under a month after the women's national team christened the pitch in June.
Next up, Team USA will play the winners of the Mexico vs. Canada semifinal, which takes place at 9 p.m. Thursday, in the Gold Cup final. The final round of the continent's biggest tournament will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in Las Vegas.
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The Biden administration is asking cities and states to use pandemic relief funds to pay residents $100 to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reaffirmed prohibitions on pandemic protocols in a new executive order issued on Thursday.
The order emphasizes that "the path forward relies on personal responsibility rather than government mandates," according to a press release. It outlaws government entities from requiring employees to be vaccinated or individuals to provide proof of vaccination and upholds previous orders restricting government entities' ability to impose pandemic protocols.
Local public health and elected officials have asked all Austinites to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, and unvaccinated individuals to avoid nonessential trips last week given the rising number of local confirmed cases and related hospitalizations in recent weeks. But it is not enforceable under Abbott's order.
The seven-day moving average of new hospital admissions in the five-county Austin metro has more than quintupled since the beginning of July and is now 47.4. The threshold for Stage 5 is 50, according to Austin Public Health's risk-based guidelines.
Despite these trends, Abbott stands firm in his commitment to avoid new statewide mandates and to prohibit local government entities from issuing any of their own.
"Texans have mastered the safe practices that help to prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19," he said in a statement. "They have the individual right and responsibility to decide for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses and engage in leisure activities."
Public health officials have attributed the current spike to the more contagious Delta variant and unmitigated spread among unvaccinated individuals. Abbott encouraged Texans to get vaccinated if they haven't already but affirmed that it would never be required by the state in his statement.
An increasing number of Austin-area employers—including Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White Health, Facebook and the Department of Veterans Affairs—have announced new vaccine requirements in recent days. Austin Mayor Steve Adler asked the city manager to enact a similar requirement on Wednesday, but the city is unable to do so due to an executive order issued by Abbott in April.
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