MLS stadium deal promises to grow youth soccer in Central Texas

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — After months of back and forth, the Austin City Council reached a decision on Major League Soccer. With a 7-4 vote, the city will now move ahead and negotiate to build an MLS stadium at McKalla Place in north Austin.

One promise Precourt Sports Ventures will have to fulfill when the now-Columbus Crew team starts playing in Austin is helping our youngest soccer players.

A part of the deal with the Crew’s owners is an agreement with the Lonestar Soccer Club.

“They’re very meaningful to us,” said Allen Fincher, executive director of business at Lonestar Soccer Club, when asked about the agreement. “There’s support [for] a developmental academy, both boys and girls, support of our women’s Premier Soccer League, WPSL, and also our East Austin initiatives.”

Wednesday evening, dozens of Lonestar Soccer players gathered at a field in north Austin for their practice. 

“I grew up on the soccer field. My dad and my brother were professionals in Germany,” said Markus Remark. His 9-year-old son Moritz plays soccer. 

Remark said they come to practice several times a week. “We do three times a week practice here. He does one time indoor. We do a lot of soccer,” he said.

The family’s excited about having the highest level of soccer in Austin. “The interest is getting bigger and bigger,” Remark said. 

Precourt promised to support Lonestar’s Girls Development Academy (120 girls) and Lonestar’s Women’s Premier Soccer League club (30 girls).

According to a new section added to the agreement, PSV has also committed to work with Lonestar on Lonestar’s East Austin Campus project which will provide participation opportunities to underserved girls and boys in east Austin.

The team will help the young players with coaching education/development, technical advice, and information exchange for both Lonestar’s girls and boys programs. 

Fincher said they’re excited about how professional players could help these young ones dream big. 

“It’s going to really expand aspirations of a young player, a 4-year-old, 5-year-old, so the rec base will grow,” he said.

“I think next season Germany alone has 11 Americans playing in the Bundesliga,” said Remark, referring to German professional soccer.

Precourt’s agreement also includes working with school districts. They’re supposed to start a program for students to participate in pre-game, half-time or post-game activities. The club has also agreed to help financially support families who can’t afford to pay for after-school soccer programs.

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