Anthony Precourt

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Report: Austin FC hire Reyna as sporting director

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Months after locking in Josh Wolff as head coach, Austin FC is reportedly on the verge of naming one of MLS’ best sporting directors to the same role.

The Athletic reported on Wednesday that Anthony Precourt’s Austin FC has hired Claudio Reyna from New York City FC to be the expansion club’s new sporting director. It’s the second expansion club that Reyna is working for since he joined NYCFC in 2013 as its first director of soccer operations.

[READ: MLS takes big step with All-Star game update]

If true, it’s a shrewd move by Precourt to bring in a man who knows MLS like the back of his thumb, and to pair him with a former teammate from the U.S. Men’s National Team. Wolff’s spent almost his entire career in professional soccer in MLS too, so the club now has two influential individuals who are knowledgable about the league and it’s various roster mechanisms.

Austin FC doesn’t enter MLS until 2021, so locking in Reyna now gives him more than a year of runway towards building an MLS-ready roster. Precourt has surely seen the best-case scenario – Seattle, Los Angeles FC, Atlanta United – where a team loaded with top-heavy talent and good role players can make a deep playoff run in its expansion season. But he’s likely also seen the worst-case scenarios – look at Minnesota United in the past and FC Cincinnati this year.

Bringing in Reyna certainly makes it more likely that Austin FC’s future will lie in the former category.

Major League Soccer unveils 27th team: Austin FC

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Major League Soccer has formally unveiled its 27th team, Austin FC.

The Anthony Precourt-owned team puts MLS one franchise away from its self-imposed maximum of 28.

[ MORE: Atlanta signs Watford teen ]

Precourt unsuccessfully tried to relocate his Columbus Crew to Austin before working his way into an expansion team.

He insists Austin FC will have local investment, and that pleases MLS commissioner Don Garber. From The Austin Statesman:

“We will shortly be announcing that we’ll be welcoming in local Austin partners into our ownership group,” Precourt said. “I’ve had very productive conversations over the last year, and we have very strong interest in a great lineup of local Austinites that will be part of this going forward.”

“If not for those plans, we probably wouldn’t be here today,” Garber told the Statesman. “The final ownership structure will be one that would satisfy our real strong desire and preference to have our clubs have local roots.”

Austin joins Nashville and Miami as announced expansion teams, and AFC will begin play in 2021.

Home of the University of Texas and a myriad of popular musical acts like Spoon, Explosions in the Sky, and The Sword, Texas’ capital is an attractive spot for MLS and will have built-in rivalry capabilities between Houston and Dallas (with San Antonio a long-rumored MLS flirtation).

MLS will almost certainly expand beyond 28 teams, with Charlotte, San Diego, and Detroit among the league’s long-term targets.

Also of note: Alexi Lalas played guitar.

Crew SC to remain in Columbus under new ownership

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UPDATE: MLS, along with the various other parties involved, released a statement that confirms negotiations are ongoing with the group led by the Haslams, but emphasized the fact that nothing has been finalized and much work is still to be done.

Nearly one year to the day after Anthony Precourt announced his intentions to relocate Columbus Crew SC to Austin, Tex., the MLS franchise is expected to remain in the Ohio capital under new ownership, according to multiple reports on Friday.

[ MORE: USMNT loses to Colombia | Player ratings | Three things ]

An official announcement is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. ET, at which time many more details will be made available.

The existing Crew SC franchise will reportedly be purchased by a group that includes the Haslam family — spearheaded by Jimmy Haslam, owner of the Cleveland Browns — from Precourt Sports Ventures.

Joint Statement from the Columbus Partnership, Pete Edwards, Jr. and Dee and Jimmy Haslam on forming alliance to keep Crew in Columbus:

“While there are many details to be worked out, our alliance is working diligently and collaboratively with the League to keep the Crew in its community. We are very excited about the quiet but deliberate progress that has been made to date and will keep the community updated as this process moves forward.”

Precourt is still expected to pursue an MLS franchise — and a stadium deal — in Austin, only now it is likely to be an expansion team.

Ohio’s attorney general and the city of Columbus filed a lawsuit earlier this year in an attempt to prevent Precourt from moving the team to Austin. The lawsuit cited a law that prohibits teams which have received public money from relocating unless certain conditions are met. It was enacted after the (original) Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996.

MLS, Precourt unveil Austin FC name, crest

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Major League Soccer is likely coming to Austin, and the Columbus Crew’s owners have released a name and logo for the team.

It’s not an awful logo by any means, with a decent color selection and the use of the”Texas Live Oak” tree, but it sure is hard to look past the tomfoolery used to (probably) tear a team from its fan base. It’s difficult to imagine a relocation being handled any worse.

[ RECAP: NYCFC 1-1 RBNY ]

Anyway, last week the Austin City Council approved Crew owner Anthony Precourt’s plans to build a stadium in Texas, and now Precourt Sports Ventures is bringing the goods on what goods it’ll be bringing south.

@MLS2ATX also released an explainer for the badge, including that the color is “Bright Verde,” which is English and Spanish for bright green. It’s a little like Seattle’s “Rave Green” except rave is English for rave.

Here’s how the Major League Soccer web site phrased the current situation between the Crew, Precourt, and Austin. It’s… awkward (and how could it not be. There’s reason to feel empathy for the writer).

PSV, which currently operates Columbus Crew SC, is exploring options to bring an MLS club to Austin.

“Given the historical and ongoing market challenges, Precourt Sports Ventures must prepare for every potential scenario for the Club in 2019 and beyond,” PSV said in a statement. “Should Austin be granted the requisite approvals ahead of the 2019 season, it will be imperative to launch with momentum and a presence to ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of the Club. Normal business operations shall continue in Columbus for the balance of the 2018 season where winning an MLS Cup remains the objective.”

The Austin Statesman also pointed out that the names Austin FC and Austin Athletic are owned by Major League Soccer, and that it was registered in August 2017.

Another group of people to feel empathy for might be Austin soccer fans, who are probably really excited about their new team and fancy new digs, but not at the expense of another club.

Precourt claims victory as Austin City Council approves stadium

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The Austin City Council voted 7-4 to approve a stadium planned by Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt, the latest step in Precourt’s bid to move the MLS franchise to Texas.

The stadium will be scheduled for a 2021 completion. USL side Austin Bold will begin play next season.

Precourt spoke briefly following the announcement, saying, “We’re bringing Major League Soccer to Austin, Texas” and clapping his hands.

[ MORE: All #SaveTheCrew news ]

The Ohio Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against MLS and Precourt Sports Ventures, claiming that moving the Crew to Austin would be illegal. That lawsuit’s day in court is still a few weeks away.

Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer says the city will continue its fight to “Save the Crew.”