Austin Aztex Confirm Move to Orlando, Florida
The Austin Aztex have confirmed a move to Orlando, Florida. The team released a press statement late this morning prior to the USL Orlando press conference this afternoon that will be streamed live via USL Live.com.
Early today USL announced a press conference scheduled for 2:00 pm EST where Steve Donner and Aztex Owner Phil Rawlins will be present along with the new coach of the team, believed to be Adrian Heath who recently signed a 3-year extension with the Aztex.
“We have been actively seeking to broaden the investment base for the Aztex for the past 12 months. It has proven extremely difficult given the economic climate,” Aztex President Phil Rawlins said. “Our first and overriding preference was always to keep the Aztex in Austin. But after we exhausted all our options this has not proven possible.”
“I know the new investors very well — they are football people and have been interested in working with us for some time. They like what we have achieved on the field and in the community,” he continued. “However, they made it very clear that their investment was contingent upon the team relocating, citing Austin’s lack of a soccer specific stadium with any corporate facilities, the inability to sell alcohol at games and the geographical isolation of the team within the new USL PRO League. In short, they didn’t see Central Texas as the right market for the team and their future plans.”
“Together with the City of Orlando, the new owners approached us about relocating the franchise to Central Florida. As much as we would have loved to keep the Aztex here, it’s proven impossible to find local business leaders who are willing to invest alongside us and who believed in this market.”
The team will relocate in time for the beginning of the 2011 season and will play in the new USL PRO League. Head Coach Adrian Heath and all the retained players will be making the move with the team.
“This is a very, very bittersweet decision for us. The fans in Austin have given us fantastic backing and fully deserve pro soccer. I know many of our fans and their families personally and they will know that our decision to relocate has been taken with a very heavy heart. I know many people will be bitterly disappointed but we have been left with no local options of backing.”
“I would like to thank all the loyal Aztex fans for their support over the past three years. However, the new investors made it very difficult for us to turn down their offer. They bring much needed additional capital, expertise and connections. They have plans to add another professional sports team to the franchise which will give us year round revenue potential. Their goal is to build up the soccer operations so that we can pursue an MLS franchise in the next few years.”