The roar of Austin FC fans will be heard soon, as the newest Major League Soccer member looks to kick off their season in a brand new stadium in 2021.
A 23.5 acre site, located at 10414 McKalla Place, is the future home to the 20,500 seat Austin FC stadium—a $242 million privately-funded, state-of-the-art facility for Austin's newest team.
"I was tracking this for a long time," Chris Welhausen said. A born and raised Austinite, Chris has been watching MLS for a while and the second there were even rumors of a team coming to Austin, Chris was on board.
Rumors first started about a potential MLS expansion team that could be coming to the capital city when Two Oak Ventures, led by investor Anthony Precourt, bought the MLS Columbus Crew in 2013. The intention behind closed doors at the time was to move the franchise to one of the fastest growing areas in the country—Austin.
In 2017 Two Oak Ventures made their intentions known. The ownership group announced plans to move the Crew to Austin and start playing games as soon as 2019.
Before the team could be moved, Cleveland businesses, lead by Jimmy and Dee Haslam, owners of the Cleveland Browns, stepped in and bought the rights to the Crew. Because the Crew would not be moving, MLS granted Two Oak Ventures a franchise, creating the expansion franchise Austin FC.
In 2019, MLS announced Austin FC as the 27th official club, making it the newest official professional sports team in the city. Before the move, Austin was the largest city in the U.S. without a major professional sports league. Austin FC joins the Austin Huns Rugby Club as the only other pro league in the city.
"I think it's the best possible outcome," Jeremiah Bentley said. Bentely moved to Austin after attending the University of Texas in 1992. Bentley said he makes up the core demographic of Austin FC's fans: Austinites who love the city and have been looking for a team that is their own.
In August, Austin FC sold out of season ticket memberships. That is equal to about 15,000 seats or almost 75% of the stadium capacity. The club selling out season tickets still leaves about 5,000 tickets available for individual purchase for select games in the spring.
The addition of all star players like Cecilio Dominguez, the 26-year-old Paraguayan National Team forward, along with 20-year-old Paraguayan left winger Rodney Redes adds excitement. Redes was the first player officially signed to Austin FC after he transferred from Paraguay's Primera Division Club Guarani in July. Fans can expect more players signing down the road.
If they’re as good in Austin as they are in Libertadores, we’re going to have some fun next year. A goal from Cecil… https://t.co/ox5UCWiugw— Austin FC (@Austin FC) 1601604069.0
Even with the COVID-19 pandemic preventing other expansion franchisees like Charlotte and St. Louis from starting on schedule, Austin FC is still set to open their doors and play their first home game in the spring of 2021, according to Austin FC representatives.
The MLS schedule won't be released for a few more months, but fan support for the team is already building.
The official Austin FC Twitter and Instagram accounts combine for more than 80,000 followers. Austin FC already has arguably the most famous fan and now part owner, UT's Minister of Culture and Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey.
"I think (McConaughey) is the guy that most represents Austin and the culture," Bentley said. "It's cool that he's really involved and really into it. He's not just another famous person who is just lending their name to sell some extra tickets. He is all in on the whole experience."
New @MLS owner @MatthewMcConaughey is an actor, producer, and philanthropist. McConaughey, a graduate of @UTAustin… https://t.co/K8sH6YeRp0— Austin FC (@Austin FC) 1566577100.0
The Austin FC front office group hosted McConaughey on a Zoom call for local supporter groups in August. Bentley said McConaughey talked for an hour about chants and the experience he was looking for from the club.
Fan groups sprung up almost as soon as the announcement that a MLS team would be coming to the capital city. The fan groups have shown their support for UT women's soccer games this season, drumming up excitement for the upcoming season.
"The fan movement and supporter culture here is unbelievable," Welhausen said. "We have a really tight knit group that's already been connecting online. It's super organized, growing really fast."
Between the new stadium, the new players and the fan support, Austin FC looks poised to surprise not only the city but the rest of MLS when the season kicks off next year.
- CapMetro targets Austin FC fans about Project Connect stop - austonia ›
- Austin FC's 2021 debut season shines as bright spot for fans ... ›
- Austin FC fans to host Matthew McConaughey in memers-only Q n A ... ›
- Austin FC installs stadium seats, stadium opening in spring - austonia ›
- austin-fc - austonia ›
- New media company to cover soccer all across Texas - austonia ›
- An inside look at Austin FC's new stadium - austonia ›
- Austin FC to add players in expansion draft next week - austonia ›
- Who Austin FC may be eyeing in the Expansion Draft - austonia ›
- Austin FC acquires four new players in MLS Expansion Draft - austonia ›
- MLS reveals start date for Austin FC - austonia ›
- Austin FC signs Designated Player Tomas Pochettino - austonia ›
- Austonia announces Austin FC reporter hire - austonia ›
Despite a 2-0 deficit, there was a pot of gold for Austin FC after all as it celebrated its annual Pride Night with rainbows and a 2-2 comeback draw to FC Dallas Saturday night.
After three FC Dallas losses last season, the Dallas derby draw marks the first time Austin FC has tied against its Copa Texas rival. Austin continues to edge over FC Dallas as it sits at 3rd in the MLS West.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the match:
A somber start
Decked out in colorful hues for LBGTQ+ Pride, Verde fans started the match on a somber note as they held up banners to take a stand against gun violence before the match.
As the national anthem began, fans held up banners with the names of each child that was killed in the Uvalde school shooting and a plea to "end gun violence."
The supporters' section was also dotted with Pride flags and a "Bans off Our Bodies" banner in protest of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
FC Dallas earns a 2-0 lead
That sober tone continued onto the pitch. With midfielder Daniel Pereira's absence due to a red card, the Verde and Black lost two goals to FC Dallas by the 70th minute of play.
FC Dallas played it sneaky for the first half of the match, giving Austin FC plenty of room to hold possession as it waited to strike on a Verde error. That mentality proved dangerous for Austin as Dallas' Paul Arriola took advantage of Brad Stuver's deflection to score the first goal of the night in the 57th minute of play.
Dallas struck once more as Brandon Servant pushed past the Verde line to score the second goal of the match.
Austin FC strikes back
But energy quickly returned to Austin's favor thanks to Designated Player Sebastian Driussi, who scooted past several FC Dallas defenders alongside Moussa Djitte to snag an unlikely first goal for Austin.
A full Verde comeback
Austin's subs proved deadly as momentum returned to the home team toward the end of the match. A well-placed cross from Nick Lima—and a diving header from a fresh-legged Danny Hoesen—helped the team secure the draw with a second Verde goal in the 84th minute of play.
Hoesen, who was Austin's first starting striker last season, has now scored two goals with the team after a yearlong injury stuck him on the bench.
- First-ever match at Q2 Stadium as the USWNT takes on Nigeria ... ›
- Shop queer at these 7 LGBTQ-owned businesses all Pride Month long ›
- Austin FC sees 'Fright Night' in 2-1 FC Dallas loss as 'Best in Texas ... ›
Hours following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion, on Friday, about 1,000 people gathered in Republic Square with signs calling for change.
The rally, organized by the group Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights Texas, started at the federal courthouse on Republic Square on Friday at 5 p.m. before the crowd marched to the Texas Capitol. More protests are expected to ensue over the weekend.
People showed up with all types of signs like Mindy Moffa holding up, "Keep your filthy laws off my silky drawers."
Austin joined cities across the country that saw protests for a women's right to an abortion after the ruling.
According to a recent UT poll, 78% of Texas voters support abortion access in most cases.
Sabrina Talghade and Sofia Pellegrini held up signs directed at Texas laws. A Texas trigger law will ban all abortions from the moment of fertilization, starting 30 days after the ruling. When state legislators passed the trigger law last summer, it also passed laws for more protection of firearms, including the right to open carry without a permit.
Lili Enthal of Austin yells as around 1,000 Texans marched to the Texas Capitol.
From the Texas Capitol, Zoe Webb lets her voice be heard against the Supreme Court ruling.
- Most restrictive abortion law in U.S. affects Texas women - austonia ›
- U.S. Supreme Court rules there's no right to abortion, setting up ... ›
- Vela plans resolution to prevent police from investigating abortion ... ›
- Texas' growth may be slowed by abortion ban, poll reports - austonia ›
- 78% of Texas voters think abortion should be allowed in some form ... ›