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Austin FC set to start training on March 8, exploring international contests

Mike Craven
Austin American-Statesman
The $260 million Q2 Stadium's primary function is to serve as the home for Austin FC. Team president Andy Loughnane confirmed a report by The Athletic's Paul Tenorio that the stadium is also in the mix for hosting Nations League competition alongside Chicago and Denver.

Austin FC officially begins training for its inaugural season March 8 with 21 rostered players, two unsigned draft picks and three invited camp attendees at Fairmont Austin and St. Edward’s University. Optional training sessions are available for Austin FC first team players, draft picks and training camp attendees from March 1-7. 

“We are excited to start our first preseason as an MLS club,” Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff said in a release. “The organization has worked tirelessly for over two years for this moment, and we look forward to officially starting this project and getting our players and staff on the field.”

The group of players will undergo six weeks of preseason training with the season set to start on the weekend of April 17, though no schedule is available at this time. The six-week training period will also consist of a series of closed-door scrimmages, starting with two at St. Edward’s University against USL teams OKC Energy on March 19 and Louisville City FC on March 25. Fans and media won’t be allowed to attend those scrimmages due to COVID-19 protocols.

St. Edward’s will be the training facility for Austin FC until the St. David’s Performance Center is finished, which is expected sometime this spring. The team also announced a partnership with St. Edward's by starting The Austin FC Endowed Scholarship, which will provide critical financial support for NCAA Division II student athletes. 

The only player announced on the roster not expected to be at training beginning on March 8 is Tomas Pochettino, who will join the roster upon completion of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa. Austin FC 2021 MLS SuperDraft picks, defender Aedan Stanley and midfielder Daniel Steedman, are invited to participate in the club’s preseason camp despite not yet signing. The three training camp attendees invited to participate in preseason are goalkeeper William Pulisic, defender Samuel Rogers and midfielder Luis Argudo. 

Austin FC will announce details to three additional preseason matches to take place in April prior to the start of the 2021 season. 

Austin FC exploring international contests 

The main function for Q2 Stadium is to host Austin FC matches. The club also wants to host international contests, including the Nations League in June. Austin FC president Andy Loughnane confirmed a report by The Athletic's Paul Tenorio that Q2 stadium is in the mix for the summer competition alongside Chicago and Denver. National teams from Mexico, the United States and the rest of the region compete in the Nations League tournament. The plans don’t end with the Nations League. 

“Austin FC is in active conversations with US Soccer and SUM (Soccer United Marketing) about a variety of opportunities that could potentially include future USMNT, USWNT, Nations League and Gold Cup matches at Q2 Stadium,” Loughnane said.