Soccer Watch

As revealed here last week, Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole's office is presenting a resolution at City Council today (March 6), asking the city manager to help facilitate a push for a soccer stadium and MLS team in Austin. (See the text of that resolution here, plus an Austin Aztex letter in support.) In explaining the resolution, Cole said: "We have become a global city and soccer is an international sport that fosters diversity, health, and team play. As our city supports these values, we should be involved in determining the feasibility of this effort. The city should take the lead in bringing together stakeholders such as the University of Texas, the Aztex, Major League Soccer, neighborhoods, and others during the planning process."

For now, everyone seems to be pulling together on this: the city, the Aztex, the Austin FC effort headed by Michael Wilt, and, so far, the public. You can show your support on the recently posted page, which seems to be adding likes at the rate of about one a minute.

The most interesting response I got came from an Italian journalist who called within three hours after the paper hit the streets, to see if the city of Rome's newly-announced fiscal crisis was going to have an effect on the proposed AS Roma stadium being forwarded by Raptor Accelerator Austin, and saying he had asked around at AS Roma, and the club didn't deny interest in there being an MLS team in Austin. Hmmm.

All that hoopla pushed other soccer news right out of the column last week, but, rest assured, the ball keeps turning: As we go to press, Wednesday, March 5, is the first day of international games of the year, and national teams around the world started their run-up to this summer's World Cup. The U.S. lost 2-0 to Ukraine, in a game moved to Cyprus from Kharkiv, Ukraine, a pro-Russian city barely 10 miles from the Russian border, where some of the nation's most violent political protests have been occurring. Elsewhere, England beat Denmark, 1-0, and Spain beat Italy, 1-0, in a rematch of the 2010 WC final... The European Champions League Round of 16 return legs are the next two Tuesday-Wednesdays, March 11-12 and 18-19, 1:30pm on Fox Sports... Congratulations to Aztex assistant coach Zack Pope, who recently popped the question (on the Aztex practice field; gotta love that) to pro soccer player Jackie Acevedo, who has just joined the WPL champion Portland Thorns for the coming season... The Aztex hold their final tryouts March 15-16; see for more info.

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