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Aztex Return To Austin

Aztex Return To Austin

Aztex Return To Austin, Club will compete in the USL PDL in 2012

Monday, September 26, 2011

TAMPA, Fla. – United Soccer Leagues announced today the return of the Austin Aztex, who will begin play in the 2012 USL Premier Development League (PDL) season. The previous franchise with the same name was founded in 2008, competing first in the PDL, then moving to USL’s top professional league in 2009 before moving to Orlando, Fla. following the 2010 season.

The rebranded Aztex will begin by competing in the PDL and build a foundation for a future professional team in the Austin market. The Austin metropolitan area is one of the 20 largest cities in the United States, and has a rapidly growing fan base. Austin’s rich soccer heritage includes the first Southwest Indoor Soccer League (SISL) expansion team, the Austin Sockadillos, which was formed by USL Founder Francisco Marcos prior to the 1987-88 season. Austin teams have competed in USL in all but two seasons since that inaugural year.

“As has been proven for many years, Austin is a fantastic soccer market with a loyal and fervent fan base,” USL President Tim Holt said. “We couldn’t be more excited that those deserving fans will once again have a team to support, and there’s no better person than David Markley to head up the new PDL franchise in Austin.”

The new franchise is owned and operated by ATX SOCCER LLC, chaired by David Markley, a founder and minority owner of the previous Aztex franchise. Mr. Markley is an Austin-based businessman who volunteered as director of operations in 2008 and general manager for the Aztex PDL team in 2009. He served on the PDL Executive Committee and was recognized as the PDL Executive of the Year for his efforts in 2009. The Aztex head coach and home stadium will be announced in the coming weeks.

"Austin is an energetic community that loves soccer," Mayor Lee Leffingwell said. "The Austin Aztex will draw eyes of Central Texas to the soccer field. I believe the Aztex are part of what makes Austin the greatest City in the United States."

Markley also conveyed his deep appreciation for Austin’s fans.

“I look forward to sitting among Austin’s fans again and cheering for our team. Several members of Austin’s soccer supporter groups have been instrumental in reorganizing the team and developing our new logo, which was designed by Ty Hudgins and Phil Davis.”

The new logo features the lone star which is representative of the state’s capital, and emphasizes the letters ATX, a commonly used acronym for the city.

The premier U23 men’s league in North America, the PDL featured 64 teams within four conferences across the United States and Canada in 2011. The Aztex PDL team will likely compete in the Mid-South Division, which includes league powers such as the 2011 PDL runner-up Laredo Heat.

The PDL provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their NCAA eligibility. In addition to college players, it has also grown into the premier North American league for players trying to earn a spot in the professional ranks. The PDL saw another large group of its alumni make the move into professional soccer recently with 37 of the 54 players selected in the 2011 Major League Soccer SuperDraft having previously played in the PDL. A remarkable eight of the first 10 selections in the draft had PDL experience.

“I am glad to help build a bridge where Austin’s talented athletes can pursue their dreams of playing professionally,” said Markley. “Twenty players who participated in our PDL team in 2008 and 2009 have gone on to play professionally, with two more poised to join their ranks. Austin da Luz and Matt Gold are currently competing in the MLS, and Miguel Gallardo was recently named USL PRO Goalkeeper of the Year. I’m excited to see which of Austin’s elite players will follow in their footsteps next.”