Austin Bold FC of the United Soccer League officially broke ground on a new stadium at Circuit of the Americas Wednesday morning.
Bold FC chairman Bobby Epstein, general manager Roberto Silva and Dell Valle ISD superintendent Kelly Crook were on hand for the ceremony. The team also announced the signing of Mexican midfielder Xavier Báez.
“It’s a sport I midfielderlove, it’s a sport I think the community is ready to embracesuperintendentand we’re going to give it a fair chance here,” Epstein said. “We started pursuing this more than three years ago. We think being part of the community means a lot of things. We pay property taxes here that go to supporting a lot of efforts including Del Valle school district and Austin Community College. We want to be good friends to the community.”
Epstein added that the idea to build a soccer stadium at COTA is not a new one as he purposefully had the track designed so a soccer field could be constructed at a later date.
Bold FC will begin play in USL, a Division II league in the U.S. Soccer pyramid, in the spring of 2019. Construction on the field next to the Austin360 Amphitheater began immediately after the groundbreaking ceremony.
The stadium will feature a covered grandstand and a chair back on every seat in the venue. The home and visitor locker rooms, as well as restrooms, will be located under the stands and the concession stands at COTA will be accessible.
“This an important moment for all of us and the City of Austin as it’s the first-ever soccer-specific soccer stadium,” Silva said. “We’re glad to be able to do this with private money and private land. We have worked very hard to put this together and it’s clear for us that it has paid off.”
Season tickets for the 20-game home schedule begin at $189 for seats on the end line and are advertised cost as much as $490 for certain areas on either sideline.
On the field, Báez joins Bold FC as its ninth signing in addition to head coach Marcelo Serrano.
He most recently spent three seasons with Necaxa, scoring one goal in 55 games. The defensive midfielder previously spent time with Cruz Azul, Toluca and Chivas, where he made 205 appearances and scored nine goals.
“We have a three-year deal with (Báez), which is something very uncommon in USL,” Silva said. “He’s going to bed with us three years so we have the opportunity to form a long-term relationship with the team and the community.”
Silva said the stadium is going to be high end and the quality on the field will, too.
While the stadium is budgeted at around $5 million, the roster is turning out to be a little more pricey than expected, according to Epstein and Silva.
“We’ve made a wonderful decision on how we’re going to go about this,” Epstein said. “It gets the fans close to the action, but we also wanted to surround the entire pitch so that we can create that energy and excitement. We modeled it after some European and South American soccer stadiums. We are a part of the community and I think we have an incredible workforce in southeast Austin that makes an incredible effort to give our visitors a great experience.”