First, the Austin Aztex left the Lone Star State for Orlando. Then, the New Austin Aztex couldn’t field a team for 2016 thanks to flooding and some pretty bad budget mismanagement. Now, the USL is returning once again to hill country for 2019. The addition of Austin will bring the USL to a total of 34 teams, with Nashville, Birmingham, Fresno and (reportedly) Las Vegas joining in the next two seasons.
The problem with Austin has never been fan support, but instead finding an optimal place to play. USL Austin majority owner Bobby Epstein has found a place to play, near his Formula One racetrack Circuit of the Americas, but it remains to be seen whether that’s optimal. To be fair, there isn’t a whole lot of available/remotely affordable real estate near downtown Austin, so maybe this is an okay choice in the short term. They’ll at least be able to sell beer, so that puts them ahead of the old Aztex’s House Park digs. Further, USL’s published renderings of the stadium look pretty cool, and I’m sure it’ll be a nice place to go watch a soccer game. The question, though, is whether people will make the trip out to the suburbs to see it, and how USL Austin chooses to market itself.
Soccer is a pretty big deal in Texas. Austin should be able to support a team. It remains to be seen whether this new group will revive the Aztex brand a third time, or if they’ll try and reboot. One thing’s for sure, I’m down for a Texas road trip in 2019 if the maybe Aztex hit LouCity’s schedule.