Austin FC history started here.
When I moved to Austin, I had come from New York and had a number of professional soccer teams I could watch play within a few hours drive. Austin didn't have that, but had the energy of a soccer town. It just didn't really know it and neither did the rest of the world.
So in 2013, I started a Twitter account called "MLS in Austin." It was the start of an advocacy group for raising awareness and lobbying the league, city, state, and potential ownership groups to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to Austin. It was also the start of the supporter's group for the club we didn't yet have. This led to articles, more social accounts, and a website with a call to action to bring Major League Soccer to Austin.
The work also required convincing local soccer fans. There were fragmented groups of Premier League, Liga MX, USL, and other clubs all over the city, but they weren't unified, nor did many think an MLS club could ever come to Austin. But over time, "I" became "us," became a "movement," became an irresistible force against those who would try to deny Austin a soccer team.
A very brief timeline of milestones:
- December 7th, 2013: Founded MLS in Austin / Austin Anthem
- February 21st, 2017: I published a speculative piece that Austin may not get a team through the typical expansion process. The league and others notice.
- October 16th, 2017: It was announced that an ownership group was indeed interested in Austin. Our work had not only help solidify their case to want to come to this market, but we actively led the community in support of it.
- September 29th, 2018: With confidence that Austin FC, MLS in Austin became "Austin Anthem" – a much better name for the supporters group of Austin FC
- January 15th, 2019: Austin FC was officially announced at Major League Soccer's 27th franchise
- September 9th, 2019: Austin FC broke ground on their stadium at McKalla Place (now Q2 Stadium)
- April 17th, 2021: Austin FC plays their first regular-season MLS match against LAFC. The club loses 2 - 0, but history is made and my son and I were in Los Angeles to see it live. Back in Austin, Austin Anthem holds the largest watch party in the city with over 1200 supporters in attendance.
- June 19th, 2021: Austin FC played their first home match at Q2 Stadium against the San Jose Earthquakes. The result: nil – nil.
- July 1st, 2021: Austin FC defeats the Portland Timbers for their first home win. The result: 4 – 1. The milestone completes my checklist for "MLS in Austin," which I started seven-and-a-half years earlier.
Austin Anthem and I have been there for all of it. What a long, strange journey it's been and what amazing stories have yet to be told.
I've managed to build long-lasting relationships with the club, community, and other soccer fans. Austin Anthem has been at every moment in in club history. We've had the opportunity to collaborate and work on such things as stadium features, messaging and marketing, and designing features in the inaugural jerseys — one of which includes Austin Anthem's iconic grackle logo.
My goal was to have a local team to take my family to. My legacy is helping to bring something for the entire community to rally around and having two more organizations to support and give back to that community.
Just a Few of the Stories Captured on the Austin FC Journey
- Statement in Front of Austin City Council [Item 99 at timestamp 26:50] – AustinTexas.gov (March 23, 2018)
- Soccer's Red Card – Can the sport confront its homophobia problem? – USC Story Space (Aug 07, 2019)
- Austin FC fans anticipating team's debut with virtual hangouts – Fox 7 Austin (June, 20, 2020)
- Kicking it with Austin Anthem president, Josh Babetski – The Shield (January 17, 2021)
- Austin FC Scores, Austin Craft Beer Assists - Where beer and soccer intersect – The Austin Chronicle (April 9, 2021)
- 'Austin Anthem Ale' ready to go for Austin FC's match – Fox 7 Austin (April 11, 2021)
- How Austin FC Prepared for Its Debut Season in a Pandemic – The Ringer (April 12, 2021)
- Austin FC Fans Showed Their True Colors in LA – Last Word on Sports (April 21, 2021)
- Austin FC had McConaughey, bongos, excitement to open their new home. Now comes the results – ESPN (June 26, 2021)