The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

Q2 Gives Back to Community

From its home stadium Q2 to the food and culture, for the Austinites featured, the Austin Football Club (Austin FC) team has brought a lot to the city of Austin. Austin FC hopes to establish and support a flourishing community in Austin for all, one kick at a time. 

Established in 2018, Austin FC played its first Major League Soccer (MLS) season in 2021, making it Austin’s first professional sports league team. According to MLS’ National Writer, Charles Boehm, the club is known for its multiple supporters and devoted fanbase, exemplified best by the 36 home games sold out since their debut, the longest active streak in the MLS.

Eamon Griffin is a sophomore at LASA and a passionate Verde fan, the name given to Austin FC’s supporters. For Griffin, the team has brought much joy, spirit, and a lot of apparel. 

“I’ve been playing soccer since I was little, so when they founded the team it was really exciting for me to go to the games,” Griffin said. “The atmosphere is really energetic. I love to put on the gear for every game and rep the apparel. I have many, many hats.”

Griffin appreciates the diversity of local food the stadium highlights, which has opened the door to new undiscovered spots for him. For Griffin, the stadium cuisine is a reflection of the city’s vibrant, rich culinary culture deserving of a larger audience.

“The way that they incorporated local restaurants into the actual stadium is super cool,” Griffin said. “It lets you get a taste for the local cuisines around the city and discover new places, as well as brings popularity to businesses that might not get that exposure in that area.”

Not only does Q2 expose Austin’s culture to a larger audience, it also helps to bring its Austinite fans together more. The team also has united the city and is a great bonding experience for families such as Griffin’s.

“It’s a way for me and my dad to bond because we both love soccer, so we usually go to the games together,” Griffin said. “Generally my family bonds through games as well. Even though my sister and mom don’t go much, it’s still a great way to have fun with your family and spend time with them.”

4ATX is an Austin FC branch foundation that aims to use soccer to help tie communities together through education. Wesley Davidson, a Senior Program Manager at 4ATX, describes the goals that he and the foundation have for Austin communities.

“[W]e use the power of soccer to help communities thrive socially, emotionally, and physically,” Davidson said. “Our vision is really to make an accessible, healthy, and unified Central Texas community, harnessing soccer as the power to do that.”

Education is the primary goal of the foundation. Many underprivileged students can get behind in schoolwork, so 4ATX takes it upon itself to use soccer as a means to assist the underprivileged youth of Austin with certain subjects through Verde Leaders, its youth development program.

“We really aim to use the soccer field as the classroom for Verde Leaders,” Davidson said. “And so, through a super unique curriculum, we offer free soccer programming at five middle schools through Verde Leaders, and it combines soccer with social-emotional learning, mindfulness practices, and restorative justice.” 

4ATX also seeks to supply the underprivileged and those who are in need with game equipment and events to provide a safe soccer environment for young students. According to Davidson, through community enrichment programs, 4ATX brings players and students alike together by teaching them the beautiful game.

“There are one-day events, pop-up clinics, you know, like 100 to 150 students are out there,” Davidson said. “We have Austin FC players that come and appear to take part in each of those. So really cool events to once again get students, elementary school students, playing and also give them those touch points with Austin FC to meet players and feel connected to the club.”

According to Davidson, as a nonprofit organization, 4ATX uses all of its funds for the good of the Austin communities. Through private donations from partners such as Piper and SolarWinds, they are able to receive benefits such as sponsorships for the chapters of their Verde Leaders program.

As a registered 501c3 organization, we raise all of our own funds,” Davidson said. “We have an amazing pool of donors and corporate partners that help make our programs possible.”

According to Davidson, 4ATX plans to expand its efforts further than just inner Austin communities to better support those who can’t afford the city’s living expenses. 4ATX seeks to grow alongside the city of Austin and its rising prices.

“We’re right now in the midst of strategic planning and thinking about the future with the backdrop of a changing landscape in Austin,” Davidson said. “The landscape of Austin is constantly changing, with increased costs of living and families often being forced further outside of Austin… We’re in a constant state of asking how we can better serve and impact Austin, and that’s always gonna be the case.”

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