The Austin Aztex will go dark in 2016, on the field at least.
USL announced on Friday that it had granted permission for the Austin Aztex to not participate in the 2016 season due to the unavailability of a stadium that meets league standards and unforeseen delays in the development of a soccer-specific stadium in Austin. The Aztex will resume play in the 2017 season.
Austin was initially granted a one-year waiver by the USL to allow the club to secure a soccer-specific stadium by the end of its first season. The club suffered a setback in that process this season when its home stadium – House Park – was damaged by flooding on Memorial Day weekend.
“The USL is committed to having its clubs play in quality facilities that meet or exceed U.S. Soccer Federation standards and understands the challenges the Austin Aztex have faced this year,” USL President Jake Edwards said in a statement. “We are honoring Austin’s request for the necessary time to construct a soccer-specific stadium of its own for the 2017 season that the club, its fans and the entire Austin community will be proud of. While we realize this isn’t the desired short-term outcome for the club and its fans, it is necessary to ensure the club’s success for years to come.”
USL featured 24 clubs in 2015, including seven owned and operated by MLS clubs, and recently announced the additions of Lehigh Valley (Philadelphia Union), FC Cincinnati and Rio Grande Valley FC (Houston Dynamo) for the 2016 season. Orlando City announced they intend to field a team somewhere in central Florida in 2016. Reno (Nevada) will join in 2017.