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Austin FC's Cecilio Dominguez prepares for his return despite fan backlash over domestic abuse dispute

(Laura Figi/Austonia)

Austin FC forward Cecilio Dominguez was reinstated to the Verde roster after a monthlong suspension Wednesday, but the star player was far from the pitch as the club's two fan clubs fell into an uncharacteristic moment of silence at the Sunday match.

The team's two fan clubs halted their signature chants in response to Dominguez's return to the club after the league investigated an Austin police call alleging Dominguez's "verbal and emotional abuse" toward his ex-partner in early April. APD did not continue the investigation, and Dominguez's ex-partner did not pursue any charges.

But both fan clubs Austin Anthem and Los Verdes, as well as supporters' band La Murga de Austin, have made it clear that many do not want to see Dominguez back on the pitch

Each group issued statements condemning further involvement with Dominguez, especially after news broke of since-dropped domestic violence charges in 2016 while the player was in Paraguay.

According to a founding member of the new Verdes Against Domestic Violence Committee, who did not want to be named due to the sensitive subject, Los Verdes members voted on each decision that the group has made so far.

"You're never going to get unanimous agreement, (but)... the majority of members that voted chose to do the 10 minutes of silence," the source told Austonia.

The decision has seen plenty of backlash, even within the supporters' group ranks. Some have pointed to the absence of physical abuse in the APD call and Dominguez's ex-partner, who has stated she does not want the player to lose his position.

Others have said the group's public statements represent performative activism.

But the founding member said that many fan club members are victims of abuse themselves and say verbal and emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical.

And the group has turned the situation into a way to protect domestic violence victims in the community. During the 10-minute silence (representing Dominguez's jersey number), fans held up banners for SAFE Alliance Austin's domestic violence hotline and a Verde and Black banner demanding "No more silence."

The clubs have also partnered with SAFE and five local breweries to create a GoFundMe and supply drive for abuse survivors and their families.

"Hopefully (head coach Josh Wolff) will see coverage about our moment of silence in the game," the source said. "That's all we can do is use our voices, or the absence of our voices, to create an impact and that's what we're doing."

Meanwhile, Wolff said Dominguez has been reinstated by the league and that he did not notice the silence during the LA Galaxy game. Wolff said he'll put his focus on Dominguez's onfield performance as he gets back into game day shape.

"We've talked about it, and I appreciate all of our fans' support and their interest in our team," Wolff said. "I try to do everything I can to focus on the game and focus on preparing this team, and that's kind of where I'll go in this direction.... what happens in our stands and at our stadium is obviously important to all of us as a staff and organization."


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