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No longer the new kids: new MLS club Charlotte FC swipes an Austin FC player in Expansion Draft

Austinite McKinze Gaines was nabbed by new MLS club Charlotte FC in the 2021 Expansion Draft. (Austin FC/Twitter)

Austin FC's first native Austinite left his hometown team Wednesday morning as new MLS team Charlotte FC selected forward McKinze Gaines in the Expansion Draft.


Gaines was among five players selected by Charlotte FC, which was allowed to take one of Austin's players in the draft on Tuesday night. Charlotte FC is the newest club in MLS, meaning that the team was permitted to select five players of their choice from certain MLS clubs as they work to build their first roster. The Verde and Black will receive $50,000 for the Gaines transaction and won't have to participate in the next Expansion Draft.

In addition to making waves as the club's first true hometown player, Gaines made a name for himself after scoring just 10 minutes into his first match to help the team to a 2-0 victory on Sept. 26. Gaines went on to make nine appearances with the team.



As the first native Austinite to score with the team, Gaines was met with beer showers and a deafening crowd.

"Nothing quite like it honestly," Gaines said. "To score like that in front of 20,000 screaming Austinites was something crazy; I'll never forget that."

Before Q2 Stadium, Gaines was a Round Rock kid and member of the acclaimed Lone Star Soccer club and was one of the few Austin kids to try their luck at professional soccer overseas. Gaines initially made the cut in the top flight German Bundesliga but couldn't quite find his footing abroad. After swapping clubs for five seasons, the 23-year-old decided it was time to come home.

Austin FC will have a chance to fill Gaines' shoes and boost their roster at the upcoming MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 11.

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A big announcement from Austonia

Howdy, and happy holidays.

I have some big news for you.

Austonia is now part of 6AM City, a fast-growing network of hyper-local newsletters across the country.

I’m proud to be telling you this, because 6AM City’s mission is very much like Austonia’s — a daily morning update on events, things-to-do and news, with an underlying mission of community building in the cities they serve.

If you’re not already subscribed, 6AM City’s Austin newsletter is called ATXtoday. One of its city editors is Laura Figi, who you’ll remember for her previous great work on Austonia’s newsletter.

I’ve been reading ATXtoday every day since it launched last year.

Starting this week, you’ll receive ATXtoday every morning and I’m confident it will become part of your daily wake up routine. Be sure to add hello@theatxtoday.com to your contact list (how to do that here).

Meantime let me thank you for your readership and support of Austonia, and convey my wishes for a great holiday season for you and those close to you.


Thank you,

Mark Dewey

Austonia CEO

Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.