Austin has gone Verde, but many were green for Mexico's national team long before Austin FC entered the picture.
The Texas capital was ground zero for Pancho Villa's Army, the U.S. fan club for the Mexican national team, back in 2011, and red, white and blue is represented by USMNT supporters' group American Outlaws.
The bitter rivalry between the two is set to heat back up as the CONCACAF Gold Cup begins July 11.
Austin's hotbed of international football supporters has been rewarded: the semifinal round of the continent's biggest soccer tournament will be hosted at Q2 Stadium on Thursday, July 29. The Gold Cup match at Q2 will come after weeks of elimination matches, many of which will play at neighborhood pubs across the city.
Here's a complete guide on the continent's premier futbol championship, from viewing parties to rival fan clubs to the semifinal round itself.
USA vs. MEX: what you need to know
CAMPEONES! 🇺🇸 🏆 pic.twitter.com/WA1CDFQYPV— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) June 7, 2021
Mexico and their arch-nemesis, the U.S.A, have a clear grip on the CONCACAF Gold Cup. They've flip-flopped between that championship slot for every tournament appearance since 2011.
Mexico holds an advantage with 11 championship titles, while the U.S. has won six and holds the most runners-up titles with six second-place finishes.
The CONCACAF championships have been held since 1963 and have grown to include 16 teams since 2017. The championship is conducted every two years and is almost always hosted by the U.S. While almost every club involved is from North and Central America or the Caribbean, other big-name invitees include Brazil and Colombia.
This year's championship is divided into four groups:
- Group A: Mexico, Canada, Martinique, Cuba
- Group B: Haiti, Costa Rica, Bermuda, Nicaragua
- Group C: Jamaica, Curacao, El Salvador, Honduras
- Group D: United States, Panama, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago
While neither team is a shoe-in to the championship, they're expected to duke it out in the final or semifinal rounds of the Gold Cup.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup kicks off on Saturday and runs through July. The Texas-centric tournament takes place in three different Lone Star State metros: Austin, Dallas and Houston.
Group rounds begin on July 10, when EL Salvador takes on Curacao in Frisco and Mexico takes on Trinidad and Tobago at Arlington's AT&T Stadium.
The United States' first group opponent is Haiti. They'll go head to head on July 11 in Kansas City, Kansas.
Quarterfinals run from July 24-25, and semifinal rounds take place at Q2 Stadium and Houston's NRG Stadium on Thursday, July 29.
The final round of the tournament is set in Las Vegas and will culminate at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 1.
View the full schedule here.
Where to watch
Live look at our taproom manager figuring out the weekend soccer schedule now that the Gold Cup tables are out. pic.twitter.com/wImoHEqCWQ— Hopsquad Brewing Co. (@HopsquadBrewing) July 7, 2021
For those not caravanning between Texas cities to watch, there's plenty of soccer pubs around the city to watch the tournament with friends in tow and beers in hand.
American Outlaws' HQ is Haymaker Austin at 2310 Manor Road. The sandwich pub hosts watch parties for the USMNT and USWNT, the Euro Cup finals and Austin FC. Catch up on Outlaws' traditions and chants here.
Meanwhile, Takoba, located on 1411 E 7th St., has been known as a watch party site for Pancho Villa's Army.
Sergio Tristán, the founder of PVA, is also a member of Austin FC fan club Austin Anthem. While watch parties haven't been disclosed yet, the Anthem's headquarters, Circle Brewing (2340 W Braker Ln.), is sure to host viewing parties as the tournament wears on. Hopsquad Brewing (2307 Kramer Ln.), Circle's next-door neighbor, has mentioned the Gold Cup as well.
Other Austin pubs with a big soccer presence include:
- Lavaca Street Bar, 405 Lavaca St
- The Tavern, 922 W 12th St
- Jack & Gingers, 11500 Rock Rose Ave
- Celis Brewery, 10001 Metric Blvd
- Armadillo Den, 10106 Manchaca Rd
- Mister Tramps, 8565 Research Blvd
- Black Sheep Lodge, 2108 S Lamar Blvd
CONCACAF Gold Cup takes Q2
2️⃣0️⃣,5️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ strong— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) June 17, 2021
Feeling ALLLL the love tonight in Austin! ❤️☺️ pic.twitter.com/h5XQgOBawG
Q2 Stadium was already christened by a U.S national team: why not make it two?
The USWNT made the stadium's debut on Wednesday, June 16 as they scored a triumphant 2-0 victory over Nigeria as part of their Summer Series, bringing a sold-out crowd to their feet in the match.
If either the USMNT or Mexico—or both—make the semifinals, as they're poised to do, at least one team is likely to make their way to Austin. If they play each other, Austin will be in for a night of passion as one of the most highly-anticipated matches on the continent is hosted by Q2 Stadium.
Austin FC President Andy Loughnane said that hosting the tournament is an honor for the new club and the greater Austin area.
Those in red, white, blue and Verde tend to agree.
The semifinal round will take place in Austin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 29.
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Texas Longhorns linebacker Jake Ehlingers' death this spring was the result of an accidental drug overdose, according to a statement by the late student's family.
According to the statement, the 20-year-old University of Texas student and Westlake High grad overdosed on pills believed to be Xanax laced with Fentanyl, an often-deadly combo that has resulted in thousands of accidental fatalities nationwide.
Ehlinger was found dead off campus May 6 in a tragedy that shook the Austin and UT community, as well as Ehlinger's family, including his brother, former UT quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who now plays for the NFL's Indianapolis Colts.
An honorable mention All-State player and district defensive MVP while in high school, Ehlinger followed in his brother's footsteps and continued his football career as a walk-on at UT. He was also a sophomore in finance, a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and a member of the Texas Silver Spurs, a student organization that cares for beloved mascot Bevo the Longhorn.
Counterfeit Xanax pills have caused an increasing number of fatalities in the area with 1,000 deaths related to synthetic opioids in the state in 2020. Drug dealers have begun stuffing fentanyl, an opiod that the DEA said can be up to 60 times more deadly than heroin, into pills resembling the prescription anti-anxiety medication and selling them to unwitting customers.
"The spread of counterfeit pills is an ongoing and significant issue throughout our country, particularly in schools, colleges and universities," the the Ehlinger family said in a statement. "As our family continues to process Jake's death, we felt it was important to share these details with the hope that Jake will not have died in vain. We pray that sharing Jake's story will help shed light on this problem and prevent other families from also tragically losing a loved one."
To combat the surge of deaths, Austin police now have access to a supply of Narcan, a drug that can combat the effects of an opiod overdose. Though it's not mandatory, APD officers can now check out supplies of the drug when responding to calls. The department had almost completed training on the drug by June, according to a KXAN report.
"You can talk to a number of families that have had family members die because of opioid overdoses and if this was an option to help their loved one or save their loved one, I'm sure that every single one of them would tell you that it was incredibly important that we now have this incredible tool in our tool belt," Assistant Chief Scott Perry said in the report.
Ehlinger is remembered by his brother, Sam, his mother Jena, his sister Morgen and the University of Texas community. Ehlinger's father, Ross, died of an apparent heart attack while swimming in a triathlon in 2013.
"(Jake) was his dad's little buddy, and they shared an unbreakable bond," Jake's obituary read. "His father's spirit was alive and well in every part of Jake's life. Tragic life circumstances created a unique opportunity for Sam and Jake to uplift and empower each other. They were each other's biggest fans. Their mother, Jena, as well as their sister, Morgen, were the loves of Jake's life. Everyone will miss his giant hugs, but no one more than Jena and Morgen."
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Eight of the world's best Brazilian jiu-jitsu athletes flew into Austin in September to be in the new hub for the sport. But after over a decade of fighting together, they'll no longer be under the same name.
The legendary Danaher Death Squad, which started in 2007 and was led by black belt John Danaher, made a highly-publicized split in late July while in Puerto Rico, with Danaher, legend Gordon Ryan and teammate Gary Tonon announcing the aptly-titled "New Wave Jiu Jitsu" as their new studio to open soon in Austin.
Missing from the new roster were former teammates Craig Jones, Ethan Crelinstein, Nick Rodriguez and even Ryan's younger brother, Nicky Ryan. The new crew announced that day that they would also be forming a new studio with the tongue-in-cheek title "B Team Jiu Jitsu."
Jiu jitsu greats Craig Jones (left) and Gordon Ryan have opened rival studios in Austin.
Both teams chose to move to Austin, a hotbed for the sport that the B Team's Seth Belisle said is becoming a "mecca for jiu-jitsu." With plenty of renowned studios, jiu-jitsu enthusiasts like Joe Rogan coming into town and the presence of Flo Grappling, the sport's premier media outlet, Belisle said there's now "more jiu-jitsu here than anywhere in the world."
While Belisle, an Austin native, handles the business side for the crew, the team's coaching is headed by Jones, a leopard-print wearing Aussie who has been known to sport assless chaps and places importance on the lighter side of things (the studio advertises that they train "Mexican ground karate," a name they created for jiu-jitsu).
Rumors abound about the famed fighters' breakup, including money issues in the Ryan family or a well-rehearsed PR stunt, but Jones told Austonia that the split of the Death Squad simply comes down to personal differences between the fighters.
"It wasn't an amicable breakup at all," Jones said. "What Gordan represents is quite controversial... I would say there would be no line he wouldn't cross to promote a grappling match. So in that sense, we're sort of focused on a different, more positive sort of vibe."
B Team and New Wave alike are opening at a critical time for jiu-jitsu, as the sport slowly becomes a household name. Now, top fighters can make a living from their sport while still maintaining a much lower profile than MMA fighters or boxers.
That name recognition and B Team's positive attitude drew in droves of new trainees, with many opting to move to Austin solely to train at B Team.
"Jiu-jitsu is a relatively new sport," Belisle said. "If you love basketball, it's impossible for you to say, 'I'm going to go play with LeBron James and learn from him this weekend... in jiu-jitsu, that's possible. You have access to the stars of the sport because it hasn't really blown up yet. It's something special."
After an open house that saw over 150 athletes show up, the team realized they needed to become more exclusive. Now, the studio trains only the "Olympians" of the sport, something that sets them apart from other local studios. They also frequently bring in celebrities of the sport for training sessions, including famed female fighter Ffion Eira Davies.
"We're obviously a new gym, but we're probably some of the best guys in the world," Jones said.
Meanwhile, New Wave is training at the famed Renzo Gracie Studio, Danaher's former trainer, as they wait for a new studio.
Will the world's two best teams soon have showdowns in the Texas capital?
While it's unclear whether or not things will get personal (no brother vs. brother matchup is on the horizon), trainees under each studio went head-to-head for the first time Wednesday as New Wave's Gordon Ryan announced his first match out of semi-retirement. Ryan, often lauded as the best grappler in the world, forced UFC fighter Phillip Rowe to submit four times in the 15-minute friendly exhibition match at Austin's Palmer Events Center.
But Rowe, who was first a jiu-jitsu athlete before switching to UFC, said he didn't know about the beef and was just looking to train under his favorite athletes, Jones and Rodriguez.
He competed for a few reasons—including a break from UFC and a chance to give BJJ a bigger name—but he mostly came into town for the fun of it. Ryan and Rowe talked often prior to the meet, with Rowe gifting Ryan a Bumpboxx, or decorated boombox, in honor of Ryans' father. The respect was mutual—Ryan shouted out Rowe after the match for coming out with a broken hand and the death of some loved ones a week prior.
The match was the first indirect competition between the two gyms. Jones said they won't be training with the goal of fighting any of their former New Wave compadres.
"I don't know what's going to happen ultimately," Jones said. "Because obviously, we're not friendly as it is right now, but I mean. I wouldn't go so far as to train someone that was going to compete against them directly."
But with B Team fighters like Nick Rodriguez expressing their interest in fighting in the future and both gyms training for the WNO Championships in 2022, it's almost inevitable that the former teammates will find themselves on either side of the mat sooner or later.
"'I'd be lying if I said that every day since I started jiu-jitsu my goal is to beat Gordon. I'd be lying if I was saying that isn't true," Rodriguez told the Jason Chambers podcast. "My goal is to be the best grappler in the world and nothing less. That's an old teammate that I have to go through to knock him out and get to the top, then that's fine with me."
Atop one of Austin's signature rolling hilltops, 1501 Ridgecrest Drive is similar to one of the plush palaces that one might find in Calabasas. For $10.9 million, the home has four bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms and caps at 10,498 square feet.
Park in the massive, fully air-conditioned garage before walking in, where you'll have eight full spaces to park your collection of cars. If you're not a collector, the garage makes an excellent studio space.
The wide-open living spaces will draw your eyes to the two-story ceilings, glass catwalk, integrated fireplace and wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the pool.
Though the house was built in 2011, it doesn't show its age. Sleek, clean lines lead seamlessly from the formal living area to an elite open-plan kitchen. Separated by a 25-foot waterfall island that can seat at least eight people, the kitchen is fitted with only the finest Miele and Subzero appliances. The custom cabinets are just as pricey as the rest of the place, finished with custom high-gloss Aston Martin (you read that right) paint.
Upstairs in the sprawling master's suite, there are enough amenities to never have to set foot outside again. Armani tile floors, space for living and a walk-in showcase closet lead into the resort-style bathroom, where you'll find dual vanities, a walk-in shower and a lounging bathtub.
The bedroom is a quick elevator trip away from the "party" room, complete with a bar, wine room and movie theater, only the best for entertaining. If your guests are staying over, rest assured they'll be comfortable with the kitchenette, washer and dryer and spa-like bath in their suite.
Though summer has passed, you can still enjoy the grand lap pool's unobstructed Hill Country views, many private lounging areas, grill a homemade snack at the outdoor kitchen or shoot some hoops at the newly-added court.
The listing is held by Compass' Gary Dolch.
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