Local soccer franchise the Austin Aztex will not play in the United Soccer League 2016 season, the team announced today. The League granted the club a one-year waiver as they continue to try to pin down a stadium in which to play.
"This decision did not come lightly, but it was made out of necessity as we spend the next year working with all interested parties in our quest for a soccer friendly venue in which professional soccer in Austin can thrive," reads an official statement from the club. The team formerly played at House Park, but it was damaged in the flooding earlier this year.
The team then had to focus their attention on finding a venue where they could play out the rest of the 2015 season, rather than on finding a more permanent stadium that meets USL standards, the statement says. They were able to play at Austin ISD and Round Rock ISD facilities, but that's not "economically viable" going forward, they say.
In the coming year, the Aztex say they're committed to securing a game venue so they can return in 2017:
"We will be working hard to ensure the long-term viability of professional soccer in the city of Austin. We will be back in full force and committed to returning for the 2017 season."
The Aztex expressed appreciation for their fans and ticket holders who stuck with them during this past tumultuous season.
"You followed us after a natural disaster destroyed our home, and you were with us until the very last kick of the season."
That last kick secured a 3-2 win for the club against the Vancouver Whitecaps in March. The Aztex, who were reborn in 2011 after the original team moved to Florida, ended their 2015 season with a 10-15-3 record.
The team tweeted earlier a link to the full official statement:
USL Announcement: Austin Aztex Will Not Participate in 2016 http://t.co/j3TPxHkwQu
— Austin Aztex (@AustinAztex) October 2, 2015