AUSTIN (KXAN) — Three expansion Major League Soccer teams will play their first games a year later than scheduled – but Austin FC remains on track to make its debut next year.
The currently unnamed expansion teams in Charlotte, St. Louis and Sacramento have each had their opening seasons delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Austin FC fans have been spared the disappointment of waiting to watch their team in action, MLS confirmed in a statement released Friday.
The statement said Austin FC “remains on schedule to begin competition in 2021 as planned.”
MLS also commended the soccer club for making “significant progress before the onset of the pandemic.”
The team in Charlotte will kick off in the 2022 season, while St. Louis and Sacramento will begin playing the following year, the league added.
Austin FC recently announced its first signing – 20-year-old Paraguayan winger Rodney Redes.
Last month, the club began work on its training ground, the St. David’s Performance Center, at the Parmer Pond in north Austin, while work continues on the stadium at McKalla Place.
In a statement, Austin FC president Andy Loughnane said, “Unwavering club ownership commitment, on-schedule development of our stadium and training facility projects, the first player signing in club history, onboarding of staff and corporate partners, the pace of ticket sales, and the incredible enthusiasm from our supporters and community partners to jointly launch Austin’s major league team, continue to serve as our compass as we prepare for our inaugural season in 2021. As planned, Austin FC to launch in 2021.”