AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin FC announced a new signing and some staff changes ahead of the 2023 season this week.
The club added depth to its goalkeeping unit with the signing of free agent Matt Bersano. Bersano, a Chandler, Arizona, native, has spent the past five seasons with the San Jose Earthquakes organization. He spent the first three seasons with the Quakes on loan to Reno 1868 FC of the USL Championship division, recording 20 clean sheets in 57 appearances. Austin FC signed him to a two-year contract with a club option for a third year.
“Having played at Q2 Stadium as a visitor, I have seen first-hand how incredible the energy and atmosphere are on match days and can’t wait to be a part of it,” Bersano said. “Austin FC is an ambitious club with a bright future, and I’ll do everything in my power both on and off the field to help the Club continue to grow in its third year.”
Bersano played college soccer for Oregon State University from 2011-2014 and for Penn State in 2015. He joins starting goalkeeper Brad Stuver and reserve Damian Las on the roster. Andrew Tarbell, who served as Stuver’s backup the past two seasons, signed a free-agent contract with Houston Dynamo FC in November.
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The club made some coaching moves. as well. Nolan Sheldon, an assistant coach since the team’s inaugural season in 2021, is now a technical advisor with the team. With the addition of Austin FC II, the organization’s development team that will play in MLS NEXT Pro and bridges the gap between the first team and the academy, Sheldon’s new job is to “work with the Club’s first team, second team, and academy to ensure that players and coaches are aligned on philosophy and methodology,” the club said.
With Sheldon moving to the new role, Austin FC hired Terry Boss as a first-team assistant coach. Boss previously coached at Oregon State University from 2018-2021 where he led the Beavers to two NCAA tournament appearances. He was an assistant for the Beavers in 2013 and coached Bersano, and during his tenure as the head coach in Corvallis, he coached Austin FC midfielder Sofiane Djeffal.
Austin FC’s 2023 season kicks off Feb. 25 at Q2 Stadium against 2023 expansion team St. Louis City FC.
Club acquires defender, makes more coaching moves Wednesday
The club announced a transfer and other coaching staff changes in a flurry of moves Wednesday.
Austin FC acquired Leo Väisänen via a transfer with Swedish club IF Elfsborg, and he agreed to a four-year contract with a club option for a fifth year. In 94 appearances with IF Elfsborg, the Finnish international scored four goals and had four assists. The 6-foot-2, 25-year-old center back has made 23 appearances for Finland’s national team.
Austin FC II, the MLS NEXT Pro development team for Austin FC, added two coaches to the staff. Dennis Sanchez and Jason Grubb will serve as assistant coaches under head coach Brett Uttley.
Sanchez was most recently the first assistant coach for the Charleston Battery of the USL Championship division and has worked with academies for the Columbus Crew and Sacramento Republic FC.
Grubb’s coaching history is heavily rooted in goalkeeping. He was most recently the head of goalkeeping for the Houston Dynamo’s academy and the goalkeeping coach for Houston Dynamo II. He has been the goalkeeping coach for the U.S. under-20 Men’s National Team since 2021.