Loved by many...in Austin
Whether you love them or hate them, the grackles that call Austin home unapologetically - and loudly - make their presence known. And so it happened with Austin Anthem, with our involvement with the legendary and joyous, announcement of the first major league team in the city of Austin - Austin FC. We were proud to be a part of this official step toward the launch of our club, and loudly pronounced our enthusiasm. Austin Anthem has grown significantly since when we founded as MLS in Austin in 2013. Our intention on January 15, 2019 was to make a statement about the excitement for pro soccer in Austin to the league and to the nation during the live-streamed event, as well as before and after it. And, everyone delivered.
We want to thank all of you who came out and made your voices heard at Tuesday’s announcement. We look forward to continuing to grow the group and engage with others as we look forward to the launch of Austin FC in 2021.
Well before the official gathering time, several dozen Austin Anthem members began congregating at the nearby Little Woodrow’s Bar - and began making ourselves heard, fueled by the joy of the moment. Beverages were had. Chants sheets were distributed, and we started to sing. When the time for the announcement at the Rustic Tap approached, we began to flock, to the beat of the Austin Anthem drum and snare team, to the venue - loudly and with smiles ear to ear, as evidenced by the all the cell phones recording us from Austinites on foot, in cars, and from office windows.
As we arrived at the staging point behind the Rustic Tap, more people congregated with our happy flock. More chanting was sung. We were led back to another staging area - a bar next to the venue. More people congregated with us. More beverages were had. Finally, we were led back to the staging area behind Rustic Tap and into the venue, where even more people joined us. More chant sheets were distributed, more beverages were had - and the congregated 500 people began - joyously in unison - to sing the chants, following the capos’ guidance. This is something most, if not all, of those attending had never done together for the same team. Fans of Liverpool and Manchester United, America and Chivas, Real Madrid and Barcelona, US and Mexico, and many other league and national teams began to chant...together...for a team we could finally call our own - Austin FC.
Happiness filled the venue as National Soccer Hall of Fame member Alexi Lalas began the ceremonies, with the chants and cheers no longer able be contained, and unapologetically - as grackles are wont to do - drowned some of his speech. When a constantly smiling MLS Commissioner Don Garber began his speech, the grackles did the same as with Alexi. And when the team was finally introduced as the 27th member of MLS...the cheers were so loud, I doubt most in attendance even heard the words. As Anthony Precourt was introduced as the investor of Austin FC, the grackles remained unrestrained, with individual shouts of “I love you!” and “I work for free!” and “Queso Fountain!” were heard by all, eliciting laughter from the crowd, and from Precourt himself, who happily responded to each interruption.
There was cheering after plans for several initiatives were described, with community benefits and fan involvement being among Austin FC’s first priorities. When Mayor Steve Adler began his speech, the enthusiastic chanting and hollering remained, and continued when council members and City of Austin staff were acknowledged for their efforts into making a stadium for Austin FC a reality.
Finally, the ceremony ended, an overjoyous crowd of new and old zanates continued with the chanting. Happy faces and smiles were everywhere - even some tears of joy. Photographs were taken by professional media and the crowd, with Lalas, Precourt, council members and Mayor Adler the main targets of selfie takers. More beverages were had. Lively discussion about which players and coaches we want to see at Austin FC, speculation when season tickets would be available, when more merch would be available. But mostly, those in attendance were complementary of the success of Austin Anthem in...well...being loudly heard and contributing to the festive atmosphere. We were heard not just at the announcement - heard at council meetings, public information sessions, surveys, polls and social media. The result?
Austin FC will begin play at McKalla Place stadium in 2021.
So Austin Anthem and Austin FC may be loved by many here, and not so much outside of Austin. But now everyone knows we will be around - loudly and happily.
Austin Anthem is the independent supporters group for Austin FC, the Major League Soccer club of Austin, Texas.
For more information, visit us online at AustinAnthem.org
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