Major League Soccer Announces Austin FC as New Expansion Club


Austin now officially has a major league sports team.

Major League Soccer, or MLS for short, announced that Austin FC will become the North American soccer league’s 27th franchise. MLS Commissioner Don Garber made the announcement on Tuesday, Jan. 15 in downtown Austin in front of a crowd of enthusiastic supporters, calling the Texas capital a “perfect fit” for a new soccer club. Many students are echoing the reactions of the majority of Austinites, excited that Austin is finally going to be the home for a new professional sports team.

“I think Austin getting an MLS team is amazing for our city to create an even more vibrant culture with a sports team,” Deepti Choudhury ‘21 said, “and it gives everyone in the city something to be excited about together.”

Austin FC will be the first professional sports team throughout North America’s top five sports leagues: the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, and MLS. Austin FC will also become the third MLS team in Texas, joining the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas.

“We are extremely proud to be the first major professional sports league to become part of the fabric of this important and thriving American city,” Commissioner Garber said.

The club will join the MLS as an expansion franchise after its ownership group, Precourt Sports Ventures, or PSV for short, looked to relocate a current MLS franchise, the Columbus Crew, to Austin. The move was met with swift backlash from Ohio leaders and Crew fans, so PSV chose to go with the expansion path to bring the MLS to Central Texas.

“I think it is a good move, and especially because I play soccer so much and know many soccer players,” Max Wiele ‘21 said. “Many students here love watching soccer and there will be a large fan base in a place so into soccer like Westwood is.”

Austin FC is set to begin playing in 2021, and the expectation around the MLS is that construction on the club’s stadium will begin this spring and for the stadium to be ready for games in two years. The new stadium, set to be located at McKalla Place in North Austin, will seat 20,000 supporters for Austin soccer matches.

“This is a historic day for Austin, as MLS becomes the first major league to plant roots in our beautiful city,” Austin mayor Steve Adler said.

Once beginning play, Austin FC will look to replicate the success of recent expansion teams – Atlanta United won their first MLS Cup in the Georgia club’s second year of existence, and Los Angeles FC, also known as LAFC, made the MLS Cup Playoffs in their inaugural season.

Austin FC’s motto is “Grow the Legend”, and with the club looking to replicate others’ early success, it’s very possible that they could cement their status amongst legends sooner rather than later.

“I think Austin is the perfect place for an MLS team because it’s such a diverse cultural hub and it’s full of young, new people with the right energy needed for our team to prosper,” Victor Brown ‘21 said. “I really look forward to buying season tickets.”

An MLS Cup victory is hopefully on the horizon.