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Learn More About Our Supporters Group


MLS in Austin Logo History
A History of MLS in Austin Logos

First Meetup
First Group Meetup

About

A Brief History.

Our SG began in 2013 as a grass-roots, community movement to promote Austin as a viable market for a Major League Soccer franchise and attract support from fans, city officials, an ownership group, and the league. We become the local destination for MLS expansion/relocation news, updates, rumors, and analysis that is of interest to the Austin market. We are the first community and only MLS Supporters Group in Austin.

By working with soccer supporters from around the Austin area, working with our local MLS ownership group, we helped make a strong case for support to city leaders, communities, and the local media. Austin is positioned to become an MLS city in 2019 with the launch of Austin FC.

A Bright Future.

We've begun working on a new supporters group identity to compliment the team identity and reflect the power of Austin supporters.

In the meantime, we're still focused on local engagement as a supporters group as well as continuing to be your news and information source for the latest updates on our progress.

We hope you will join us and help rally and recruit supporters from all over Austin's soccer community, as well as new fans to cheer with us into the future.

Organizational Team

The MLS in Austin Supporters Group is overseen by an Organizational Team, who fufill the roles as board members and officers of a 501(c)(3) non-profit. All roles are as unpaid volunteers. Questions? Please contact us.

Josh Babetski

President & Founder

Josh has been heavily involved with promoting and helping to grow and support the local Austin soccer community for over 4 years. He founded Supporters Union, held various leadership roles with the local American Outlaws Austin Chapter, has consulted for soccer ownership groups and interests, and saw the potential of an MLS team here in town, leading to the founding of MLS in Austin in 2013.

He also helps coach his kid's soccer team and has spent over 20 years in the technology and media industries.

Kollin Brandenburg

Director at Large

Kollin is an Austin native with an affinity for soccer. Working as an engineer for a tech company he always has a pulse on the local tech scene. No longer playing soccer himself, he is a member of multiple soccer related supporters groups around Austin and has multiple matches in England, Spain, and Germany.

Shane Castella

Director at Large

Born in New York City and raised in East Texas, Shane is an ardent supporter of U.S. Soccer, Tottenham Hotspur, and (especially) FC Barcelona.

Outside of his love for all things soccer, he has spent over a decade working in the tech industry and enjoys traveling, playing music, cooking, local community activism, and spending time with his wife and son.

Zach Christodoulides

Director of Media

Though technically born in Houston, Zach moved to Austin before his first birthday. Frankly, he couldn't get here fast enough. Founder and co-creator of The Throw-In, Austin's only local soccer sports talk radio program. Zach is also an avid fan of Manchester United, a bit that sometimes gets over played on the radio.

When Zach is not watching MUFC or a Cypriot League game with his dad, he is probably watching a Portland Timbers game.

Currently, Zach produces and co-hosts The Throw-In every Sunday morning at 9am on 104.9 The Horn. You can stream the show live - worldwide - on the Horn App, or listen to the podcast on SoundCloud or hornfm.com. He is also co-host of "The Assist" podcast.

Derek Ensign

Director at Large

Derek's love for soccer was sparked by grueling battles of FIFA ‘99 with his older brother. His interests outside of sports include food, beer, travel, and music, which are all thematically linked to community and connection with people and a place. Derek is passionate about facilitating the growth of soccer in our city to connect Austinites to each other and to other people around the world.

David Herman

Director of National & International Partnerships

Responsible for all marketing, social communications and brand strategy for Manchester United in the United States. Namely, the provision of brand, design and marketing leadership to all internal stakeholders and being brand guardian of the Club's output to provide a coherent, consistent experience for supporters in America.

A hands-on marketer and life-long United supporter, the "Hat & Soccer Guy" also works alongside global brands on how to leverage "The Beautiful Game" within their marketing strategies over the course of his parallel eighteen-year media and technology professional career and is occasionally seen pitch-side donning the infamous mascot Fred The Red costume.

Josh Jackson

Director of Supporters Group Relations

A dedicated player and fan, Jackson has been following the beautiful game since 1999. He has coached two undefeated parochial school champs, designed and administered soccer camps from Austin to Mexico, holds a U.S. Soccer National D coaching license, is co-host of "The Assist" podcast, Executive Captain for ATX United FC, a Division Commissioner for the Austin Men's Soccer Association, Member of AO Austin, and Austin Reds SG.

Ryan Riggins

Director of Art & Brand

As Director of Art & Branding, Ryan oversees the visual direction of the MLS in Austin Supporters Group. Former player, lifetime fan. Loyal supporter of U.S. Soccer, Tottenham Hotspur FC, and the future Major League Soccer club of Austin, Texas. Member of the American Outlaws Austin Chapter since 2015.

In addition to his love of the beautiful game, Ryan is a husband and father. Professionally, he is a photographer and designer serving as Associate Art Director at an Austin-based communications company.

Andrew Urban

Vice-President / Director of Philanthropy, Legal, and Finance

With 24 years in the tech industry, Andrew has worked with the nonprofit sector for 17+ years. He's passionate in how tech can amplify impact to causes. Author of the ‘The Nonprofit Buyer' (2010), and active in the Austin community with board member stints at River City Youth Foundation, the Scottish Rite Dyslexia Center, and St Matthew's Day School. He has played and coached soccer locally since the mid-1980's, is a member of AO Austin and Austin Spurs. Andrew is also co-host of "The Assist" podcast.

Ryan Vautherot

Director of Local Partnerships

Lover of the beautiful game, Ryan is a fanatic of the French National team and PSG. He works across numerous industries in the city of Austin and is working to engage ATX businesses with the soccer loving community to strengthen MLS in Austin. Recently, Ryan attended an Equipe de France 2018 World Cup qualifier match, witnessing Les Bleus top Sweden 2-1.

FAQs

Answers to some common questions.

If your questions aren't answered below, please contact us.

Supporters

How can I get involved?
Become a member.
Read our periodic newsletters.
Follow us on Medium, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Is the supporters group really going to be called "MLS in Austin"?
Absolutely not! The name and colors are temporary until we get closer to knowing the branding of our local team, then we'll rebrand to compliment it with something very unique and very Austin (we have a long list of ideas). Early members will be a part of the branding process – Join today!
Learn more about our current branding and our go-forward strategy
If I've never been part of a Supporters Group, can I join?
Yes! We want to build a modern supporters group full of a diverse and broad cross-section of Austin. Soccer is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. and supporter culture is rapidly evolving. Help us take it to the next level.
How is the MLS in Austin Supporters Group run?
We are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Our group is led by a small volunteer, Organizational Team. We're not a soccer club, not in local government, and not building a stadium, so the only agenda we have is to make soccer in Austin successful. We hope this will make us the most reliable, effective, and unbiased initiative to inform and build community support.
Our membership consists of supporters from local supporters groups, soccer clubs, soccer pubs and other related businesses as part of the community. We also have first-time fans, and casual supporters who want to stay informed. Members are mostly concentrated in the Austin-area, but have members in many other states as well.

MLS

I'm already a fan of (Insert team name here). They're much better than any MLS club, why should I care about supporting Austin FC?
If you love the beautiful game and you love Austin, why wouldn't you want to bring the game to a higher level here?

Stadiums

Where will the stadium be located?
City Council recently directed the city manager to execute a contract with PSV for a privately-funded stadium at McKalla Place, near the Domain.
Where can I learn more about McKalla Place and its potential?
One of our Supporters Group members created a website dedicated to the property that includes info on various aspects of the site.
What else can the stadium be used for?
A large stadium creates opportunities for international friendlies, national team matches, and a facility for performance from that huge band/singer you love.
The current largest local venue, the Frank Erwin Center is slated to be demolished in the next few years. The replacement will be a smaller facility. This will leave Austin with no location to host high-capacity events.