Welcome to what’s sure to be another riveting and likely dizzying foray into the world of Division Two North American soccer! Last Two-sday, Noob shared his life-altering experience talking with NASL Jacksonville Armada owner, business phenom, and probably semi-reincarnated British pop-rock musician Robert Palmer.
Today, we do a first. USL is actually the more dominant and financially viable of the two Division Two U.S. leagues. Noob has stuck with the NASL since this segment’s inception because we just don’t know how long it can survive in its present form, if at all. But we can stay away no longer.
Today Noob shares his chat with Bobby Epstein, owner of a soon to be expansion USL club in Austin, TX.
Noob: Mr. Epstein, hello and thank you for joining Noob for D-Two-sday Interviews.
Bobby Epstein: Is this third person thing you’re doing with yourself –
Noob: Yes! I refer to myself in the third person. I weary of confirming this every single week. Is it douche-y? Sure! Guilty as charged. But it’s not like I invented it!
Bobby Epstein: Ease up there, cowboy! I love this already. You’re clearly not some run-of-the-mill sports journalist.
Noob: I am Noob!!
Bobby Epstein: Goldurn right you are! Just stop accidentally typing “Booby” and then having to correct my first name.
Noob: Wait, how can you?… Oh ho ho. You’re a sly one. You get this. Detail me on the soccer situation down there, compadre.
Bobby Epstein: Pro soccer returns to Austin in 2019. The Austin Aztex played here in the mid-2000’s before getting relocated to Orlando.
Noob: Swamp city!
Bobby Epstein: I know, right? Building on marshland always struck me as idiocy, too. Aztex was reborn a few years ago, but their stadium got flooded and fans weren’t following them around to area high school stadiums. Now I’ve bought in, taken over, and we’re going to play D-2 soccer at my Circuit of the Americas multi-complex entertainment venue, in a soccer-specific stadium.
Noob: Too bad it looks like MLS club Columbus Crew is moving to Austin.
Bobby Epstein: That’s an understatement.
Noob: Noob is far from certain there’s room for an MLS team and your D-2 club in that market.
Bobby Epstein: Why do you think I’m so good-to-go for this wacky interview? I can afford the good peyote. I’m so high, I can almost understand why the former clubs here spelled Aztecs with that stupid X.
Noob: So if your plans stay on course, you won’t be the Aztex?
Bobby Epstein: I didn’t pump this kind of money into local soccer to prove I couldn’t spell or was 1990’s fake-hip.
Noob: MLS commissioner Don Garber has been quoted as saying they’re not usually in favor of relocation, but Columbus’ ownership has their blessing as they explore new stadium possibilities there and moving to Austin.
Bobby Epstein: “Welcome to the family, Bobby! Don’t worry, we’re so in bed with USL that NASL is suing us. Everything’s going to be great. By the way, thanks for building the stadium. We’re probably moving a Major League team to your area soon.”
Noob: Perhaps this is karmic punishment for only so far registering lame possible club names “Austin Atheltic” and “Austin FC”.
Bobby Epstein: Sometimes one has to go along to get along. American soccer clubs have emulated European club-naming conventions at least as often as not.
Noob: Doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.
Bobby Epstein: A fair point, yet let me turn the tables on you. What would you name the club.
Noob: FC SXSW.
Bobby Epstein: South by Southwest? Unique? Sure. But I’m invested in hosting the X-games, Grand Prix, other stuff.
Noob: The Sixth Street something or others.
Bobby Epstein: Been a while since you’ve been down here, eh? That neighborhood is gentrifying. The music here is hot as ever, but it’s not so centralized now, sadly.
Noob: It is to weep.
Booby Epstein: It is.HEY! I see that unedited “Booby”!
Noob: Things has gotten too sad. Sixth Street’s demise. A confusing and complex soccer scene in Austin. I had to switch things up.
Booby Epstein: That was an asshat move.
Noob: You’re goldurn right. Good luck in 2019.
There you have it! Another successful, educational, and yet still somehow stupefying safari into the world of North American Division Two soccer. That was intoxicating and sweet. Join us next Tuesday as Noob talks about goodness knows what with who the heck knows!