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Signing season: Austin FC acquires Colombian midfielder Jhojan Valencia

Austin FC has signed midfielder Jhojan Valencia (left) as its newest recruit. (Deportivo Cali/Twitter)

Austin FC announced the signing of 25-year-old Colombian central midfielder Jhojan Valencia on Thursday as the club continues to fill more holes in the roster heading into the 2022 season.

Austin FC signed Valencia to a three-year contract with an option to keep him through the 2025 season in one of the team's international slots. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Valencia's profile may ring a bell for some Austin FC fans—the news comes just over a week after the club announced that 25-year-old central midfielder Tomas Pochettino would return to his home country to play on loan with Argentinian side River Plate. Austin could see Valencia as a potential Poche replacement.

Valencia comes to Austin hot off of a 2021 league championship title after leading his team Deportivo Cali to Colombia's Category Primera A championships. A native of Cali, Valencia made 73 appearances for his home team from 2015 to 2021, registering two goals and taking home two league championships. From 2017-2019, Valencia went on loan for Colombian clubs Cucuta Deportivo and Union Magdalena, helping promote Union Magdalena to the top-flight league in 2019. Valencia has a grand total of 163 appearances with the three clubs.

After three years playing for his hometown, Valencia said in a press release that he's hungry for more trophies in a new city.

“I’m very excited to come to Austin,” Valencia said. “It’s such an amazing city, with great support for the Club and everything needed to compete for trophies. I want to thank Claudio and Josh for their support, and I look forward to all of the great moments ahead.”

The signing comes two days after Austin FC made three key signings in the MLS SuperDraft, including No. 5 overall pick Kipp Keller, the draft's best center back; left back Charlie Asensio and midfielder Michael Knapp.

At the onset of the offseason, Austin FC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna said the team was looking for three to five more recruits to push them into playoff contention in 2022—and with the signings of Valencia, midfielder Ethan Finlay and striker Maxi Urruti, it seems like the Verde and Black are close to rounding out their roster.

Reyna said Valencia could help bring new energy to the pitch and help give Austin's strikers the chance to score goals.

“Jhojan is a young, talented midfielder with great defensive instincts and an eye for the ball,” Reyna said. “His presence will add a new dimension to our midfield and free up some of our more attack-minded players to get forward and create chances. We look forward to welcoming him to Austin."

The club will put their new and old players to the test for the first time in the home opener against FC Cincinnati on Saturday, Feb. 26.


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway