Austin FC minority owner Matthew McConaughey aspires for the MLS expansion club to truly represent the diverse and vibrant city they call home.
The Oscar-winning actor made an appearance at this year's virtual SXSW, speaking with MLS Commissioner Don Garber for a discussion about the future of the North American soccer experience. As the club's minister of culture, McConaughey wants Austin FC and the Q2 Stadium to be a welcoming place for the diverse group of people who live in the city.
"We want the club Austin FC to be synonymous with Austin," he said. "We want the club to be the flagbearer for Austin, inside and outside the sport. My hope is that if you take a snapshot of the stadium on any given night … (it) should look like all the rich and diverse pieces of Austin in one stadium. And now we're creating a destination for all the different communities in Austin to come together."
McConaughey has deep roots in Austin as a longtime resident of the city, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and a former student at the school. As a result, he's well-positioned to advocate for the city's value outside of just being an MLS market.
"The DNA of Austin, which makes it so great, is the people," he added. "The people make up the vibe. You've got this capital of the state in Austin, Texas, on this side of the street and across the street, you have this young vibrant university with 50,000 young men and women (striving) for progress. Where those two reach across and push and pull off each other is part of the vibrancy of Austin."
McConaughey sees a similarity between Austin and the growth of soccer in the United States, describing them as "an emerging city and emerging game."
His passion for the city makes investing in Austin FC a personal choice, but there was also backing from his family that made it a project worth pursuing for McConaughey. He mentioned his wife and three children are soccer fans, and thinks of the club as something that could be part of his own legacy.
"Hopefully, (this will be) something to pass on after I'm gone to my kids and future generation. I saw Austin FC as a chance for (a) real legacy choice."