After years of anticipation, Austin FC is just days away from kicking off its inaugural season on the road against LAFC in a nationally televised game. While the team won’t play its first home game until mid-June, MLS Commissioner Don Garber visited Austin this week to give his assessment on the almost-completed Q2 Stadium. Garber went away impressed and also revealed that the stadium is unique in that is has one major feature that is bigger than any other venue in the league.
Austin FC announced as first major professional sports team in city
MLS Commissioner Don Garber officially announced Austin FC as the 27th club in the league back in January 2019 alongside team owner Anthony Precourt and Austin Mayor Steve Adler. Since then, it’s been passing one milestone after another.
The organization first assembled a front office and coaching staff, then started putting together the puzzle pieces to fill out the first roster in club history, which features players like Matt Besler, Jared Stroud, and Nick Lima.
While the club’s personnel are all in place and prepared for the season to kick off in just a matter of days, there is still one incomplete piece, and that’s the organization’s cornerstone, the $240 million Q2 Stadium.
Don Garber visits Q2 Stadium and gives venue high marks
In September 2019, Austin FC broke ground on what was then known as the stadium at McKalla Place. For months more than 500 construction workers have labored to construct the 20,500-seat stadium, located near Burnet Road and Braker Lane.
On Tuesday, with the season starting and the stadium nearing completion, MLS Commissioner Don Garber visited the new venue for what he describes as his “most important job,” and one he’s done in 25 other markets. Garber said Austin FC’s Q2 Stadium is unique in a lot of ways, but noted one in particular.
“I think what people are going to be very surprised to see here is the proximity of the fans to the field,” Garber told reporters. “The fact that we have the largest roof structure in Major League Soccer, that in an outdoor open environment is going to create almost a gladiator-like den where the sound is going to reverberate over that steel and people are going to hear it downtown.”
Austin FC opens up new stadium on June 19
Loud sound goes well in Austin, the Live Music Capital of the World. However, before Austin FC fans ever get to enjoy the sounds of Q2 Stadium, they will first get to watch the club make its much-anticipated debut on April 17 against LAFC in a nationally televised match.
“That’s our first game ever as a club,” Josh Wolff said in a press conference when the schedule was announced. “It’s against a good team in a very nice stadium. It’s a great opening game for us. I’m sure our fans are going to be excited. I know our players are excited, and I’m certainly excited. It’s going to provide a nice test for us, but we’re excited by it.”
Due to stadium construction delays, Austin FC will remain on the road for the first few months. Fans will get their first chance to see Q2 Stadium in person on June 19, when the San Jose Earthquakes come to town.
On that night, fans finally get a chance to support the first-ever major professional sports franchise in the city’s history. While it might be a limited crowd due to COVID restrictions, don’t expect it to be a quiet one. And the largest roof in MLS will make it that much noisier and better.