It is looking increasingly likely that the Austin Aztex will sit out the 2017 season, as the team is still faced with stadium issues.
The Aztex went dark for the 2016 USL season, as the franchise faced complications in finding a new home. Prior to halting operations, the Aztex played at the Kelly Reeves Soccer Complex, a facility they moved into in 2015 after House Park, their previous home, was damaged by floods. With neither stadium proving to be compatible, the Aztex sat out the 2016 season in an effort to work out a solution.
Earlier this year, it was reported that the Aztex were still facing problems in securing a home, prompting talk that they would skip the 2017 campaign. In recent remarks, team officials implied that nothing is final regarding the 2017 season, but hinted at the increasing likelihood of missing another year. More from the Austin-American Statesman:
Majority investor Bobby Epstein told the American-Statesman in a brief statement Friday that he had no updates or information to share and repeated his “no stadium, no team” mantra. “Austin needs a stadium,” he said.
Owner Rene van de Zande, traveling from Tokyo, didn’t completely close the book on 2017 yet made it clear a second straight year without a pro team in Austin is in the cards.
“It has not been formally ruled out, but we are looking at a return in 2018,” he said. “We are still in discussions with the USL about our plans and hope to give Austin soccer fans more insight soon into where this will be going.”
USL officials have told the Statesman that the Aztex remain part of the league, at least for now.
At various points, Austin has been mentioned as a possible candidate for an MLS expansion franchise. However, as we have noted in our MLS expansion odds, including the recent December edition, the inability to find a suitable home for the Aztex does not bode well for the city’s chances.