“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Looking forward to anything beyond the COVID-19 dread can mean the difference between developing zen-like patience or a seriously debilitating opioid habit, only sustainable through a most unsavory vocation like exotic animal trafficking or opening an OnlyFans account. It’s imperative to find healthy and sustainable ways to keep your mind occupied while we wait this situation out. Imagining myself shuffling into a Springtime Austin FC home game is just one of those special little daydreams that help me stay sane and keeps me from wandering towards more deviant ways to pass my time. The thread from which I’m hanging feels thin — any comfort helps.
Austin FC announcements serve as small milestones, little beacons lighting a path towards normalcy where we can do things like watch live footy at full stadium capacity without the concern of spreading a virus to our fellow Austinites. Since the beginning of this lousy pandemic, we’ve been receiving a steady drip of updates about our soon-to-begin Major League Soccer franchise. Just as I was noticing the onset of informational withdrawal, AFC provided me with my necessary news fix.
While unveiling something like our team’s broadcast commentator lacks the sex appeal of announcing million-dollar player acquisitions, we certainly shouldn’t downplay its importance. Based on just his name and photograph, I’ll admit to not immediately discerning who Adrian Healey was, but as soon as I heard his familiar voice, I was able to recall that voice accompanying many important Major League Soccer games. We’re not talking about some local broadcast knucklehead — Adrian is the Real Deal. I’m not sure where being one of the MLS greats places Adrian in the universal rankings of Sports Commentating, but when it comes to Major League Soccer, I can assure you, he’s dynamite.
If you haven’t spent two seasons watching condensed replays of every regular season MLS game, well my friend, you’ve spared yourself from hearing some genuinely Busch League game commentary. For those of us with an occupational necessity to go down such a rabbit hole, we know just how horrid the local commentating can get. The announcers speak with the verbal clarity one would liken to a professional, but they utter things so profoundly stupid that you feel inclined to watch the game on mute or find a less painful way to spend ninety minutes of your life. Evidence:
The only MLS voice comparable to Healey’s would be his own frequent broadcast booth partner, Taylor Twellman. Twellman’s narration is exciting and at times aggressive, while Healey is more articulate and subdued. They both both make MLS games more engaging, and together, they make as close to a perfect broadcasting pair you will find in the soccer-speaking world (The USofA).
For the uninitiated Austin MLS fan, just know that comparing Adrain Healey to Taylor Twellman is like comparing Biggy to Tupac; they’re equally as good and grading them differently would only come down to personal preference. Comparing either Healey or Twellman to any of the current local MLS commentator crop would be just as silly — borderline disrespectful. That would be like comparing Notorious/Pac to Vanilla Ice. Comparing the Avengers to the Suicide Squad. Star Wars Episode IV/V/VI to the prequels. Intercourse to abstinence. We’re getting someone of a totally different ilk.
We could all use some quality sports commentary right now — more than ever — and especially Austin. With a potentially fanless home-opener on the horizon, Austin FC fans could swear off the sport entirely if forced to watch poorly commentated footy by one of these other MLS dorks (godspeed San Jose — I don’t know where you find the strength). Adrian Healey is given the heavy task of pulling this fan base through the inaugural muck of forced home-viewing, so we can still arrive chipper and ready to spend our hard earned dollars on reasonably overpriced McKalla Place beers. You’ve got this Adrian. I am a believer.
This is seriously positive news, folks. I’m still not exactly sure how Adrian Healey was lured to Austin or if we even deserve him at all. Luckily, none of that really matters, because he is one of us now.
”When he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine, That all the world will be in love with night, And pay no worship to the garish sun.” – Bill Shakespeare
At first, this post was a critique of the more rushed aspects of Austin FC’s futboling culture and reflection of my disdain for those who fueled that fire. After praying to buddha and a firm slap to my own face, I decided to restart the thing, as my anger felt misdirected and my verbiage needlessly hateful.
It’s true; I don’t condone a lot of ATXFC’s manufactured lore, but that is my God-given right. We don’t always have to agree — nor should we be expected to.
For instance, I’m in the minority who prefer viewing games whilst engulfed in a civilized crowd’s respecting silence, emoting only when the game dictates — because to sit through ninety minutes of uninspired war cries and horrid musicianship is, in fact, my mind’s torturous vision of soccer hell.
But the opinion of one individual is rendered meaningless if greatly opposed by the majority — this doesn’t escape me — so croon, roar, and shake your tiny tambourines until your hearts putter out . . . I’ll administer the defibrillators.
Even after reaching acceptance, I still question the effort invested in the Austin FC chants/songs or wether they were just created by some kind of corporate ad libbing machine. The songs are mostly filled with references to our city or colors, which could easily be swapped and made to work for any club — and that irks me.
I feel secondhand shame for whoever penned the lyrics “All of my friends are at McKalla, There’s something bout McKalla.” There hasn’t been a single goal scored, beer ingested, or debaucherous tailgate to revel in. This premature daydream serves as the perfect example of all the other overzealous ATXFC creations. There’s something about McKalla alright, and it’s the onsetting stench of insincerity.
The problem with these expedited creations goes beyond the lyrics; The AFC chant “McKalla” borrows its melody from “Havana”, a song paying homage to Cuban born Camila Cabello’s origin country, featuring Atlanta rapper Young Thug. Choosing an ex-Fifth Harmony member’s three year old pop tune feels almost disrespectful considering how flush our town is with musical talents. If we can make room for Cuba’s Camila Cabello and The Beatles from Liverpool, surely we can find space for Gary Clark Jr., Willie, SRV, or even Bob Schneider. However, I’m pleased to admit to one selection achieving absolute perfection. . .
The Daniel Johnston inclusion is an entirely different story. Not only did this song firmly hit the target, I think it struck center-bullseye. “True Love Will Find You in the End” will be our “You Never Walk Alone” or “Wonderwall”; an original tune created by an artist synonymous with our hometown.
Harkening back to one of our town’s own weirdo-wave artists is both intelligent and appropriate. It’s so easy to lean on Austin pop-culture and create yet another means to venerate Matthew McConaughey, but celebrating Johnston aligns much better with our town’s “Keep Austin Weird” ethos.
The person who suggested “True Love Will Find You in the End” should be in the drivers seat for all future decisions concerning Austin FC’s fandom; they get it. If that brilliant soul ever reads this, or you happen to know them personally, please have them reach out to me at iAmBronaldinho@gmail.com — Reach out to me brother, sister, or non-binary gendered person. I would love to team up with you and begin the reshaping process. Together, we will burn these falsities to the ground and scavenge for gems in the ashes. Together, we will spark the revolution.
Some will miss the meaning behind this inclusion, but everyone will appreciate it once realized. The legend of Johnston can grow alongside that of the team, and the two will become intertwined, further contributing to all the tiny little things that make Austin so special; this is real-life poetry.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” – Psalms 119:105
Matthew McConaughey is drunk on power and loaded with cash. He is an unstoppable force, invading South America and refusing to take prisoners — no Paraguayan footballer is safe. When his inquisition is complete, that ravaged little country will be a talentless wasteland, and Austin FC will boast the finest all-Paraguayan team ever seen by Major League Soccer. Austin’s players will begin funneling their fortunes back to their birthplace, where this increased cash flow will bring prosperity and catapult Paraguay’s GDP. Money will rain onto the streets, and votive candles of McConaughey’s likeness will occupy every mantle; he will be worshipped — and rightfully so.
Austin FC added a second player to its roster in signing Paraguayan, Cecilio Dominguez.
McConoughey’s bolstered wealth is no doubt a product of his upcoming memoir Greenlights; the cash advance must have been astounding. Most only know him for being the greatest actor of our generation, but you will soon realize that his abilities are vast and know no bounds. Actor, Producer, Philanthropist, Professor, Minister (of Culture), Sports Franchise Owner — and now, Christ figure. Hot damn! When does this man sleep? In the video below, Matthew details his journey into self-enforced seclusion, only to emerge like a modern day Mohamed with a freshly penned scripture in hand:
I must confess, I’ve spoken ill of Austin FC’s celebrity owner in the past. For this transgression, I ask of his forgiveness — I have sinned. I am but your humble servant. I must repent.
. . . Our reverence is deserved, now and forever . . .
The memoir’s publisher, Crown Publishing, makes no mention of The Book on their website, and it is also absent in their “Spirituality and Religion” section (upon writing this post). Odd. A world-bending book of this magnitude should surely occupy the publisher’s main page, if not made to be the only book shown on their site. They don’t even advertise when The Book will come out. The other parts of the internet claim The Book is due out 10/20/20. FFS . . .
The wait for October will surely become unbearable, but I don’t need to read a single word of Greenlights to know of its perfection.
. . . Can you hear me Matthew? Give me the patience to persevere . . .
. . . Give me strength . . .
By chance, I came across one fellow apostle who seems to rival my own devotion towards The Book and good word of our savior. I discovered him/her while browsing the Barnes and Noble website. Salas79 states in a Greenlights review that they “personally not know my man” but is “so freaking sure, this book is gonna be a best seller for years!” Salas encourages us to “learn from a great and wise man” and also added a tag of “Couldn’t Put It Down”, even though the book is not yet released. Spectacular work for the cause brother. I couldn’t agree more.
Let me remind you, Salas79, that it’s not important who is most devoted or if your grammar bests my own; The most important thing is to equally recognize and admire the brilliance of Mathew McConaughey in all mediums, even outside of literature. Hand in hand, we will march through life, turning red/yellow lights green, promoting The good Book’s message. No need to read the damn thing — the work starts now.
Until He gifts his words upon the world this October, Austin FC’s minority owner has been using his talents in other ways to benefit our community world. His most recent miracle was getting Anthony Faucey to participate in a one-on-one Q&A session via Instagram Live, and I can’t think of a more qualified human alive to grill the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease director. Mathew McConaughey demanded answers to the tough questions our world has been begging to ask. Should we all wear masks? Is being in a crowd a bad idea? How is COVID transmitted? These are the brain teasers we’ve all been struggling with for too long now. Thanks MM for your bravery in speaking with Tony; I learned so much.
. . . None are worthy of your wisdom and guidance. You are gracious and brave . . .
Few are having a year quite as epic as Mathew McConaughey’s 2020, which happens to coincide with the best work of his life — this book. I wouldn’t be surprised if theres a shift in his University of Texas classroom’s syllabus from studying his best films, like “Mud” and “The Beach Bum”, to fully devoting the class’s time/energy to studying the intricate teachings of Greenlights.
“In order to rise from its own ashes, a Phoenix must first burn.” – Octavia E. Butler
Stay weary of mystifying highlight reels spotlighting otherworldly displays of skill. Under the right conditions, a slick video editor can make a common rec soccer bum look like a young Pele incarnate. Mainly, these kinds of YouTube videos lack two things: quality music accompaniment and the necessary context to judge a player’s true abilities. What is the level of competition? Are these friendlies? Did the keeper take his vitamins on the day? Are the opposing teams strictly populated with degenerate gamblers, throwing games for quick cash? Where has the internet‘s repository of royalty-free EDM been music hiding for all these years?
Take my acquaintance Jóbson Leandro Pereira de Oliveira; Jobson’s Botofoga highlights will have you pestering the AFC front office like a deranged telemarketer, shamelessly spam-calling with pleas to sign the Brazilian. After you break through and within minutes of scouts finishing Jobson’s video, Matthew McConoughey would be boarding a private jet to South America to bring Jobson to the Lone Star State.
No doubt. However, what Jobson’s carefully crafted reel fails to portray are his issues with tardiness, discipline, spousal assault, suspensions, parole violations, police arrests, and the smoking of crack cocaine. Most importantly, the videos don’t show you where Jobson fails in living up to the hype.
The same healthy dose of caution taken with Jobson’s highlights should be used in Rodney‘s case as well — but don’t twist my shit; Mr. Redes seems like a good boy, and fans of his former team have personally assured me of this, via Reddit. You won’t stumble into him at 2am ripping coke rails off of the porcelain at UnBARlievable or being thrown into the back of a cop car for publically urinating on pedestrians from the Rooftop on 6th patio — not happening. His Austin FC reveal video shows us 7 of his 12 professional goals, spanning over 80 career games; that’s what should worry you.
Rodney comes to our town with the weight of a new franchise and goal-hungry fans on his shoulders. We’ve all shelled out thousands of dollars for tickets, and we deserve the spectacle of unadulterated goal scoring. As our only goal scoring source to currently exist, and Anthony Precourt’s all-time most expensive signing, the expectations placed on Rodney will be ever-increasing until filling a second roster spot ultimately distracts us.
Hey, Rodney, no pressure at all…
…but for real…
…don’t fuck this up.
People want to know what to expect, so comparisons of Redes to a fellow Paraguayan, Miguel Almiron, are inevitable. Miguel Almiron is the prototypical player all MLS owners wish to sign. Buy low from South America and sell high to the big leagues for profit. Arthur Blank‘s Atalanta United netted $18.5 million dollars after selling Almiron to Newcastle United — the highest profit margin Major League Soccer has ever seen. Capitalism baby.
The stakes are a bit lower in the case of Redes, as we purchased him for a modest $2.75 million dollars compared to Atlanta’s expense of $8.25 million in acquiring Almiron. On the bright side, a cheaper transfer fee makes a $19 million dollar profit margin that much easier to achieve. Disregard females, acquire currency.
Rodney’s salary (200k/yr) also cushions the risk. It’s change compared to someone like Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez’s payment plan (7.5mil/yr – remember when Precourt fed into the rumor of signing him?). Don’t get me wrong, you can live like a king earning two hundred thousand American greenbacks in most US cities, but this is Austin we’re talking about. Mr. Redes will have to stretch his dollar if he wants to live like a rockstar, and I encourage him to do so. Life goes from Thursday night cocktails and ménage a twois to Friday macaroni dinner with the kids in no time.
My advice? You’re a professional athlete in your very early 20s. Do NOT buy a house. You’re too young for that kind of responsibility, and you need to stay liquid. Go get a swanky apartment in the Domain and spend what money you have left on a camo-wrapped sports car. The license plate should read something like “3ALL1N0U7” or “BIGROD420”.
I’m sure Rodney looks forward to living in Austin. Perhaps, the only thing to give him pause could be this photoshop‘d abomination of our kit. If Rodney really moves to a different hemisphere and is forced to sport this crap, I would like to apologize on behalf of club and country:
Many unknowns still surround Austin FC. We are, after all, an expansion team with a single player and half of a year before the first kickoff. It’s nearly impossible to guess if Rodney will perform like he did in his highlights or fall into MLS obscurity. Ultimately, attempting to predict the career arc of any young player is borderline foolish, especially for those not in a profession where the accuracy of this sort of forecasting determines your own success. Even then, scouts get it wrong all the time. Passive futbol fans should leave these kinds of predictions alone or risk exposing themselves as self-flagellating snobs.
This cautious approach towards newly acquired talent is logical but let’s piss into the wind and look at the glass being closer to full — if only for my own amusement. We need Rodney to elevate this team to immediate heights, and I’m hoping he is going to do it. Welcome to Austin Mr. Redes; we’re counting on you.
And for any fan who is doubting him, remember this…
“Without education, you’re not going anywhere in this world.” – Malcom X
House-arrest provides ample time for our thoughts to run amuck; we can all thank COVID-19 for that. The situation surrounding Aleksander Katai’s LA Galaxy departure went way over its allotment of brain waves this past month. He would haphazardly interrupt my train of thought, like some kind of oblivious house guest who is too faded to realize the party ended hours ago and just walked in while I’m sitting on the toilet.
The LA Galaxy announced their “mutual agreement to part ways” about a month ago. Reading between the lines of that statement, I was convinced he had been fired, but after digging into this story further, I realized their separation was one of certain mutual consent.
A quick primer:
Aleksander Katai joined the LA Galaxy prior the start of the MLS season. In the heat of the the Black Lives Matter protests, Tea Katai (Aleksander’s wife) managed to get her husband “released” from the LA Galaxy for posting some idiotic stuff to her Instagram story. For the purpose of context, Tea Katai’s Instagram is mostly filled with family photos, terribly serious posing, trivial selfie-clips at fancy restaurants, bikini snaps, and a lot of very tight pants. I will summarize her most notorious posts below:
Entry one showed police cars crawling through crowds of protesters to which she added the caption “kill the shits!”
Entry two showed a black woman holding a Nike sneaker box, presumably acquired through looting, to which she added the caption “Black Nikes Matter.”
Entry three was a picture of a Washington DC building on fire captioned “Disgusting cattle set fire to churches!”
And some extra bits of information to keep in mind:
Aleksander released an apology, expressing “I need to do better.” At most, this excuses Katai himself. At the very least, he is giving an indictment of his wife.
Katai’s former Chicago fire teammate, CJ Sapong, had some damning things to say about the Serbian. Sapong, a black man, claims that Katai wouldn’t make eye-contact with him on and off the pitch, even ignoring him in scoring situations where Sapong was open and Katai had the opportunity to provide service. Sapong’s trainers/coaches agreed there was something odd about Katai’s behavior and play.
Katai is already back to playing for Red Star Belgrade, in his home country of Serbia.
After letting this information soak in, it shouldn’t strain your imagination to pretend we’re talking about two full-blown racists. While there is always a one-in-a-million chance this is all a big misunderstanding, it probably isn’t.
What bothers me the most, so much so that I’ve spent two months revisiting this post, is how the LA Galaxy handled this situation; they paid out the rest of Katai’s contract upon releasing him.
Why in the actual fuck would they do that?
My intention is not to crucify the LA Galaxy, Major League Soccer, or whoever actually made the final decision on the matter of Katai’s departure. We all have the benefit of hindsight, and I own zero Galaxy/MLS stock. However, I do think a more audacious approach to Katai’s situation would better serve the goal of eliminating racism.
In this spirit, why not keep him on the team and force the Katai family to take steps towards learning about the exact people they seem to be so uncomfortable with. If the Galaxy are going to pay him anyway, yes, I’m suggesting they hold him hostage as opposed to sending him away from Los Angeles, flush with cash and an unchanged world-view, to his next employment opportunity.
While I’ve spent a very limited amount of time in Los Angeles, I have no doubt there are plenty of organizations the Katai family could have personally involved themselves in to broaden their perspective of races unlike their own. Getting out into the community and interacting with different races could be a mandate placed on Katai by his team/league. He should also learn how to pass to non-white teammates while he’s at it.
If he failed to comply or make an earnest effort, Aleksander could enjoy training by himself and watching Galaxy games from the comfort of his Los Angeles home. Let his career wither away for the duration of his contract. Most people would find this to be a more satisfying resolution over the Katai family further profiting from their misbehavior.
I’m sure I don’t have enough intimate knowledge around the topic of player contracts and how a player’s spouse can/can’t affect the status of said contract, but I still feel so uneasy as to how Katai’s situation was resolved. In the case of Austin FC, I hope our ownership approaches situations of racism with a much bigger set of balls. If it is within their legal right to do so, hang onto that player until they repent or rot — nothing in between.
Watch any post-game Red Star Belgrade interview of Katai’s; he seems to be in the highest of spirits. I hope he really learned from this and didn’t just get away with something.
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” – Maya Angelou
We were reaching max altitude around the time it happened; I fell asleep.
Was I trying to fall asleep? Not on this flight. No way.
I was flying United Airways, and these dummies were cramming us into the back rows of the plane, six people to each row, elbow to elbow! I petitioned to move passengers into the fifteen or so empty rows in front of our lot, but, strictly following the perverse laws of “the Friendly Skies”, the stewardess informed me that moving to one of those seats would be “stealing from the company”. What sort of infectious death-tin had I just come aboard?
This vessel wasn’t suited for napping. No, sir. I was staying vigilant in case a spring breaker or “fake news” champion tried to narrow the one foot distancing rule United forced on me. COVID-19 is not something I want to be dealing with right now.
I started listening to the latest episode of the Precourt Sports Ventures Austin Anthem Podcast, to pass the time, when I fell into what I can only describe as an audio-induced coma. I‘ve always found this podcast tedious, but this episode felt like a terrible chore. Who needs Ambien when you have this crap?
The original trio of hosts have been replaced by one dulcet-voiced whiffet and a failed radio disk jockey from the 90s. Podcasting is a scary business, certainly not because the stakes are high, but because any talentless moron with a microphone and computer can start one, at any moment, about any subject at all. No topic is sacred. Thus, this episode exists.
“Docile Don & the Spin Daddy’s” first segment went over a laundry list of Austin FC news tidbits — a boring appetizer served dry. The piece I cared to remember concerned our single celeb owner and his perceived involvement with the team. Failed radio guy kissed McConaughey’s Texas lovin’ behind, while the meek one expressed apprehension towards an actor pretending to know much beyond…well, acting. Point: Docile D.
They droned on a bit after the McConaughey talk, their ramble triggering my sudden hibernation. I regained consciousness in a panic. My defenses were down for only a short while and there was now a bottle of water and snack bag in front of me. Perhaps, I judged the stewardess too quickly. After convincing myself I hadn’t compromised my immune system in my sleep, I calmed myself down and started the podcast over from the beginning of the Butler Bro’s interview.
Catching you up to speed, I haven’t always been kind towards the Butler Bro’s work. Short version: The Austin FC logo isn’t unique enough for a town like Austin, and I did an ample job of proving our logo to be little more than a generic/ready-made. While I had already formed an opinion about the design, I re-opened my mind to the possibility of the B-Bro’s changing my perception if their story proved to be compelling enough. I have to admit, they succeeded…kind of.
The Butler Bro’s answered questions about their background and company history, but I was only interested in logo talk. They should have thrown caution to the wind and given us all of their other design ideas to pontificate over, but I’m understanding in that the legal ramifications wouldn’t be worth the risk.
Shame. It’s worth noting that the logo design project they were approached with was secretive in nature and operated under the name “Project B.A.T. (“Be Austin’s Team”). I enjoyed this for obvious reasons…
While speaking about their self-enforced parameters for the design, the Bro’s mentioned how they had to determine if the logo should be a “big tent” or “niche idea”. Essentially, this is where the Bro’s and myself divide. They opted for the generalized “big tent” idea. Cowards.
Admittedly, the logo does stand out. For that, the designers deserve kudos. Docile Don made this point, and I couldn’t agree with him more. Do a quick eye-scan of the banner on top of Major League Soccer’s website; your gaze will naturally lock on Austin. Docile Don strikes again.
However, the logo colors are a big reason why it sticks out so much, and it’s not a coincidence they are identical to the the “MLS2ATX” color scheme. Taking that into consideration, it’s reasonable to assume the Butlers had no choice regarding the logo’s palette, but they did make the oak tastefully prominent. The design would be bold (Austin Soccer pun LuLz) with any bright verde shade, and that can’t be said for something like the brittle Inter Miami United FC SC Logo. Miami’s colors are appropriate, but the two flamingos are begging to be snapped in half at the knees. I say the look of the oak is slam-dunk #1 on the B-Bro’s part. Can we still be friends?
I knew the story of the downtown Treaty Oak needing restoration after it was accidentally poisoned, and the Butlers made me aware that a second smaller oak tree was placed under the original to aid in its growth/recovery. This anecdote from the Treaty Oak’s history served as inspiration for the intertwined oaks in the Austin FC design and made me look at the Austin FC logo in a new light. The club & city analogy (found in the “explanation graphic” I’ve become so fond of) is still lame, but this multiple oak tie-in is a really fun Easter egg they thoughtfully chose to not jam down my esophagus.
This episode didn’t have much else to offer, and it was around this time where I began waving my credit card at the stewardess in an attempt to purchase mid-flight cocktails.
Am I going to hang a one-sided Austin FC flag above my bed and touch myself to it every night? No.
Do I totally despise the B-Bro’s work? Not anymore.
After listening to the Butler Bro’s speak about their work, I’ve moved from a position of disapproval to indifference.
Either way, they managed to change my mind a little.
And that’s what life is all about friends.
Cheers to you Butler Bro’s. You did a fine job, but at the end of the day, I don’t have to love it.
“The less I needed, the better I felt.” – Charles Bukowski
Game-day Experience Merchandise Guide
Merchandise from the Austin FC/MLS Store site falls under one of the two following categories:
Price is not of importance when talking Elite-Tier merchandise. These are the products you can proudly pack for a tailgate knowing you made an educated/wise decision with your purchasing power. Stay in this lane. Simple.
Avoid these tailgating products at all costs. Purchasing from this category projects an amateur understanding of the tailgating experience and will open you up to ridicule only the most socially detached human could withstand. What was meant to be a beacon of pride serves instead as a metaphorical white flag, flaccid and limply waving in the direction of the opposition. You should be flogged for your transgressions and ousted as the involuntary celibate you certainly are. Who made these harsh sports merchandising rules? Not me sir — I’m just here to help.
God willing, you read this guide thoroughly, and I’ll be shaking your hand at the McKalla Place parking lot before the home-opener. See you there comrade.
Giant Jenga (Virgin-Tier)
The giant Jenga game comes in two different sizes; one is made up of 9 inch blocks, and for those really trying to channel their inner bitch, the store offers a 7 inch block option.
An engraved Jenga set has no place at a tailgate. I don’t care how compact this thing gets inside of its nerdy carrying case, it’s still going to take up precious cargo space that could otherwise be used for essentials (example: drugs/alcohol).
If you spend $150 on a giant Jenga set, you’re an asshole. If you opt for the 7-inch Jenga set because you want to save a little money, you’re a really cheap asshole. Try Kung-Fu Saloon on a non-game day and play all the giant Jenga your tiny heart desires.
Some bro: “Hey Johnny, what you got in that black bag!?”
No one cool (ever): “It’s my engraved Austin F.C. giant Jenga set!”
Bro: “Fuck you Johnny.”
These Growlers (Elite-Tier)
Imagine the possibilities galvanized steel, compressed CO2 and tap-fresh beer can provide while tailgating at McKalla Place.
Maybe you meet the sultry gaze of an attractive woman, and it just so happens she is looking for one last beverage before game time. You oblige via your branded Austin FC growler. She is impressed. With little effort, she gives you her phone number and makes plans to meet you at the half for another drink. After 45 minutes of Austin FC trouncing the Columbus Crew, halftime passes and you’re still in a shiny new bathroom stall making passionate & unprotected love to the woman you met pre-game.
A month or so passes and she calls you to inform you of her pregnancy. You got along so well that you end up meeting again, getting married, having a healthy child, and spending the rest of your lives happily married.
Seldom is there a purchase that changes the trajectory of your life into such a positive direction. This growler is such a purchase. Your future and the existence of your children depend on it.
Growler Tap (Virgin-Tier)
“Hey dawg…I thought I was Elite for buying a growler, but now you’re telling me I’m a virgin for buying the matching tap? I’m confused.”
Ahh. You’re paying attention. Read on….
Bringing both the branded growler and the matching tap is excessive and reminiscent of a being a “full-kit wanker.” If you’re the type of person to show up to a tailgate wearing the same gear, head to toe, worn by the on-field players, then I suppose you wouldn’t understand the inherent issue with the growler & tap combo but this surely wouldn’t be the only thing that escapes you on a day-to-day basis.
Avoid the pair.
A Flag (Virgin)
Look at this…pathetic…
They really shit the sheets with this one. Who on God’s green Earth wants a one-sided flag? What sort of communist bullshit is this? What do you do with this at a tailgate?
If you bought this flag, tie this baby around your neck and wear it like a cape. Everyone will call you Captain Shit-stick; your superpower is being a fucking idiot with bad taste.
[UPDATE: REMOVED FROM STORE. THEY MUST BE PAYING ATTENTION]
Washer Set (V-)
Growing up as kids, we used to call this game “Little Ring, Middle Mug Bitch-Toss”
You just bought cornhole for babies and brought it to an adult’s tailgate. You’re a special kind of asshole. The same asshole who pounces on opportunities to make trivial corrections like “you know, it’s actually called futobol.” This carny game from hell has no place at a tailgate.
[UPDATE: REMOVED FROM STORE FOR BEING SO BITCH]
Cornhole Bags (Elite-Tier)
Clearly, cornhole is THE definitive tailgating game of the past century. We all know it. We all love it.
I’m not trying to say that Austin FC supporters shouldn’t strive to come up with the “next great thing” in the tailgate-gaming world, but as far as what the AFC merch site is offering, cornhole takes the cake.
No need to waste pre-game time with explaining rules to games no one cares about. Just hang, eat, drink, and play a game that we’ve all grown to love. The branded bags are a subtle addition to an already classic tailgating experience.
Cornhole Carrying Case (V-)
Owning this cornhole carrying case is a real cry for help.
Transport your cornhole accessories in one of the 1,000s of H.E.B. bags you have jammed into a cupboard somewhere. Who is ever going to see this thing long enough to even notice the tiny Austin FC logo? What’s the point? Who would buy this crap? “Doubles as a storage bag” – ohhhhhh, well fuck me sideways and take my $50 then…
Un-cool Guy: “Check it! An Austin FC Regulation Corhole Carrying Case!!”
SomeBro: “Johnny…like…WTF man, really?”
Guy: “Yeah, but it doubles as a storage bag! I’m hauling bricks of 100% pure Colombian disco-dust in this thing!”
Bro: “Is it made of weather-resistant fabric?”
Guy: “It is!”
Bro: [Kills Johnny. Takes Regulation Cornhole Carrying Case w/ contents.]
This Cornhole Set (V-)
As mentioned before, cornhole has become a true tailgating staple. While building and painting your own cornhole set is always optimal, I understand the convenience that buying a pre-made and pre-branded set provides…assuming said cornhole set is made of wood.
Let’s make sure that nobody owns these POS plastic toys. Just by looking at these flimsy contraptions, I feel like you should know better. Build your own set please.
Not too handy with a hammer and nails? Before you let that guy bang your wife in front of you for the 20th time, ask him if he can help you build a real pair of cornhole boards.
Real Cornhole sets made out of real wood (Elite)
Now this looks a lot better, doesn’t it?
Cornhole boards made of real wood. Excellent. While any human should be capable of finding some online instructions detailing how to make homemade boards, the graphics on these things are pretty sweet. Building boards is one thing but painting on a cool design is a whole different skillset. If esthetics are of the utmost importance to you, go with one of these pairs.
Miniature Cornhole (V-)
To be clear, this crime against humanity populates when you filter the site to show products for “Tailgating / Game-day Experience”. Was this product created with the sole intention to deceive?
Certainly. A elderly person likely bought this for you. Growing up during a depression era can make a person jump at a $30 cornhole set, but man did that thrifty little move backfire. When the off-sized package showed up, imagine the disappointment on your grandpa’s/grandmother’s face. This sort of merchandising strategy should be criminal. It sickens me.
Beerpong Balls (E+)
You thought these bad boys were for ping pong!?
WTF OMFG LOL LMFAO ROTFL ROTFL ROTFL
These are beerpong balls. Plain and simple. A 24-pack is a pretty generous lot and should get you through at least a few tailgates after a few balls inevitably get lost from taking errant bounces under cars, into drainage grates, and oncoming hoards of people. That is what backups are for.
Pingpong Paddle (V-)
Where is the branded carrying case for this thing?
Similar to giant Jenga, there is a time and place for pingpong. Top-level pingpong requires off the charts hand-eye coordination and certainly has my respect. But even a recreational pingpong player knows that a proper game can only be played on an appropriately sized table and requires a surface more even than your average parking lot. Playing pingpong at a tailgate sounds terribly cumbersome and requires so much focus that it’s borderline anti-social.
Pingpong table (V-)
I’m not going to detail why pingpong is a stupid idea for a tailgate again, but if this thing is criminally small can you legally call it a pingpong table?
A regulation pingpong table measures in at 9 feet long and 5 feet wide. This sorry excuse is only 6 feet long, and the width of the table is nowhere to be found on the website. Suspicious.
Logo Decal (E+)
Driving around Austin with decal stick figures of your family or having any bumper sticker pasted on your car is one of the lamest things a driver can do. I don’t care how many dogs/kids you have, I’m just trying to get somewhere. But this one serves a valuable purpose…
Games at home against FC Dallas, the Houston Dynamo, and (of course) the Columbus Crew are going to get pretty heated. The more militant Austin FC supporters could take out their rage on cars parked in or around the designated tailgating area. What better way to let them know they’re about to put down some friendly fire than this Austin FC decal?
“Collector’s” Pin (V-)
For fans whose primary concern is discretion.
I see no justification for purchasing this pin unless you are in a punk band, still in elementary school, or you’re 70+ years old. If you don’t have the excuse of your offbeat fashion sense, why are you trying to hide your fandom? Wear the logo proudly and preferably in way where other fans can see.
Folding Tables (E+)
These tables are all rad in their own right and their tailgating utility is off the charts. Obvious.
The designs on these things really help to take their value to the next level. Just look at these beautiful art pieces, each in their own right, a unique visual masterpiece.
Frist, the soccer pitch is just awesome to see on a table. No brainer. Second, the green wood is so classy looking — amazing. And the galaxy table looks like something out of a drug-fueled art project. I enjoy all three of these tables equally.
Yard Dice (V-)
You’re going to put these things through hell rolling them all over a parking lot and it will show. Yard dice at a tailgate are pointless and making them super-sized just makes the owner of these look more clueless. If you want to place dice games, bring some pocket dice and paper bills. Tailgate gambling is approved and encouraged.
These were popular in the late 90s and they weren’t even cool back then.
You have to be a kid trying to “swag way out” or work in IT to rock a lanyard. You already have pockets. So why did you do this to yourself?
Giant Connect 4 (V-)
What is going on here?
Tell me, what makes this any more fun than the smaller version?
Think about that for a second…
Don’t agree with one of the entries? No problem — just don’t cry about it. Why not send an email to email@example.com and submit your own product review. If you make sense/good points, I might edit this post and give you credit for the update, or maybe I’ll just ignore it find something better to do. However, teamwork does make the dream work.
“I think if I’m 40 and I don’t have any kids and I’m not married, I would have a baby artificially inseminated. I would feel like Mary – like Jesus is my baby.” – Kim Kardashian
Have you seen the “Owners” section of Austin F.C.’s website? If not, perhaps, you might recognize it by its secondary name: “Old rich white dudes getting digitally stroked off & Matthew McConaughey is here too“. So much electronic fondling goes down here that I can’t, with a clear conscious, recommend you view it at work:
Do I have a problem with the Austin F.C. brass asking their web team for a digitized handy? No — quite the contrary. In fact, I’m excessively jealous.
This is the sort of self-congratulatory loving I yearn for. If you shelled out millions to invest in a sports team, the least that team could do is give your ego a proper stroking. Let’s be real; what sports owner doesn’t enjoy a good tug every now again (see: Robert Kraft)? In some strange parallel universe where your favorite bro became part owner, my bio would read something like this:
My profile tells you what you need to know; I’m the dominant alpha-male amongst the Austin FC owners.
First, I check off the obligatory “I’m rich AF” box by just coming out and telling you “I’m rich as fuck”. Second, I drop plenty of sexual references — I’m down to clown and not afraid to be immature about it (personality). Finally, I actually mention the sport we just dropped $10 Ga-Gillion dollars to own a team in. This seems like an important thing to mention. Just a thought.
In case you are not aware, Major League Soccer operates with a salary cap, but teams can make up to 3 players exempt from this cap and pay them whatever is required to lure them to the States (Designated Players – thank David Beckham for this). Some teams drop millions to sign and pay names like Beckham, Thierry Henry, Carlos Vela, Wayne Rooney, or Zlatan Ibrahimovich.
I want star-power in Austin, and I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m a whore for expensive/marketable signings. Whilst daydreaming about MLS’s star-signing front offices, keep in mind the types of owners that purchase these kinds of players, and the markets they own teams in. So what about the Austin group?
Surprisingly, there is almost no mention of futbol in the Austin FC Owner bios. Mostly, you get a bunch of older, rich dudes who look really cranky about getting their pictures taken. To be fair though, Anthony Precourt looks really excited in his photo and has the most obvious association with futbol. My guy Toby is also looking extra psyched. Strong power-play with the only black and white photo there Tobe, but still…no footy talk.
Matthew McConaughey looks performance ready. “I’m going to pretend I’m a real businessman today,” he said with his trademark “swistle”. You know you can hear him say it…”biz-nisss-maaaan”. Nice sepia filter too. Even with this fine-tuned facade in place, I still have a hard time taking him seriously as an owner. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a McConaughey fan. His acting ability, role choices and hairline have improved greatly over the past two decades. So when I first heard about his involvement in the club, I thought he might bring Austin FC the same level of legitimate celebrity fandom he brings to the University of Texas’s football program.
Maybe he was a closet soccer fan. Maybe, like me, he had the boyhood dream of one day owning his own soccer team. But then I read this article, and I started to have major doubts…
If you want to see my guy McConaughey act like the ultimate implement for 55 seconds straight, give the video atop that article a look. His pandering is a little cringe and gives me no reason to believe he is invested in this thing for the love of the game. Side note, I’m 99.9% convinced when he said “the soccer ball is the greatest invitation in world” (yes, invitation), he most certainly meant to say “invention.” He is attending a Chelsea game and could only come up with “an Arsenal game” when asked if he has watched a lot of football matches. Of course, this didn’t stop him from claiming he was there to scout players, according to the article/headline. McConaughey is scouting players? We’re doomed.
Matt. You don’t have to build yourself up to impress the fans. You don’t have to embellish for us. You don’t have to lie to yourself. Be yourself Matt. Just keep living, bro.
So this leaves us with our last hope; the man who dumped his old team like a crazy ex and started chatting up the vibrant city of Austin well before the divorce was finalized; Anthony Precourt is our sole “soccer guy”. With his previous team, Precourt had solid results in Columbus. The Crew only missed the playoffs twice while he was owner, and for a small market team, that’s damn good business. The bad news is that he achieved this success while remaining relatively thrifty with his on-field talent.
Remember when those “Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez could be Austin F.C.’s first signing” rumors were swirling around town before he ended up in LA? Wisely, Precourt fed right into this rumor — a smart move considering you don’t actually need to spend money on a player to create buzz around the “possibility” of signing them. That shit is $free.99. Chicharito’s very real transfer to Los Angeles places him in a pay realm of $6 million per year and also saw the Galaxy send $9.4 million to Sevilla F.C. in the transfer. I don’t see Anthony Precourt throwing down $15.4 million on a player in one year. Ever.
Precourt’s largest transfer with the Crew? Pedro Santos for $2mil. Never heard of him? Didn’t think so.
No biggie, right? Major League Soccer teams typically rely on free transfers and then lay heavy on the Designated Player’s salary. There is still hope…
Columbus Crew’s highest paid player? Gyasi Zardes – $1.5mil per year. $4.5mil short of Hernandez.
Unlike the LA Galaxy and Chicharito, teams like Atlanta United have stars that aren’t household names across the globe. That could make you feel warm/fuzzy if you compare Gyasi Zardes’s salary to Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez ($3.1mil) or Ezequiel Barco ($1.4mil). They’re all in a similar stratosphere, but the trick here is that both Atlanta players came with hefty transfer fees (Martinez – $5mil / Barco a record-breaking $13.5mil). Precourt’s Columbus appeared to be a team not willing to make these sorts of monetary commitments.
There is also the matter of incentive. What incentivizes Anthony Precourt to make a move like the Chichario signing? Austin FC broke records for ticket presales, remember? In fact, the team has already sold out of luxury boxes and premium seating (general seating isn’t available yet). This team is a cash-cow, and they don’t have a single player on the roster yet. No need to spend millions on DP’s yet. Baller position to be in from a business perspective.
To be clear, I can make perfect sense of an owner leaning towards sustained profitability over flashy purchases. New stadiums don’t pay for themselves — get your paper gentlemen. But deep down, I wish Austin would board the big-name-star hype train.
With Precourt undoubtedly making the soccer decisions amongst the owners, I’m confident Austin will be a great team with time, but I want instant success. I want star power. I want the hype of high profile designated players. I can already hear the AFC zealots claiming “the only thing that matters is our record on the field!” If you happen to share their sentiment, all I can say is I’m sorry. I’m sorry my love and devotion to a currently imaginary team isn’t as pure as your own. You deserve a medal for your bravery.
Everything is going to be okay. My advice is to watch the formation of Austin FC’s roster through a realistic lens. Will Austin FC eventually have a quality team? Yes. Will that be achieved through high-profile designated player signings? Probably not. My overall feelings are best summarized by a letter I recently wrote to Arthur Blank not that long ago. To finish today’s post, I thought I would share it with you…
What up my guy?
Your friendly neighborhood bro. Bronaldinho. How are you?
I purchased your home address information off of the dark-web. I hope you don’t find that too intrusive.
I really like what you’ve done with Atlanta United. They’re honestly one of my favorite teams to watch and not just in Major League Soccer. It sort of makes me wish you owned the Austin team. Our owners seem alright, I guess. They’re just not putting out that sporting BDE quite like you are in Atlanta, sir.
We have a few pretty rich white dudes, but I don’t think they’re totally into this. They all showed up feeling depressed on picture day, so my guess is they won’t spend a dime on a big name. Toby is the only one projecting the “I don’t give a fuck” big dick swagger that we need.
We also have an actor guy who’s totally clueless about the sport. No one is exactly sure why he’s here, but he‘s like an unofficial mascot of our town, so we play along and let him feel like he’s important. We’re even going to let him lead the cheers for our fan section! And he’s 50!
Our majority owner used to own the Columbus team, but oh man, he tried to fuck them over really hard (LOL!). Whatever. Austin is way cooler than any Ohio city, and he is getting the new stadium he always wanted. He seems pretty chill.
But none of them have that Home Depot “fuck you money” like you Art. You used your funds/sports knowledge to put together the most exciting franchise Major League Soccer has ever seen, and you did it in record time. The major-market teams are worried about signing players with name recognition. You’re more concerned with finding young & entertaining talent that kicks ass.
Miguel Almiron (RIP to his MLS career)
These guys are all awesome (Barco has a little ways to go, but whatever). You fucking rock Mr. Blank.
I know that sports franchise owners love a good ego stroke, so I hope you enjoyed that. Now that you’re feeling great about yourself, I have a favor to ask of you. Would you mind calling up the Austin F.C. owners and give them a little shit? You know, throw your weight around a little, make them feel insignificant so they’re more inclined to spend big money on our debut designated players. That would be really great!
Thanks Art. I appreciate you.
Your dearest friend,
PS – Don’t waste your time calling McConohaughey. Fo real, he says a lot of silly shit…people usually listen, but they don’t take him seriously. Aight? L8er Art.
“Putting words onto paper—when it is done as an honest act of search or connection, rather than as an act of manipulation, performance, self-aggrandizement or self-protection—is a holy act.” – Pat Schneider
What in the actual f–
I honestly don’t know how much smoke one could blow up my ass before it killed me — I’ve never let anyone try. But this much smoke would surely find its way through all the caverns of my body, causing some kind of irreparable damage until it was violently discharged from my ears, nose, and all sorts of other orifices I don’t care to detail here.
Short of those soccer fans who would sacrifice their first-born to bring a professional franchise to Austin, who is all-in on this emblem? I have yet to meet someone who is genuinely over the moon with the oak logo. I’m sure fans exist who claim to be staunch lovers of this thing, but we all know those zealots are the same ones banging their drums and stay busy memorizing whatever pre-baked chants Precourt Spots Ventures The Austin Anthem tells them to.
The Austin Violet Crowns
The Austin Ladybirds
The Austin Blue Bonnets
or The Austin Oaks. Super. Where’s my fucking tambourine?
Austin Football Club’s logo is the misstep of our town’s own Butler Brothers, a local graphic design firm. Judging by their portfolio, The Butler Bros have done some quality work in the past, but this sibling duo was bound to produce a dud at some point, and it seems the Austin FC logo is the one that fell flat. Here is how I like to imagine the final logo design played out:
[The Butler Bros are struggling to wake on separate couches. The sun is rising through a window.]
Bro 1: “God damn, my head is killing me.”
Bro 2: “Yeah dude. Rainey Street was sick last night…wait. How did we end up back at the office…?”
[Both of their phones chime with a calendar reminder]
Bros in unison: “OH SHIT!”
“The Austin FC logo design is due today! FUCK!”
“I can’t even think straight bro.” [Cups mouth] “I think I might puke.”
“Remember how we joked around about sending them that clipart tree we pulled from Microsoft Power Point!?”
“Uhhhh.” [Dry heave] “Yeah…”
“Fuck it. We have two minutes. Send it!”
This story plays out as you could only expect following a night filled with Lone Star beer and bad decisions. As if it wasn’t brazen enough to send over Microsoft clipart in place of a logo, the Bros then came up with that aforementioned graphic where they explain how nuanced and clever their own work is. Feels a little self-serving gents…
Quality graphic design should be able to speak for itself and shouldn’t require a corresponding infographic. Spoon-feeding us explanations of their work comes off as a pretentious move from the B-Boys. Left alone, the Austin F.C. logo is pretty run-of-the-mill but charming enough to palate. Those descriptions though…
You get it, right? It’s all fluff to make the logo seem like it’s more than some shelved away fodder the Bros were sitting on and waiting for an opportunity to use. To further illustrate this point, let’s talk about the finer points of the Austin F.C. logo design. Jesus, take the wheel…
News flash folks: Not only did the the Butler Brahs create the most thought-provoking emblem in all of sports, they also invented a brand new color: “Bright Verde”. Now, someone has some explaining to do, because I see this thing popping up everywhere I look.
The color they’ve made (Bright Verde) is being passed around by the masses, going under the bootleg name of “Pantone 354 c”. Haven’t painted a wall recently? Are you more Web 1.0 inclined? If you are into that old-school internet *ish use the hex code #00B140 in your site’s code with caution, because you are technically committing copyright infringement. The B-Bro’s might throw up an “Intense Roja” card for that foul and now you’re playing on the internet with one man down (tee friggin’ hee).
PROCEED WITH CAUTION: When using “bright verde” don’t forget to credit/send royalties to the Butler Bros. After all, this is their baby. I don’t usually snitch, but here are some cases I’ve noticed where individuals and corporations alike have been stealing the Butler Bros’ intellectual property. Shame on you:
If imitation is the truly the most sincere form of flattery, then the Butlers should be getting flush in the face right about now.
Austin Name Placement
You might be sitting there thinking “Does it really matter where a city name is placed?” See, I asked myself that same question. After weeks of contemplation, I realized this is the type of thinking that separates us from the pros. You and I say “Throw that thing anywhere and call it done!” But no no friends. The B-Bro’s are playing mental jujitsu with the masses. They’re putting the name of our city ON TOP OF THE LOGO!
And thank goodness they did. Think about all the trash teams that have to deal with the burden of an uncentered or misplaced city name on their logo. That is what the Butler Brothers truly understand; if you don’t place the city name top and center, well, your team will never have pride.
Seemingly like the Butler Brahs, I don’t know much about Major League Soccer, but you don’t need to be Alexi Lalas to guess that these teams haven’t accomplished jack, and their cities hate them for it. No pride in these towns, but Austin is a different story because our logo commands such.
Oaks / Roots / Leaves
Whether its the trees, the roots, or the leaves, all of these attributes are universally applicable to any city that is loosely affiliated with a plant and has a new soccer franchise on the horizon.
“But Bro, doesn’t that mean that these traits are just describing any city and not our city?”
My dear and simple friend…that’s just good business. Why spend time and effort to create something unique to Austin when you can go down the safe and easy path? What if the Austin team fell through somehow? Crazier things have happened. It would be a good idea to have a set of backup teams in case your original customer can no longer take the goods. There are three other MLS expansion franchises that don’t have logos yet. I wonder if the B-Bros’s design would work in these towns?
Here are some N.S.F.W. photos that show you the marketing genius of the Butler Brothers and how they are the fast-food equivalent of the sports emblem design industry:
The Butler Brothers were thinking big-picture on this one. You and I are stuck on that micro-level thinking tip. This is what they refer to as “safe play” in the “biz.”
Wow. The Bros even gave the Austin team its “Football Club” designation. This is a subtle and appropriate gesture. Very traditional move for a very traditional town. First, if nothing else, Austin is drenched in traditional English naming conventions. I don’t want to bore you with examples, because I’m sure you’re already aware of these (lol). Second, you know that I enjoy nothing more than continuing the tradition of designations like “Football Club” (“Real” is still my favorite) in one of the only professional leagues in the world that has “Soccer” in their name. Spot on boys.
I guess what I’m really trying to say here is that everything has aligned. The Austin F.C. logo is a true work of art that is as unique as the city it represents…
Let’s get real for a second. The Austin F.C. logo isn’t all that bad. Could it have been more representative of our town? Could it have been more thoughtful? Could it be cooler? Yes, yes, and yes. I’m sure we can learn to live with it. What is most annoying is how it is being sold to us like some thought-provoking piece of art. I think Austin’s collective of soccer fans are smart enough to realize that saying a color “reflects the vibrancy and creative energy of Austin” is nothing more than bullshit conjecture.
Nah, it’s just fucking green.
:: FIN ::
P.S. Butler Brothers – the font you chose…the “N”…something wrong about it. Just sayin.