On October 16, 2017, soccer pundit Grant Wahl Tweeted: “Columbus Crew proprietor Anthony Precourt is about to maneuver crew to Austin, Texas, in 2019 if downtown stadium can’t occur in Columbus. Story quickly.”
That Tweet set off a firestorm on Twitter of offended Columbus soccer followers and excited Austin soccer followers. And I used to be there for each second of it sharing my enthusiasm concerning the prospect of getting MLS in Austin.
It was good timing for me. I used to be in a foul place as I labored by the steps resulting in divorce after 21 years of marriage. The soccer controversy gave me one thing to carry onto and hope for, and dream about.
Along with the motion on Twitter, there have been a collection of occasions, discussions, and Austin Metropolis Council conferences about soccer in Austin. I began assembly a number of the different individuals who had been pushing for MLS in Austin.
I spent loads of time at Metropolis Corridor, talking and supporting others who had been behind the hassle. One of many conferences went to almost dawn, and it was price it (although my canines didn’t like that I used to be gone so lengthy).
It was a curler coaster of a time that bonded a bunch of us with assaults and doxxing from individuals in Columbus, some Austin Metropolis Council members doing all that they might to tank the hassle, and a troublesome time discovering an appropriate location for a stadium.
In August 2018, there was lastly a Metropolis Council vote, and it went 7-4 in favor of a soccer stadium at McKalla Place… the present Q2 Stadium. Afterward, individuals from the Austin soccer neighborhood, Metropolis Council members, and Austin FC workers get collectively to have a good time with beers at Austin soccer bar, Haymaker.
Then on August 22, 2018, there was an occasion on the North Door to announce the Austin FC identify and brand, and we acquired the primary hats and shirts with the crew on them.
However Austin nonetheless wanted an precise crew to play within the authorized stadium. That was all labored out later in 2018 when it was determined the Columbus Crew would keep in Columbus and Austin would get a brand new crew.
The official announcement of Austin FC becoming a member of MLS in 2021 occurred January 12, 2019 at The Hoffbrau and it was superb to have a good time with everybody about having an actual crew begin enjoying in two years.
All through 2019, there have been month-to-month Meet and Greets with Austin FC executives, together with Sporting Director Claudio Reyna, Head Coach Josh Wolff, and Membership President Andy Loughnane.
With every occasion, we had been getting extra amped up. No person realized on March 4, 2020, at an Austin FC Q&A at Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ that it will be the final time loads of us would see one another for a very long time. Simply a few weeks later, the world shut down.
Building had began on Q2 Stadium, however I wasn’t certain if it will be paused and put the 2021 begin in jeopardy. I might drive over there and take a look at the progress usually, since I couldn’t actually go anyplace else.
It was a reduction when MLS pulled off a season in 2020, and as we moved on to 2021, it was introduced that Austin FC can be on the highway to start out the season whereas the ending touches had been placed on the stadium.
My first recreation was an away match towards the Colorado Rapids, and it felt so good to see the first-ever Austin FC objective by Diego Fagundez and the primary win for the membership.
Quickly after, I used to be in a position to get a tour of Q2 Stadium as a season ticket holder, and I knew I’d discovered my new church.
Austin FC got here in second to final within the Western Convention of their first yr, and I used to be simply ecstatic that it was actual. We had a crew.
The 2022 season was an entire lot higher on the sphere, with a second-place end within the Western Convention.
And it was simply too poetic that on October 16, 2022 – 5 years to the day of the Grant Wahl Tweet, Austin FC won their first playoff game.
Every time I stroll into Q2 Stadium, I’m dwelling. It feels good to be there, and makes me completely satisfied.
Soccer is an escape, a factor to share and expertise with the individuals I like, a spot the place I’m a part of one thing. It’s been a part of the material of who I’m since I used to be little and began enjoying.
And so many instances, I’d go together with my dad and brother to cheer on the Washington Diplomats, Workforce America, and the Baltimore Blast.
Soccer is greater than a sport to me.