AUSTIN (KXAN) — With a shining new home, and years of hard work behind them, Austin FC welcomes the United States Women’s National Soccer Team to Q2 Stadium Wednesday for the facility’s first-ever match.
Just days before the game, construction workers were still putting the finishing touches on the stadium. Now all that has stopped and kickoff is nearly here.
Austin FC President Andy Loughnane sat down inside Q2 Stadium with KXAN News Today Anchor Tom Miller ahead of the match.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Tom Miller: You have gameday right around the corner, what’s still keeping you up at night?
Andy Loughnane: Well, as with any event, good plans equal good outcomes. So I think we’ve got great plans, which hopefully equal great outcomes. I’m not terribly concerned. On the other hand, it’s a big event and there’s a lot of eyes on it, so, there’s a little bit of nerves, on a personal level.
TM: On gameday, what’s going to be the mask policy?
AL: Well we’ll follow jurisdictional guidelines, and for those that want to wear a mask, of course we’re going to be supportive of those who want to wear a mask. In fact, we’ll give out masks for the first couple of events. For those who chose to not wear a mask, that is their right.
TM: Let’s turn to the transportation plan. There’s only 850 parking spots on-site, there’s not yet a light rail stop. I know there’s going to be a lot of reliance on other parking garages, on Uber, and Lyft, and public transportation, but are you confident it’s going to all going to work and not be overwhelmed?
AL: I think it’s going to be a great plan. We’re actually in a sweet spot in terms of the number of on-site parking spaces that we have because they’ve already been reserved. It allows our guests to pre-plan, identify their parking space if they want to use a personal vehicle, in one of the 5,000 spaces we’ve gone ahead and secured off-site through Pavemint. You can use the Capital Metro bus service, you can use the Capital Metro Red Line. There’s the Kramer Station, it’s a 10-minute walk away. We want you to bike. We’ve got a bike valet right here on stadium grounds. Of course, rideshare is a great option. You can get dropped off right in front of the stadium. That’s all in addition to if you want to use your personal vehicle.
TM: And you think it’s going to work?
AL: We expect there to be feedback. I can’t imagine that there won’t be people who have something to tell us, an improvement, or a tweak that can be made, and we will be collecting that feedback. This will be a continuous process of listening, learning, and to the best extent possible, correcting.
TM: Looking at the on-the-field performance so far from the team, are they overperforming, are they underperforming, or is this right where you thought they would be?
AL: Considering that we’ve only played road matches, I think we’re in a pretty good spot all things considered. When we return home for our first ever match on June 19, we will have played eight road matches, which means that we’ve got a lot of opportunities to collect points at home.
TM: We’re in this brand new stadium, it seats 20,000 plus people. What is it about Q2 Stadium that you think is going to make it one of the best in the whole league?
AL: For us this is a great representation of what Austin has to offer. There’s Austin textures, there’s Austin materials, there’s Austin tastes, smells, and there will be a very unique Austin sound inside of this. It will be loud, it will be intimidating, and this is our home, so we’re pretty excited about what Q2 Stadium offers.