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12 Austin FC fans get inked up just before home opener in tattoo marathon

Austin FC fan Jay Torres was one of 12 supporters tattooed by Joey Ortega ahead of Austin FC's home opener. (Claire Partain/Austonia)

Less than a week before he heads to Austin FC's first home match, club superfan Jay Torres winced slightly as he watched the signature Verde & Black crest get permanently etched on his arm.

Torres, a "capo," or hype man, for Austin FC supporter's band La Murga, was one of 12 lucky fans to get inked up as part of a free Austin FC tattoo marathon on Sunday.

From 11 a.m.-11 p.m., fans sat contentedly on Verde & Black lawn chairs in the midday heat as they awaited their turn to get tattooed. "We've been here since noon," supporter Serafina Lopez told Austonia as the clock neared 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, tucked inside a softly-lit corner decked out with wall-to-wall tattoo art, Torres recounted the legacy of Austin FC as the team crest slowly came to fruition.

Jay Torres has been supporting Austin FC since 2017 and jumped at the opportunity to get a tattoo before the home opener. (Claire Partain/Austonia)

Torres remembers when he dragged his kids to City Council meetings to get the original plans for, what would become, the Q2 Stadium approved in 2017. He was one of the first four to form La Murga, and he's made dozens of new "brothers and sisters" as Austin FC transformed from an abstract plan to a sold-out stadium.

"They were like, 'What are you doing here? This is not fun,'" Torres said. "But that's the kind of stuff you need to do if you want it, and now it all makes sense to them. They're like, 'Okay, now we understand why our dad's crazy.'"

For Torres, the new tattoo is a reminder of the community that's been formed across the city.

"I look at (the crest), and I look at home," Torres said. "Soccer, I mean, it's a bond, and that's something that brings (people) together."

The club partnered with local tattoo artist Joey Ortega of Triple Crown Tattoos to give fans their new ink just before the home opener. Ortega said he's had plenty of experience doing 12-hour shifts at tattoo conventions around the world, and he came equipped with Yerba Mate and plenty of tacos to keep him nourished as he's done many times before.

Fans got their choice of four designs—from the intricate, difficult-to-tattoo crest ("This is a nightmare") or tree design to simpler text-only "Austin FC" or "ATXFC" text tattoos. Most loud-and-proud fans went all in for their club tattoo.

Fans chose between the Austin FC crest or signature tree design as part of the marathon. (Alfredo Naim/Austin FC)

Plans for a mass tattooing event at Q2 Stadium began up to eight months ago when members of Los Verdes reached out to the club. While they haven't been able to obtain a permit necessary to host a tattoo marathon within the stadium, Torres is certain that plenty of people will be lining up for their own Verde & Black ink as soon as the city allows.

In the meantime, Torres and the rest of the inked up crew will join all of Austin to welcome their club at home for the first time on Saturday, June 19.

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