Sunday, October 16th, I attended my first Austin FC match at Q2 Stadium here in sunny Austin, Texas.
This was a somewhat unlikely event. I've tried many times to get into soccer, but it never really worked for me. European leagues play on European time, and I don't speak Spanish to keep up with the best soccer in my hemisphere. And, honestly, cable has usually done a terrible job of covering MLS, the US's soccer equivalent of the NBA or MLB. Over the years I was more interested in the US Women's National Team - because of the best sports-watching moments of my life is and always will be Brandi Chastain's penalty kick in the 1999 FIFA World Cup (yeah, the one that ended with Chastain whipping off her jersey). That moment made a 24-year-old me cry.
Anyway, I was astoundingly skeptical of Austin taking on an MLS team. It was originally pitched very badly by the owners looking to move here, They made some weird moves along the way - like trying to just say they were going to build their stadium on highly utilized public land in incredibly dense areas of town, something not agreed upon by City Council or anyone else. It would have created innumerable issues from traffic to environmental, and was kind of ugly and brazen, demonstrating they did not know Austin and did not share the values of Austinites.
You don't just drop a massive stadium on Town Lake and think no one will notice.