AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Austin Aztex™ announced today that it will launch a new franchise in the United Soccer Leagues beginning with the 2012 season. The previous franchise with the same name was founded in 2008, competing first in the USL Premier Development League (PDL), then moving to USL's top professional league in 2009 before moving to Orlando, Florida following the 2010 season.
The rebranded Aztex will once again begin by competing in the PDL in 2012, 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 is an energetic community that loves soccer," said Mayor Lee Leffingwell. "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."
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 served on the PDL Executive Committee and was recognized as the PDL Executive of the Year in 2009. The Aztex head coach and home stadium will be announced in the coming weeks.
"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."
Mr. 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. 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 logo features a lone star, 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.
SOURCE Austin Aztex