Herman: After months of kicking it around, Austin goes major league

Aug 15, 2018
Jay Janner
The city’s pro soccer team will build a stadium at the city-owned McKalla Place tract in North Austin. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Great news! We’re getting a big-league football team. Less great news for some: It’s the other football, the one in which you actually use your feet for something other than running.

Me? I’m good with the Austin City Council’s 7-4 vote Wednesday that should clear the way for the Columbus Crew to relocate to Austin and eventually to play at a stadium to be built on city-owned land near the Domain.

RELATED: Austin City Council approves deal for an MLS stadium

Until the stadium is built, it looks like the team will look for a temporary home for next year. The owners probably are looking for something that’s currently underutilized. I’m no soccer expert, but maybe they should look at Texas 130. Traffic seems sporadic there at times.

Some random thoughts as we move toward Austin, at long last, becoming a major league city in some sport, albeit one a popularity notch or two down from football and baseball and, for some, mixed martial arts. (Anybody else remember when the Austin Ice Bats hockey team was the closest thing we had to pro sports in Austin, other than the occasional payments to Longhorn football players?)

With the council having given birth to this decision — complete with the pain and panting I’ve been told can accompany childbirth — Our Fair City advances to the next pivotal decision: Now that we’re moving forward on soccer and have kicked CodeNext curbside for pickup with the compost, what will be the next topic that consumes the council for the next few months?

We must make sure that our first major-league sports team’s name is Austin appropriate. Austin Crew obviously isn’t going to work here. We just don’t seem very Crewish. We’re getting a minor-league soccer team that will go by Austin Bold. Maybe Austin Bolder for the major-league team? Maybe not.

And maybe the City Equity Office should get involved so we make sure the team doesn’t come up with anything that could possibly offend anyone in any way. I’m thinking the Austin Trumps wouldn’t pass muster.

A year ago, confident they could scam Austin into welcoming the team, Major League Soccer licensed Austin Athletic and Austin FC as possible names. Bad ideas, though I’m sure there are local jocks who’d enjoying wearing T-shirts identifying themselves as Austin Athletic Supporters.

And the FC thing is very European, as in FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC. “FC” stands for “football club,” which means it’s probably not going to work here because we have that other football.

BE THE FIRST TO KNOW: When big news breaks, we send Breaking News emails. Click to sign up

(This is where the coarser among you are going to try to suggest we call our team Austin Football Unlimited just because you’d like to wear a T-shirt that says Austin FU. You should be ashamed of yourselves.)

Austin Weirdos? Austin Slackers? Austin Domain Lobsters? Austin Head-Exploding Traffic? I like that last one, complete with the motto: “Just try to get through us!”

Austin Armadillos seems like a natural (“Let’s go, Dillos!”), but somehow I think we can do better. MLS already has DC United. Perhaps we capture our prevailing local vibe and go with Austin Divided.

So with the big vote now behind us, we must quickly pivot to making some of these decisions about how to make Austin’s new team as Austiny as possible. Suggestions cheerfully accepted.

In a nod to how we tend to decide things in Austin, the new team’s games will always go into soul-sapping extra time and not be decided until 3:45 a.m. and only after the game is paused for a public comment period during which somebody carps about the fluoride in our water supply and somebody else declares their molars have been invaded by tiny transmitters implanted at night by space monkeys.

And shouldn’t we send some kind of condolence/thank-you gift to the good people of Columbus who are losing their semi-beloved team. How ’bout we ship CodeNext to them?