Several details on a planed USL Austin club, including its branding, are set to be announced at an event on August 3.
It has been clear that the professional soccer scene in Austin is changing, but is has been uncertain just how that change will ultimately take shape. Last August, details were announced for a revived USL Austin club, as Circuit of The Americas chairman Bobby Epstein unveiled plans for a soccer-specific venue at the Circuit of The Americas. At the time, it was revealed that the team would begin play in 2019, but it appeared that those plans could come to a stop after Anthony Precourt launched his effort last fall to move MLS’s Columbus Crew SC to the city and construct a new stadium.
Discussions between the Precourt-backed Precourt Sports Ventures and the city are still unfolding, but USL Austin is now moving forward with a major announcement of its own. On August 3, the club will reveal its branding during an event at Circuit of the Americas that is also expected to include an announcement regarding the team’s head coach and a few player signings. More from the Austin American-Statesman:
“We’ve been working extremely hard since we received the green light from USL to bring a world-class, professional soccer team to Austin for the spring 2019 season,” said Roberto Silva, general manager for the Austin team. “We can’t wait to share the team name, coach and players with Austin, and we think fans and newcomers to the sport will be as excited as we are to have a hometown team.”…
After majority owner Bobby Epstein announced his plans last August, it came to light in October that the owners of MLS franchise Columbus Crew SC were exploring a move of the team. The Crew’s relocation efforts threatened to derail the USL team but the league and Epstein decided in February to forge ahead.
Austin is one of seven clubs that has been announced for 2019 USL expansion, making it part of a group that also includes Loudoun United FC, Hartford Athletic, New Mexico (to play at Albuquerque’s Isotopes Park in 2019), Birmingham Legion FC, El Paso, and Memphis. The USL’s 2019 lineup is currently slated to include 38 teams, but we don’t expect that number to hold. There are 33 USL teams this season, but FC Cincinnati was awarded a 2019 MLS team and Toronto FC II will drop down to the new USL Division III circuit. We expect other MLS-owned USL teams — current and suspended from last season — to make the drop to USL Division III in 2019 as well.
As for Austin MLS discussions, they remain active. The Austin City Council is currently on a summer break that lasts until next month, but work is continuing on a proposed $200 million stadium that would be constructed at the city-owned McKalla Place in North Austin. The Crew has been seeking to move to Austin by the start of the 2019 MLS season, and would spend two years at an existing venue in the area until opening the new stadium in 2021.
Rendering courtesy USL Austin / Miro Rivera Architects.
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