Thursday, January 24, 2008

Aztex invade Central Texas

One little historical oddity is that it's always been unclear just where the Aztec nation came from before claiming what came to be Mexico as their home. Legends refer to them coming from the north. Well, the Aztecs may have gone south, but the Aztex are coming north next year.

According to multiple sources, but I'll link to my favorites The Offside Rules and the official announcement, brand new side the Austin Aztex will start play in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) First Division beginning in the 2009 season.

Normally, minor league soccer does not overly interest me, but the odd kicker here is that team is owned by Phil Rawlins, who is also an owner and director of Stoke City FC an English League Championship side. Check out this note from the team on their arrangement:

The Austin Aztex will have an official affiliation with Stoke City which will begin immediately. The affiliation will include the English club holding their summer training camp in Austin, scouting for talent both locally and across the US, exchanging players with the Aztex and sharing best practices between the two clubs.

The Potters are in a strong position for promotion to the Premiership this season, which can only help the fortunes of the Aztex. USL games will be getting play on Fox Soccer Channel, which will only help the league.

MLS clearly will continue to be the American Premiership, for lack of a better term, but if there are fans, and you know there are many (you might even be one of them), of the whole relegation/promotion system who want it in the US, a strong USL can only help make the case. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I'm a University of Texas student and longtime Austinite. I can't wait for the Aztex to start playing in Austin. I can't think of a better city to support a soccer team. The big question is where will they play? I'm hoping that UT will lease them Mike A. Myers stadium which is Soccer/Track stadium located on campus, 2 miles from downtown, and across the street from I-35 highway. It seats 20,000 and has UT parking facilities. Aztex will also operate a PDL side as their U-23 reserve team. Very exciting developments.

Martek said...

That might be a stretch as UT has rarely let a non-school affiliated team regularly play on campus, especially not a pro team. The Round Rock Express was so long in coming to Austin for precisely that reason, because the University always scotched minor league baseball because it would compete with Longhorn baseball. My guess is that they'll play in Pflugerville, the site of the high school state championship tourney every spring and short skip up Texas 183. A central location would be nice, but I'm currently blanking on where a suitable non-UT site would be. Any thoughts on that?

ERic said...

Despite it being a bowling alley, I'd love for them to play at House Park. See the discussion here for various options. Not many in the area that are grass. That one in Pflugerville. House Park. Del Valle. That's very nearly it.