AUSTIN — Since Precourt Sports Ventures announced its interest in October 2017 to move its Major League Soccer team from Columbus, Ohio, to Austin, plenty of Austin soccer fans have expressed their excitement.
But there's a community effort in Columbus to keep Columbus Crew SC where it's based.
"The Columbus Crew is our entire lives. And the thought of someone trying to take it from us ... it doesn't feel like real life," Save the Crew spokesperson Morgan Hughes told KVUE.
Save the Crew, which is based in Columbus, is a growing movement to, like its title suggests, "save the crew." The movement has its own website and a popular hashtag, #SaveTheCrew.
"The Crew is our community. It's not just a team to us. It's our entire lives," Hughes said. "It's how we meet our significant others, where we bring our kids after they're born to meet their family."
If Precourt Sports Ventures has its way, the team could be moving to Austin as soon as next year, according to reports. The goal right now is to find a location for a stadium.
Austin's city council has directed the city manager to conduct an analysis to determine whether McKalla Place near The Domain is a good fit for a MLS stadium.
But the deal to bring the Crew to Austin doesn't appear to be done just yet.
Ohio's attorney general has also moved to "save the crew" by filing a lawsuit against MLS and Precourt Sports Ventures, claiming the team's owner violated a state law that requires teams to give a six months' notice of its intention to move and give the city or its people an opportunity to buy the team.
"I mean, that's the dream scenario. We've never had that. We've always had absentee, out-of-town owners that have never been fully invested in this team," Hughes said.
Despite what happens next, however, Hughes said Austin and Columbus are not enemies.
"There's a shortage of good soccer communities in the United States, and we need all of them," he said. "Austin, Columbus, and everywhere in between."
Austin's city manager has until June 1 to complete his findings about McKalla Place as a possible site for a Major League Soccer stadium.