Things are moving fast now on bringing pro soccer to Austin. Three weeks ago, Precourt Sports Ventures and the city announced that they had completed the contract for PSV to build an MLS stadium on city land at McKalla Place near the Domain. Last week, opponents turned in a petition to force a public vote before the city can enter into any such deal; we appear to be headed to a May referendum on the topic (see "Austin FC's New Neighbors Take Over Push to Put Soccer on the Ballot," Jan. 11). This week, PSV announced that they'll be making a "LEGENDARY Announcement" next Tue., Jan. 15, at a press conference featuring PSV CEO Anthony Precourt, Mayor Steve Adler, and MLS Commissioner Don Garber. That's where they'll officially, finally, announce that PSV has been awarded the franchise to create an expansion team here, Austin FC.
Meanwhile, Circuit of the Americas has scheduled a presser for that same day, to introduce the squad, staff, and stadium for the first season of Austin Bold FC, which will begin play this March in the second-division USL Championship. COTA Chairman Bobby Epstein has been a backer of the anti-PSV petition, so there's no love lost there, and with the city and MLS now formally on the other side, it's hard to see the end game here: Though I'll savor and support his bringing pro soccer back to Austin, Epstein himself has opined that Austin can't support two pro soccer teams. More next week.
Meanwhile, the U.S. national teams – men and women – have started their winter camps, in preparation for tune-up games later in the month. New men's coach Gregg Berhalter has brought in a very young squad, all MLS-based and omitting all of the regulars playing in Europe – such as Christian Pulisic, whom Chelsea recently purchased for $73 million, triple the previous record for a U.S. player. Women's coach Jill Ellis, on the other hand, has the full starting team in camp, preparing for a Jan. 19 friendly at World Cup host France; it's about 20 weeks until WWC 2019 kicks off in Paris.