Soccer stadium breaks ground at Circuit of The Americas

25 October 2018

Work on Austin's first professional soccer stadium is underway.

Officials with Austin Bold FC broke ground on a new soccer venue at Circuit of The Americas on Wednesday morning.

Austin Bold FC, with COTA Chairman Bobby Epstein as the majority owner, represents the United Soccer League's return to the Texas capital. The Austin Aztex folded in 2015 after failing to find a suitable permanent home. The franchise resorted to hosting games in high school football stadiums before shuttering.

General Manager Roberto Silva touted the project as the first soccer-specific stadium in Austin.

"We have worked very hard to put this together,” Silva said. "We are looking at doing a very high-end stadium."

USL has two existing teams in Texas: San Antonio FC in the Alamo City and the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros in Edinburg. Fellow expansion franchise El Paso Locomotive FC will join Austin FC Bold in the second-division league next spring.

"We are getting ready for an amazing season," Silva added.

Epstein said the stadium is not a new idea for COTA's plaza.

"This is something that we planned long ago and started pursuing and always had this as part of the dream and the vision for COTA," Epstein said.

Both Epstein and Silva noted the stadium's location on private land will be subject to property taxes.

"We want to be good friends to the community," Epstein said. "It's a sport that I think the community is ready to embrace and we're going to give it a fair chance here."

Those remarks were not-so-veiled shots at Austin's other prospect for professional soccer; a proposed Major League Soccer team called Austin FC.

Precourt Sports Ventures wants to build a $200 million MLS stadium at McKalla Place, a 24-acre North Austin tract just south of The Domain. While PSV would privately finance the stadium and pay rent on the city-owned site, it would not be subject to property taxes under a stadium deal currently in negotiations with the city.