All they ask for is your heart, Aztex back in Austin

Ask any plain girl with a cute, asymmetrical haircut who moved here from a lamer town or bro sporting his pearl snap shirt. Austin is like super-duper cool. Unfortunately, cool comes at a price. The sleepy, old capitol that I moved to in the early-2000s has transformed to a cocaine-fueled pissing contest. Changing attitudes on class, art, and local economies are sweeping in from the North and West.  

Institutions of music and art are being suffocated by gentrification and the increased price of living. For those who are here and moving here, it’s getting harder to feel comfortable in your own skin. Our holistic and distinct community is dying. Austin was once misunderstood and off-kilter. It is now a formula devoid of abstraction and soul. Look at The Domain.

Like the new Austin, most professional sports in America are devoid of any actual community. Sports bars don’t count. Yet, the American soccer community through being historically misunderstood and mischaracterized for decades as only for Mexicans and “soccer moms” (what’s wrong with Capri Sun or CiCi’s Pizza, dawg?) or a “hipster sport” is tightly knit and fueled by delicious but unhealthy doses of spite.

Austin has a short history with professional soccer. The Sockadillos, an indoor soccer franchise, plied its punny trade in the 1980s. Lone Stars and Lightning used to kick balls on these rolling hills. The Aztex were Austin’s own professional team that competed in the USL (United Soccer Leagues) until 2010. That’s when Phil Voldemort Rawlins decided to move the Aztex to Orlando and leave Austin without a team.

Last fall, ATX Soccer, LLC announced that it was reestablishing the AzTex team to compete in the PDL’s (Professional Development League) Southern Conference South Divison in Summer 2012. We’ll finally know who’s the best at soccer between New Orleans, Austin, El Paso, The Woodlands, Laredo, or Midland. Hooray!

The head coach will be Paul Dalglish. For those who aren’t fans of English Football, Paul is the son of Liverpool legend and current manager/whiner/hard candy enthusiast, “King” Kenny Dalglish. Along with managing the Aztex, Paul Dalglish works with Lake Travis Youth Association in partnership with the Houston Dynamo and Liverpool FC to find and develop young soccer talent in Central Texas. Tryouts have been held for college players and locals interested in playing for the Aztex. There’s a chance you might even know some of the players personally!

Home matches will be played at House Park on 15th and N. Lamar. There will not be alcohol served on the grounds, as it belongs to AISD, but there are plenty of bars to get sloshed at next door before and after matches.

Why am I telling you all this?

You can be a part of something new in Austin that won’t be destructive. This is something that will not be coopted by the roaming hoard of out-of-towners looking to suck the life out of the next chic, Austin-y thing. It is a second chance to become part of soccer’s push into American sports culture. It’s also a chance to become part of a community. 

It lacks the glamor of a music scene, the romance of an incestuous art collective, and it’s not a group of handmade jewelry makers. But, it’s an Austin team, made of Texans, supported by Texans, with the potential to become a national brand to be proud of.

So, come out. I might buy you a beer. Let’s sing some songs. You don’t have to buy season tickets, but I won’t try to stop you if you do. 

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