I’m not entirely sure where the time goes. Somewhere between my grueling work schedule and unrelenting screwing via my insurance company, Austin FC made their Major League Soccer debut and tasted first-time victory a week later. During this same whirlwind month, I witnessed the birth and death of a league so super the world could only bear it for two consecutive days.
Crazy fucking times. Austin FC’s win against Colorado was quickly overshadowed by the introduction, cancellation, and subsequent fallout of twelve greed-machines forming an exclusive/non-competitive soccer league in Europe. Two things became abundantly clear in the wake: 1.) The self-centered clowns who run these teams care very little for the spirit of the game. 2.) The fan bases of these clubs are ripe with selfishly accommodating apologists.
If you’ve grown up in a European Super League town, I could tolerate reluctance to ditching a club so engrained in your community — but what of the Americans watching games from their couches, tuned into Peacock, ESPN+, or whichever paid app is necessary on the day. What’s their excuse?
I don’t have one anymore. My love for one particular European side is gone. The twelve richest teams in the world — not the best — decided they wanted to forever position themselves atop the world soccer pecking order without the fans’ consideration. They all conspired to do something sinister, even executed the plan, but because they backed off at the first sign of financial backlash, some are treating them like heroes.
Seeing a debt ridden organization like Barcelona bitch about financial stability while adding Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay’s wages atop Leo Messi’s $1,000-per-breath salary makes my eyes roll and blood boil simultaneously. We just finished watching a Russian oligarch’s club beat an Abu Dhabi royal’s team in the Champs League Final; Neither team would be there without loose morals and ruthless spending, but we still tune in. These owners are greedy sons of bitches, and I continue to eat it up.
My life will cease one day and just prior to the lights shutting off, I don’t want visions of me handing dollars to a bunch of selfish suits who invested in the game for a reason different than my own . . . and that reason is love, pá. I want to bow out with my conscious clear. For this reason, I refuse to support these twelve teams. That’s my strategy, but I recommend you do whatever allows you to sleep at night but won’t come back to haunt you near the end.
At least I can breathe easy on the domestic side of the futbol’ing globe. Austin FC’s launch has been nothing short of enthralling. Short the minor distraction provided by the ESL debacle, I’ve been laser-focused on Austin FC’s introduction, a happy parishioner of ATX’s newest faith.
I unconciously presumed the output of every individual on Austin FC’s roster at season’s beginning, ranging anywhere from high bar to non-existent. But as it sometimes goes in the sporting world, the players’ actual performances seem to be the inverse of expectation.
My last post, a preview of Austin FC’s inaugural season, included a predicted starting eleven. My starting spots were 90.90% correct for our very first outing, with Brad Stuver being the only erroneous omission — and what a monumental error it was.
His career makes for a boring read up to this point but maybe Wolff/Precourt had some insider information from Stuver’s time in Columbus. Brad’s history gives us little insight as to why he has been so successful in his first starring role. In fact, his role at previous clubs scream “journeyman”, but who really gives a damn? Stuver is a rock.
I think the game Stuver solidified his place in our hearts was in the 0-2 loss to the LA Galaxy. Maybe twenty minutes in, the LA Galaxy were awarded a penalty kick, set to be taken by the freshly resurrected, top of the goal-scoring chart, and undboutledy most popular name in Major League Soccer, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
Stuver took his standard issue hipster back-comb and twin set of stainless balls between the pipes, preparing to shut down the absolute hottest foot in the league. Spoiler: he made the save in glorious fashion.
The career juxtaposition between penalty taker and shot stopper served as a perfect highlight in Stuver’s rise to Major League Soccer prominence. Chicharito entered the world-soccer consciousness as Manchester United’s super sub of the early 00’s, while Austin’s star lists the Dayton Dutch Lions and Wilmington Hammerheads on his list of temporary teams in his path to Austin. For two men separated by only three years of age, they couldn’t have more opposing career arcs, which makes the 30-year-old Stuver’s emergence all that more interesting.
This moment locked him in as a personal favorite in the ATXFC squad, but Stuver’s skill has shown well beyond this single penalty save against the Galaxy. No one has been more consistent in our first seven matches. No one has even been close.
Naturally, the city wanted to celebrate his greatness, and the business savvy front office gladly obliged to these pleas. Never ones to pass up a quick buck, the team released the goalkeeper kit in the newly opened Austin FC Store, at the Q2 Stadium. Merch-crazed Austinites flooded in and the kits flew off the shelves as quickly as they were hung. One especially crazy son of a bitch spearheaded the thing, and you can watch all of his videos/shenanigans here.
If you know anyone with access to a pink Stuver kit in a size equivalent to a women’s medium, my household will pay you $400 for it. Hit the contact link with leads.
Lucky for less frugal fans, we have more kits to collet than just the goalkeeper’s. Seven games into Austin FC’s inaugural season and we already have a plethora of kits we can purchase. Fuck yeah — capitalism. We even have a Pride colored training top where 0% of the proceeds go to any organization supporting the LGBTQ+ community. If you want to celebrate and appear supportive of gay equality without actually making a concrete contribution, this is the ticket:
If these don’t feed the need, you can rest easy knowing the Q2 pro shop has enough random merchandise to consume your paycheck. I made my first pilgrimage a week ago and felt almost overwhelmed by the selection for a team so young. I left with two hats, keychain, blanket, jacket, and a branded skull decal I have no clue what to do with.
My wallet is hundreds of dollars lighter. After seeing leaked photos of the stadium’s beer prices and to keep up my planned weekly trend of dropping hundreds at the Q2 pro shop, I have no other choice but to explore more nefarious ways of producing income.
With this in mind, I’m in the planning stages of creating my very own Onlyfans account. My username will be something close to “Bronaldinho42069” unless already spoken for, and I’ll be getting into all sorts of unsavory online activities to keep the funds rolling in. I’ll be doing wacky shit like watching MLS games in the nude and just generally whoring myself out.
I have no other choice.
See you at the Kansas City watch party. Don’t buy out the remaining green Yeti cup stock — I’ve been eyeing one those up for too long, and I have $50 cash to burn.