Austin FC unveiled as 27th MLS franchise

Ross Burkhart

For nearly a century, Austin’s sports culture has almost exclusively been built on collegiate sporting events at UT-Austin. But now, the city is delving into the professional sports world.

Austin FC was officially announced as the 27th Major League Soccer club on Tuesday during a community event in downtown Austin that was hosted by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Mayor Steve Adler and Anthony Precourt, CEO and chairman of the FC.

“This is such an exciting day,” Garber told fans and community members in attendance. “It’s Austin’s first professional major league sports team. And we can’t be more excited than to be in one of the coolest, most creative, most vibrant and most passionate cities in the entire country.”

Austin FC is expected to begin competition during the 2021 MLS season, the same year that construction on the club’s 20,000-seat stadium at McKalla Place is planned to be completed.

“The greatest way we can show our gratitude is through our actions so we intend to build a perennial MLS contender, year in and year out,” Precourt said. “We will build a stadium at McKalla Place which rivals the best in North America and is fan-friendly.”

The proposed site for the $225 million stadium sits on a 24-acre, city-owned property near The Domain. Precourt told attendees Tuesday that the venue will host concerts and cultural events while containing nearby green spaces for the community.

While the club won’t begin play just yet, Precourt said that Austin FC officials are planning to immediately begin funding for 10 youth soccer clinics per year while also awarding 30 youth scholarships on an annual basis.

In addition, Precourt’s community outreach efforts will also extend toward a local soccer foundation with an advisory board that focuses on “health and wellness for (Austin’s) youth and building futsal courts and soccer fields all across Austin.”

“We’re going unite this city. We’re going to fight for this city. We’re going to make you proud,” Precourt said.