I moved back to Austin after a two-year stint in Steamboat Springs, Colorado with my wife and two dogs. While in Colorado, I was active in the coed soccer league and really enjoyed getting out and playing the beautiful game with friends (and family). Prior to living in Steamboat, I hadn't played "organized" soccer since I was a kid. Like a lot of people in the U.S., I caught the soccer bug following the 1994 World Cup, which was held in the U.S. The next World Cup in 1998 was, in my opinion, the best World Cup in my lifetime and only furthered my love for the game. When my wife and I were asked to join a team in Steamboat, how could we refuse? The league was very well run, and several of the businesses were involved by sponsoring teams.
Fast forward to my move back to Austin: I was asked to join a team to play keeper. At the time, I was very inexperienced with the soccer community in town. I had several great friends who played college soccer for St. Edwards University, and they needed a keeper, so it was a good fit. I found that the leagues in Austin are very well organized. They are all run by volunteers who give a large amount of their time during the week and on weekends to ensure that players have good facilities and good officiating each week. It is a team effort, and there are a lot of moving parts for each league.
Prior to 2008, the Austin Men's Soccer Association (AMSA), the Austin Coed Soccer Association (ACSA) and the Austin Women's Soccer Association (AWSL) played games at Zilker Park. It was great to head to the fields each weekend and see hundreds of players enjoying the game, with the Austin skyline in the background. It certainly looked different then. Since that time, Zilker is no longer available for league play since it is used primarily as a music venue rather than community park (I'll spare you my thoughts on this development for now), and the leagues have been moved to other fields around Travis County. However, drive by Zilker Park in the evenings, and you will see hundreds of players in pickup games just about every day.
Every League in Austin has experienced growth over the last several years as the soccer community in Austin has thrived. Combine this growth with that of fans of the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, the European Champions League, and, increasingly, Major League Soccer, and you will find soccer played and soccer watched just about every day somewhere around Austin.
If you've been considering trying your hand at soccer, now is the time to check it out! Here are some of the many options in the Austin area.
AMSA has over 140 teams made up of players from all backgrounds. Levels range from very competitive to recreational. There are seven open divisions: Premier, and Divisions 1-6. Premier is the top level of competition in the league, whereas Division 6 is reserved for new teams and teams that are looking for "recreational" play. AMSA also has several age-restricted divisions:- Over 30 Premier, Over 30 A-C, Over 40 Premier, and Over 40 A-B. All AMSA games are played on Sundays. Games are held at the Onion Creek Soccer Complex, North East Metropolitan Park, or East Metropolitan Park. If you are looking to play in a men's league, there is a spot for any level of play.
AWSL is a growing league. They have over 20 teams with three open divisions. They also have one age-restricted division, Over 30. AWSL plays their games on Sunday at North East Metropolitan Park, East Metropolitan Park, or South East Metropolitan Park.
ACSA is one of the largest coed soccer associations in the country. They, too, have levels for just about any player, with six open divisions. ACSA plays all of their league games on Saturday at Onion Creek Soccer Complex, North East Metropolitan Park, and East Metropolitan Park.
Leagues are getting started now and are always looking for players. What have you got to lose?
Hopefully I'll see you on the pitch!