The very existence of this MLS expansion club, in this city, at this time, is practically a miracle. There have been so many things that, if they had gone just a little differently, might have kept this from happening.
To be sure, there were plenty of hurdles that were cleared to get here. Failed attempts at getting downtown land for the stadium, a sitting member of Austin City Council traveling to Columbus on behalf of her constituents there, even a global pandemic in the middle of season ticket sales and stadium construction.
But consider some hypotheticals, and imagine what the butterfly effects might have been…
- What if Aztex 1.0 owner Phil Rawlins hadn’t skipped off to Orlando in the middle of the night, leaving a crater where Austin’s growing soccer community had been?
- What if the Aztex 2.0 team had gotten one tenth of the support Austin FC has?
- What if the mayor of San Antonio hadn’t given MLS the finger in 2011?
- What if the ATX Pro Challenge hadn’t put the Aztex 2.0 organization into a financial hole it couldn’t climb out of?
- What if House Park (and that financial hole) hadn’t been filled with floodwater on Memorial Day, 2015?
- What if the Bold/Aztex 2.0 ownership hadn’t taken a four-year hydration break?
- What if Bold Stadium/COTA were a few miles closer to downtown, or on the end of a MetroRail line?
- What if the US hadn’t been robbed of our bid to host one of the 2018 or 2022 World Cups?
- What if UT weren’t such an uncooperative 800-lb gorilla?
- What if more people in Columbus had realized how great the Crew, their stadium, and their heritage was, before it was nearly lost?
- What if Anthony Precourt hadn’t put that Get-Out-of-Columbus clause in the contract when he bought the Crew, or if he’d happened to pick some other city for that clause, like San Antonio, or Detroit, or Sacramento?
- What if the Haslams hadn’t stepped in to #SaveTheCrew?
- What if Aleshire had followed through on his threat to sue to stop construction at McKalla?
- What if that proposition on the use of city property had passed?
- What if Matthew McConaughey hadn’t ad-libbed his bit part in “Dazed and Confused” into a cultural meme?
- What if Mayor Adler hadn’t been such a staunch supporter of the stadium every step of the way?
…And the list could go on. But here we are in April of 2021, at the beginning of a bright (verde) new era. Austin FC’s first-ever league game is tomorrow. This is happening.
Regardless of the result against LAFC, our city has already won.
Violet Crown Verdict: Two thumbs up