USL loves to talk about how it’s growing, rising or some other word the league office found in a thesaurus. Today we learned that the league will be growing even more in 2019 with a return to the city of Austin.
You could be forgiven for mistaking Austin for an expansion team. After all, they only took part in the 2015 season before going on hiatus.
The Aztex hiatus began after the 2015 season due to stadium troubles. During the 2015 season, the team called the 6500 capacity House Park home. That is, until the disastrous 2015 Memorial Day floods severely damaged it and forced the Aztex to play the remainder of the season at the 11,000-capacity Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex.
Unfortunately for the team, neither venue met the league’s standards moving forward, which led to the team announcing late in the season that they were backing out for the 2016 season. The one season hiatus then became two as the team was unable to find a stadium solution.
Thankfully for the good people of Central Texas, Circuit of the Americas Chairman Bobby Epstein will head a group of entrepreneurs that will build a 5,000-seat stadium alongside his signature Formula One racetrack in southeastern Austin.
The team name and branding were not mentioned, but it’s a safe bet that we’ve seen the last of the Aztex.
The announcement comes on the heels of recent USL expansion to Fresno (2018), Birmingham (2019), and still-unofficially, Las Vegas. Nashville SC is slated to begin play in 2018.
I, for one, am excited to welcome Austin back into the league. Let’s just hope they stick around longer this time.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments below!