Austin FC competes on the home pitch in June 2021. And they’re driven by a startling force of highly organized supporter groups.
The Austin FC organization worked tirelessly to assemble a crack roster as their maiden season unfolds this year. Yet media members, from the local newspaper and television news to glossy Texas Monthly magazine, have marveled at the precisely organized supporters groups that come to drive their players to a record expansion-team season.
Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh shook Buddhist circles in 1993 when he suggested the next physical appearance of the Buddha, instead of a single human body, could be in the form of the sangha. That’s a community of practitioners who guide each other to improve themselves and the lives of all beings around them. Ultimately, they draw each other fully to enlightenment.
This team’s first supporters group began with Austin Anthem in 2013 before their city had won its MLS franchise. Precourt Sports Ventures didn’t jump into creating a team for Austin until 2017.
Then Burnt Orange Brigade focuses on membership among University of Texas Students, faculty, and staff.
Promoting the football community is the focus of La Murga de Austin. This group seeks musicians and other supporters – even those committed to membership in other supporter organizations – to perform songs, chants, and play musical instruments. Performance is sought not only during games but in parades and other events.
La Murga seeks to become the heartbeat of Austin FC.
Los Verdes begins its organization with its starting 11 leadership, then stratifies its group into committees. Finally, the complex effort focuses on its mission to bring art to the games while adding to the music and noise.
Oak Army New Braunfels is still developing its ultimate mission. They will grow their purpose and membership through a podcast promoting the soccer team and their relationship as supporters.
But stay tuned for more.
Meanwhile, the Austin expansion MLS club has designed their new stadium seating to serve all types of fans, from casual to VIP.
For members enjoying the East Club hospitality area of the new stadium, the team recently inked a multi-year agreement with Diageo North America to name that area the Captain Morgan Club. Team president Andy Loughnane promised the move will ensure a top-flight food and beverage experience for those fans beginning with the first home game in June.
The team has put an equal effort into ensuring that the supporters group also will have a top-flight experience so they can deliver an equally meaningful 90-minutes for all, whether in the Captain Morgan Club or in the highest seats above the pitch.
The organization has created the south end of the stadium to belong to supporters groups. There, group members can stand shoulder-to-shoulder, with fold-up seats available and a protective railing. From there, with their musical instruments, chants, and songs – they will be heard.
It’s yet to be seen just how good the players are. But the supporters’ groups have been in place – some before the Austin MLS team’s beginning.
Together, they create Austin’s most valuable player.