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Saturday, May 15, 2021

If all MLS house owners have been like Austin FC investor Matthew McConaughey, everybody could be a fan

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When the chance to become involved within the possession group of latest Main League Soccer membership Austin FC was offered to Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, the one drawback was whether or not he would possibly get too concerned.

“It was like: Completely, I’m in. How a lot can I get in? That turned the problem,” McConaughey stated. “As a result of I needed to be in additional.”

Sure, exhausting to consider, McConaughey being overly enthusiastic. Proper? And after he’d spent almost 27 minutes Tuesday with journalists masking soccer, it was simple to achieve this conclusion: If each MLS crew had a McConaughey, the league is likely to be pushing the established “high 4” males’s leagues even more durable than it’s.

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With Austin FC set to start its first MLS season Saturday at 6 p.m. at LAFC, McConaughey not solely is an investor within the membership but additionally its “Minister of Tradition.” That’s how he’s listed on the membership web site among the many seven individuals who have a stake within the membership, which is town’s first main league skilled crew. Austin has had big-time faculty sports activities for greater than a century, however that is completely different.

“You’ve acquired 150 folks shifting right here a day. With that many individuals, we’re one of many fastest-growing cities within the nation,” McConaughey stated. “It was once everybody that was right here — most everybody — went to the College of Texas. Most individuals right here now didn’t go to the College of Texas. They’re coming right here in search of a crew. They’re from completely different components of the world.

“We’re a really multicultural place, and soccer is that recreation that invitations all cultures, all diversities to the pitch in a typical language. … So we’ve acquired the common language, and we’ve already acquired the common urge for food. Plus, we already did nice with the opposite widespread denominators that everybody loves, that are music and meals. We simply wanted a 3rd one.

“It’s the primary time that Austin, town of Austin, has a crew that represents our metropolis. It’s the primary time that we are able to root for our metropolis.” He really stated cit-ay. Not kidding.

McConaughey is taking a rational strategy to expectations of an MLS enlargement crew. It’s exhausting to know what to anticipate by way of outcomes, as a result of Atlanta United was an instantaneous smash upon getting into the league in 2017 and received MLS Cup in it second season. LAFC completed third in factors in its first season, 2018, and received the Supporters’ Defend the next 12 months. However FC Cincinnati received solely 10 video games mixed in its first two years after climbing from USL.

Austin FC is shifting into a good looking dwelling, Q2 Stadium, constructed to carry 20,000. There have been 15,000 season tickets offered for the inaugural season with a reported 15,000-person waitlist. However to get the brand new constructing prepared, the membership will play six street video games upfront of the June 19 dwelling opener in opposition to the San Jose Earthquakes.

“It’ll be good to exit and get just a few scars on the street earlier than we come again,” McConaughey stated. “We’re going to be taught some issues. We’re younger. How a lot success can we now have in 12 months one? We’ll see. However Austin FC shouldn’t be one thing — we’ve not constructed it in a day, and we’re not going to be a fad. That is the start. The season is planted to develop a giant, robust oak. A legend.” He managed to accent each syllables there.

McConaughey acknowledged that after his investing his preliminary cash, and enthusiasm, it has been essential “to take a seat again and let the professionals do what they do.” That might be anybody from the architectural agency that designed the stadium to the gross sales and advertising crew to sporting director Claudio Reyna, the U.S. Males’s Nationwide crew legend who was instrumental to New York Metropolis FC’s early success.

“Now, right here we go. We’re every week out,” McConaughey stated. “We’ve been speaking about this. We’ve been constructing this brick by brick. We’ve been getting our help particular person by particular person by means of town. We perceive it’s verde, it’s listos — however now it’s dwell. Woo-hoo! I simply acquired some chills saying that.

“I’m beginning to get looser now. I do know we’re developing on recreation day. I’m not getting tighter, I’m getting looser. I’m having an exhale, a second of: OK, we did it. Now we come to the desk to eat. Now we get on the pitch and we play. Let’s go be taught. We all know what we’re striving for. We all know it’s a 100-year battle. We all know we’re not going to have an undefeated season. So how can we construct? How can we be taught? Now, the enjoyable begins.”

McConaughey describes a soccer ball as “the best invitation on the planet,” explaining {that a} baby might be alone kicking a soccer ball on a piazza in Rome and if one wanders over, inevitably that ball goes to be kicked about by two folks.

The game has skilled monstrous development on this nation over the previous 25 years, though MLS extra has benefited from that than pushed it. Including one other quickly rising market, although, solely may also help the league to develop into an much more important drive in soccer’s advance right here.

“You’ve acquired to have a long-term view. There are shortcuts. Each enterprise has a shortcut. Each one in all us in our private life has shortcuts. A few of them are OK to have; a few of them are OK to take,” McConaughey stated. “More often than not, particularly while you need to construct one thing … suppose long-term.

“The sport of soccer shouldn’t be going wherever. Now MLS has established itself. We have now a contemporary beginner coming into city in MLS, to the sport of soccer: Austin FC. We labored actually exhausting to say: Make the long-term determination. Make the choice now that can pay us off, has a larger share to pay us again in success later. Should you go into one thing with an possession mentality, not a renter’s mentality — yeah, I’d prefer to dabble on this; possibly we’ll see the way it goes — you’re not going to make the precise choices, not going to make the precise cultural choices.”



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