Austin FC makes Alex Ring designated player, club faces major roster decision

Austin FC

Austin FC midfielder Alexander Ring plays against Nashville SC during the first half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, May 23, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin FC has locked down a key piece of its roster for years to come.

The club has agreed to a contract extension with captain Alex Ring that keeps him in Austin through at least the 2023 season as a designated player.

The roster move means Austin FC now has four designated players – one more than the MLS limit – meaning that one of the four players must be off the roster by the time the season kicks off next month.

Ring will go down in ATXFC history as the first-ever club captain, and the 30-year-old Finnish midfielder made a big impact on the pitch throughout the club’s inaugural season.

He started 31 of Austin’s 34 MLS games, scoring four goals and recording three assists. He was also shown a team-high two red cards.

Austin FC midfielder Alexander Ring, right, brings down the ball in front of Houston Dynamo midfielder Darwin Ceren, left, during the second half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

“My family and I are delighted to commit our future to such a great club, welcoming city, and amazing fans,” said Ring. “Austin FC is building something special, and I can’t wait to get back out under the verde lights at Q2 Stadium.”

“Alex is a terrific player with great character and leadership skills,” said Austin FC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna. “He’s a very important player for us and we are thrilled to keep him and his family in Austin as we continue to grow and improve.”

Ring’s contract includes two guaranteed years as well as club options for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.

Designated players typically have higher salaries as their contracts do not count towards the salary cap. MLS rules dictate that no club can have more than three designated players.

Ring was not a designated player in 2021, but his elevation to that status for upcoming seasons leaves the club with a decision to make.

With Ring signing a new contract and Sebastian Driussi making a major impact after signing last summer, rumors are swirling that midfielder Tomas Pochettino may be heading for the exit.

Pochettino has been linked with a transfer to Argentinian giants River Plate, with journalist Cesar Luis Merlo reporting there is a “verbal agreement” for Pochettino to make the move.

Austin FC previously announced the signings of striker Maxi Urruti and winger Ethan Finlay ahead of the 2022 season.

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