Despite the pandemic, 2020 really put Austin on the map, popularizing it as an up-and-coming hub for young professionals, startups and celebrities from big cities across the U.S.
In fact, Austin's A-list is steadily growing. Well-known Austinites like Willie Nelson, Matthew McConaughey and Kendra Scott have been singing the praises of the weirdest city in Texas for years now, but 2020 brought some new arrivals and 2021 is ready for more.
So who moved to Austin in 2020?
In a $100 million deal with Spotify, podcast host, devil's advocate and iconoclast Joe Rogan uprooted his Los Angeles setup and moved it to Austin in July. Since then, Rogan has been making waves around Austin in every which way. From setting up his spaceship-like studio to having drinks with Greg Abbott in the Governor's Mansion, Rogan has made himself at home in the Lone Star State.
James Van Der Beek
After a difficult year in 2019, "Dawson's Creek" actor James Van Der Beek traded in his "concrete jungle" in Beverly Hills for the luscious hill country. Van Der Beek, his wife and all five kids loaded up and moved to a 36-acre compound just outside of Austin in October… after a 10-day road trip to see the sights along the route from California to Texas.
Elon Musk (Probably)
Das baby kann noch keinen löffel benutzen https://t.co/UETqVIA4BP— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk)1595307493.0
Though Musk confirmed he now lives in Texas, the tech mogul still has yet to confirm his move to Austin and is notorious for his need for privacy. With Tesla's Gigafactory and the Elon Musk Foundation putting down roots in Austin, it just makes sense to see him here. Multiple sources confirmed to Austonia earlier this month, Musk was looking at Austin homes to live in.
Even though few celebrities have confirmed a 2021 Austin emigration, there are a few leads. Here's who is or could be coming to the capital city in 2021:
Distressing fans of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" everywhere, reports that Chris Harrison is moving to Austin have surfaced, revealing the "humble servant and host to Bachelor Nation" is building a house in the Barton Creek area. Fear not, Bachelor fans, Harrison has reportedly said he is not leaving the show.
Debby Ryan and Joshua Dun
Newlyweds Debby Ryan, actress and former Disney star, and Joshua Dun, drummer for Twenty-One Pilots have made some important decisions in Austin—like holding their impromptu wedding right here in Travis County. Ryan spent several years living in Texas during her childhood and Dun, an Ohio-native, said Austin was "tight" on Facebook in 2016. Seems like a match made in heaven.
When the "Dazed and Confused" alumna hosted the Texas Film Festival at Austin Studios back in March, the pandemic had scarcely begun. The indie movie actress is well-acquainted with Austin, having shot several movies here, she'd fit right in. She said she loves Austin so much, she would even be happy quarantining here. Plus, she was pictured in front of a longhorn in August. Coincidence?
The Queer Eye Fab 5
In true Austin fashion, the Fab 5 announced via El Arroyo's famous sign that they would be filming season six of "Queer Eye" here in the capital city. In fact, Jonathan Van Ness, the hair expert on the show, has allegedly been living in Austin since the production of the show was put on pause—he even adopted a dog from Austin Pets Alive!. Though the other fab guys are happily living across the U.S., the gang would all be right at home here.
Here's to a famously fabulous 2021 in ATX!
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It's matchday! Austin FC—Austin's first major league sport team—kicks off its debut season in Los Angeles today after years in the making. We know how much this means to our beloved city and are taking you along with us as we journey to LA!
Austin FC writer Claire Partain and I are excited to bring you game-day coverage straight from the City of Angels. Check back here for updates, and visit our socials: @austonianews for the latest.
~1 p.m: Los Verdes in LA
(Rigo Rodriguez/Los Verdes)
Austin FC supporters are making their presence known in LA, including the Los Verdes group.
Los Verdes members started having match-day fun around the area this morning with brunch. We'll be joining them about an hour before the game outside the stadium to share some of their excitement. We'll post immediately to Austonia's Instagram.
11:45 a.m: We landed!
View from hotel room where we're staying; the stadium digital sign can be seen in the right corner. (Sonia Garcia/Austonia)
Switching over to pacific time, we're here and it's almost like no time went by. It's 9:45 a.m. here.
We've been in contact with Los Verdes, an Austin FC supporter group, who is also here in LA counting down to kickoff.
8:20 a.m: LA bound
Like many of you, we've been looking forward to this moment for, let's just say, a very long time. Today, we woke up bright and early, headed to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and hopped on a flight to LA.
A gloomy day in Austin with a very quiet airport, we're headed to sunny skies in California.
As we wait for the game to start at 4:30 p.m., check out Claire's preview of the game with a predicted lineup and timeline of the long journey to get here.
Years before the city of Austin went Verde, thousands of the city's soccer fans formed a supporters' group—MLS in Austin—for a team that didn't even exist yet.
Now, as the team's catchphrase suggests, those same fans are #LISTOS as they prepare to see their team on national television at Austin FC's debut on Saturday.
What to expect
The team will face a significant opponent in LAFC, who is projected at No. 2 in the league's power rankings. Austin FC currently sits at No. 21.
"LAFC has one of the best attacking teams in the league," Head Coach Josh Wolff said. "They will punish you. They've never been shy of putting up goals, and again, I expect them to be one of the best teams in the league this year."
The club has lived up to Wolff's words: in just their second season of existence, LAFC took first in the Western Conference and were Supporters' Shield winners in 2019.
Austin FC will need to hold off LAFC captain Carlos Vela, a versatile winger/attacking midfielder who won the Most Valuable Player title in 2019, as well as high-scoring forward Diego Rossi.
Austin FC starting lineup vs. LAFC
Meanwhile, LAFC will face challenges in DP Cecilio Dominguez and midfielder Alex Ring, the former NYCFC "ringleader" who wears the captain's armband for his new team. We still don't have any updates for starting forward Rodney Redes, who may or not be playing Saturday due to a "ding" on his knee.
If Redes is fine, we think he'll stay at forward, where he's been excelling throughout preseason. If not, a more experienced Kekuta Manneh might take to the pitch in his stead. Midfielder Jared Stroud is also in the running after he went in for an injured Redes against San Antonio FC on April 10.
While Captain Alex Ring and DPs Tomas Pochettino and Dominguez are shoe-ins for the starting lineup, some other positions are up in the air.
Twenty-year-old Daniel Pereira, Austin FC's No. 1 SuperDraft pick, has done even better than expected in preliminary scrimmages. He's still young, however, and Austin FC recruited him more for his depth than immediate starting appeal. If Pereira doesn't start, it's likely to be Diego Fagundez who takes the starting spot.
Another young potential starter comes in 22-year-old Jhohan Romana, a sturdy defender who has shown inconsistency in preseason. The backline is a clear weak spot for the team so far, and while Romana shows promise, Wolff may look for experience in Julio Cascante for their first starting lineup.
Finally, goalies Brad Stuver and Andrew Tarbell are neck-and-neck in the race for a starting spot. We put Stuver on here for his preseason performance, but neither would be a surprise as starting goalkeepers.
How we got here
It's hard to put into words how monumental it is for these supporters to see their own team one day away from its historic opening match, but the excitement can be felt across the city.
To put things in perspective, here's a timeline of events that brought us here, from "MLS in Austin" all the way up to Saturday's opener.
Where to watch
While Austin FC's first season will officially be underway, their inaugural match will be nearly 1,500 miles away from their home city.
That's no problem for some fans, including those in Austin FC fan group Los Verdes. A group of dedicated supporters are going to the West Coast to welcome their team into the stadium. While LAFC isn't officially allowing Austin fans in due to COVID protocol, some are still searching for a way to watch their beloved team take the pitch for the first time.
Meanwhile, thousands of dedicated fans are also staying home to support their club. Austin FC's first official watch party is sold out with over 1,000 RSVPs, and Austin Anthem is holding a 1000 plus-person watch party as well. For a full list of Austin FC watch parties and participating pubs, click here.
For those staying home, the match will be broadcast nationally on FOX and FOX Deportes at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Don't miss out on the game!
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