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PROFILE: It's prime time for Cecilio Dominguez, Austin FC's first-ever playmaker
(Cecilio Dominguez/Instagram)

Jersey Number: 10

Hometown: Asunción, Paraguay

Position: Forward

Age: 26

Former club: Club Guarani


Background

(Cecilio Dominguez/Twitter)

On Aug. 24, 2020, forward Cecilio Dominguez became Austin FC's first-ever Designated Player.

The Paraguayan footballer came to the club after being loaned to Club Guarani, a team in Paraguay's Primera Division that also held Austin FC players Rodney Redes and Jhohan Romana on their roster, in 2020. With Guarani, Dominguez helped the team to the finals of the Copa Libertadores, South America's highest level of futbol competition, where he scored the deciding goal in the tournament opener.

Before Guarani, Dominguez was teammate Tomas Pochettino's rival at Club Atletico Independiente in Argentina. He was the club's record signing and proved his worth in his two seasons with the club, scoring eight goals in 29 league and 13 cup appearances.

Dominguez now has experience in four professional leagues, including Liga MX. Dominguez transferred to Club America in the league in 2017, where he racked up 21 goals in 74 appearances to be crowned 2018's Liga MX Apertura Champion.

Before Liga MX, Dominguez tallied up more titles in his home country's Primera Division with Cerro Porteño. Just as in 2020, Dominguez brought his team to the finals in the 2014 Copa Libertadores and was the joint-top scorer in both the 2016 Copa Sudamericana and the Torneo Clausura 2016.

Dominguez has also represented Paraguay 17 times internationally and has played for his home country's Under-17 and Under-20 club.

Dominguez has scored 73 goals in his career and has appeared in 288 matches. He's likely to only rack up more minutes as Designated Player for Austin's first professional team.

With Austin FC

Austin FC's second--ever signee was also one of its most distinguished to date. Dominguez joined the team in the summer of 2020 as the club's first Designated Player, and he's set to be the team's playmaker.

A talented attacking midfielder and left winger, Dominguez's decorated career has continued with the club. Dominguez scored twice in the team's La Copita preseason scrimmage against FC Dallas, and he's clearly an important piece to the team's attacking game.

The spotlight's certainly on Dominguez heading into the season, and Dominguez is pretty much locked in as the team's No. 10. Austin FC Head Coach Josh Wolff said that Cecilio is full of surprises and always ready for more.

"We're learning more about Cecilio every day," Wolff said. "What's great about Cecilio is he's taken in our information and tried to apply it in the ways that we've talked about, but he's also given his own interpretation and character."

Designated Players are one of three members of each roster that can be signed above the league's salary cap. While it's a lot of pressure to be one of the highest-paid members of the club, Dominguez said he considers himself just another player on the roster.

While he doesn't regard himself as any different than his teammates, he does recognize the pressure put on him as the team's offensive leader.

"It's a huge responsibility," Dominguez said. "I want to be the best version of myself and hopefully take this club to where it can be above and beyond."

Off the pitch

(Cecilio Dominguez/Twitter)

It's clear in countless photos and clips that Dominguez plays with passion, and his charisma has translated to this new team, Wolff said.

"He brings real character and quality to the group," Wolff said. "He's got a lively personality and he's super charismatic, but when he plays, he competes."

It's also obvious that Dominguez loves his son, Thiago, who can be seen spending time with his father on Dominguez's social media accounts.

Back at Club Guarani, Dominguez played alongside current teammates Jhohan Romana and Rodney Redes. In the journey from Paraguay to Austin, Dominguez told Marca.com he's bonded with his fellow forward.

"We are good friends. We understand each other a lot, we talk a lot," Dominguez said. "I think the whole Austin thing has made us closer, we talk both on and off the field."

For eight months, Dominguez and many others didn't play due to the pandemic. Dominguez said it was hard to be without his "passion" but that he is now even more excited to hit the pitch once again with Austin FC.

"Playing soccer, it's our passion, and to not have played it for a while, it's somewhat complicated," Dominguez said. "It's a privilege to be honest to play for Austin, and it'll be a historic day to finally play."


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

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

🗓 Saturday

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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.

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🧀 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.

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‘Like speed dating of cats’ at Purr-fecto Cat Lounge
Purr-fecto Cat Lounge

Lina Martinez with her newly adopted cat, Emmanuel, who she renamed Sullivan.

Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.

As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.

“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”

Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.

“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”

Actually, a purr-fect idea.

Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.

At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”

Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.

“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”

Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.

“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”

Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.

“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”

Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.

“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”

And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.

“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”

Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.

“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”