With the city still weighing a new stadium to lure Columbus Crew SC, many are saying that a new Austin MLS academy would be beneficial to the local soccer scene.
Austin officials continue to consider the possibility of landing Crew SC, as club owner Anthony Precourt is exploring a move of the franchise to the city. Should that move happen, the club would not only build a new stadium, but could also construct an MLS training facility in Austin.
No final decision has been made as to whether or not the club will relocate, but the potential for an Austin MLS academy has many intrigued. While an Austin MLS academy would represent another project taken on by the club, for many it more significantly provides a stronger pipeline to the professional ranks for youth soccer players in the area. More from The Austin American-Statesman:
A local MLS academy would compete at the same level as Lonestar’s clubs. The difference is most MLS academies don’t require fees from their players, lifting a burden off families who now pay thousands of dollars to top-level youth clubs. MLS academy players also have a direct pipeline to the major-league club in the form of a “home-grown” contract.
“It would definitely be easier for players, and there wouldn’t be so much weight put on players’ shoulders to go to college and have to go through the college system to get to the pro level,” [Khiry] Shelton said.
Other talented young players, who might otherwise be priced out of the American soccer system, could receive a life-changing opportunity through a free MLS academy. For now, the Crew SC Academy enrolls only top boys players.
Sonny Guadarrama, who organized the December exhibition at SoccerZone in South Austin, ended the evening by telling the crowd, “This city is in dire need of an MLS team.”
It was in the fall that Precourt revealed his consideration of relocating Crew SC to Austin, and officials have since begun the process of considering city-owned sites that could be used for a new stadium and training academy. A report on prospective sites was presented in December, though no action is expected to be taken until at least next month. Crew SC will spend the 2018 MLS season at Columbus’s MAPFRE Stadium, its home since 1999.
Rendering of Austin MLS stadium courtesy Precourt Sports Ventures.
RELATED STORIES: Best of 2017, #5: Columbus Crew SC Explores Austin Move; USL Austin Plans Affected by Ongoing MLS Discussions; City Discusses Potential Austin MLS Stadium Sites; Ohio AG Explores Lawsuit to Keep Crew in Columbus; Butler Shores Park Eyed for Austin MLS Stadium; Latest on Columbus Crew SC Pursuits in Columbus, Austin; Downtown Columbus Stadium Proposed for Crew SC; Frustrations Expressed After Columbus Crew SC Meeting; City Council Approves Austin MLS Resolution; Mayor Pro-Tem: Austin MLS Resolution Likely to Pass; Columbus Sets Meeting With MLS to Discuss Crew SC; Austin MLS Training Facility Pitched as Major Amenity; PSV Presidents Touts Potential for Austin MLS; Supporters Rally Behind Columbus Crew SC; Columbus Pitches Meeting With Columbus Crew SC, MLS; City Could Begin Considering Land for Austin MLS Stadium; Precourt Believes Austin MLS Could Work With Right Stadium; Precourt: No Final Decisions on Columbus Crew SC Move; Austin MLS Team in Works? Columbus Crew SC Owner Threatens Move