Austin FC is set to begin play in MLS in 2021 as the league's 27th club, commissioner Don Garber announced Tuesday. The club will become the city's first team in a major professional sports league.
The announcement was made at Rustic Tap in Austin’s West Sixth district, with Garber alongside Austin FC chairman/CEO Anthony Precourt and Austin mayor Steve Adler. The club will soon build a privately funded, $225 million soccer stadium at McKalla Place. Groundbreaking will begin this year on the 20,000-seat stadium, which planned to be completed in time for the club's first match.
“Austin is a thriving metropolitan city – the personification of what we mean when we say MLS is a ‘League for a new America,’” Garber said in a league release. “We are extremely proud to be the first major professional sports league to become part of the culture of this historic American city. In their support of a world-class soccer stadium that benefits everyone, the leadership of the City of Austin has shown tremendous faith in our league and game, and Anthony Precourt has paved the way for Austin FC to have great success on and off the field. To the people of Austin and the surrounding community, welcome to Major League Soccer.”
Austin FC will become the third MLS club in Texas, joining FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo. Austin is the country's 11th largest city and was selected by U.S. News and World Report in each of the last two years as the No. 1 place in the nation to live.
“This is a very proud moment for Precourt Sports Ventures, and we share it with the people of Austin, City leadership, the dedicated soccer fans of the region, and everyone who believed in our mission to bring Major League Soccer to this incredible community,” Precourt said. “The greatest way we can show our gratitude is in our actions as leaders of Austin FC. Our pledge is to build three essential pillars: a team that will be a perennial contender for MLS Cup, a stadium at McKalla Place that rivals the best sporting venues in North America, and a club that will bring people together and always give back."
Said Mayor Adler: “This is a historic day for Austin, as MLS becomes the first major league to plant roots in our beautiful city. We believe professional soccer will bring a great and especially needed benefit to our city. In two years, this team and an elite soccer stadium will bring together all kinds of people from all over Austin in a way that we do not gather today. This is one important way we become a more socially integrated community. Thank you to Precourt Sports Ventures and MLS for bringing this opportunity to all the residents of Austin!”