AUSTIN (KXAN) — As Austin moves closer to becoming the home of a new MLS team, the UT Women’s soccer team is gearing up for their opener against Rice on Friday in Houston.
In their eyes, the more soccer the better for Austin, and for head coach Angela Kelly, it’s also personal.
“Austin is primed and ready for an MLS program and if its the Columbus Crew and its Gregg Berhalter and his staff, I would be tremendously excited,” Kelly said on Thursday. “He’s a wonderful dear friend of mine, he’s married to one of my college teammates [Rosalind Berhalter)], we were classmates back at the University of North Carolina.”
Kelly says not only has the interest grown in the game, but believe that soccer knowledge has increased in the U.S. with the increased exposure. “MLS is growing rapidly and you just see more excitement, and the average fan because of the coverage now is watching highlights of soccer in the evening and much more educated about the matches.”
While the players are excited about professional soccer in Austin, their focus is improving on last year’s season when they won a school record 14 matches and come into this season ranked 17th in the nation.
“I think the fans will hopefully come out to our games, and that will prepare for the MLS the fan base there, I think the MLS is awesome,” said senior midfielder Katie Glenn.
Following Friday’s match at Rice, the Longhorns go to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to take on the 6th ranked Tar Heels Wednesday and Central Florida on Friday. Longhorns play their home opener on Thursday, Aug. 30 against Long Beach State.