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Austin FC president talks jersey reveal, fan-friendly rule changes ahead of 2024 season


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The 2024 Major League Soccer season is coming up, and Austin FC president Andy Loughnane joined KXAN sports director Roger Wallace to talk about a couple of new rules and the team’s upcoming jersey release.

Loughnane said missing the playoffs last season “stings a little bit,” but he said there wasn’t any time to rest to prepare for what he hopes is a big rebound in 2024. One of the big events he said the club prepared for in the offseason was the reveal of a new uniform for away matches. Loughnane explained how the jersey’s design ties in different parts of Austin and its history.

What appears to be Austin FC's new jersey was on display at the Adidas outlet store in San Marcos on Feb. 8, a week ahead of its scheduled reveal by the club. (Photo courtesy of Jose Becerra)
What appears to be Austin FC’s new jersey was on display at the Adidas outlet store in San Marcos on Feb. 8, a week ahead of its scheduled reveal by the club. (Photo courtesy of Jose Becerra)

“The design draws inspiration from something that’s sort of harkened back to yesterday, from a fashion perspective and a cultural perspective,” he said. “We want to pay homage to an Austin institution that helped establish Austin as a place where its reputation is creatively vibrant and having an open-mindedness to always welcome.”

He said the new jersey is a celebration of “musical inspiration that had its heyday back in the 70s.” The official reveal is set for Feb. 15, Loughnane said.

VERDE LIGHTS: It’s back for another season! Tune in at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturdays on The CW Austin starting Feb. 24

It appears, however, that the jersey has been leaked to the public in a couple of ways. A sharp-eyed viewer sent KXAN a photo of what appears to be the new jersey on display Feb. 8 at the Adidas outlet store in San Marcos.

Electronic Arts, the California-based company with a campus in Austin that produces the wildly popular soccer video game EA Sports FC 24 (formerly the FIFA game series), not only leaked Austin’s new jersey but also for several other MLS teams. In an update to the game’s Ultimate Team mode, new jerseys for 16 teams were published prematurely the website GOAL.com reported in late January.

MLS rule changes

Loughnane also addressed rule changes that MLS refers to as “competitive initiatives.” One of the changes is to help prevent time wasting by feinting injuries. If a player who is suspected to have an injury is on the field for more than 15 seconds, play will be stopped to allow the medical crew to come on the field to treat the player. Once the player is taken off the field, they can’t return for at least two minutes while being treated, leaving the team playing with 10.

“It’s a pretty important rule change, and MLS is on the forefront of this,” Loughnane said. “I think this will drastically reduce the number of moments where players are excessively on the ground.”

Exceptions to the rule include suspected head injuries, injuries to goalkeepers, fouls that lead to bookings or “serious medical events,” according to MLS.

Players coming off the field for substitutions aren’t allowed to dilly-dally anymore, either. That’s another sneaky way to salt time away late in a match, and MLS is trying to put a stop to it.

There’s now a 10-second timer for the substituted player to get off the field. Loughnane said they don’t have to go directly the the team’s bench, they just have to be outside the boundaries in some form. If the player isn’t off the field in time, the incoming player will be held for a minute before entering the match, leaving the team down a player.

“It’s another way to try to create something a little more fan-friendly,” Loughnane said.

Both rules were used in MLS NEXT Pro matches last year. The league reported that 99.7% of substitutions happened in 10 seconds or less.

Tired of not knowing how much time is left following added time? Wonder, no longer. Instead of stopping the stadium clock at 45:00 and 90:00, MLS will now keep the clocks going for fans after the fourth official displays how much added time there will be.

Austin FC is currently in the middle of its preseason schedule at the Coachella Valley Invitational in Indio, California. They’ll take on the LA Galaxy at noon CT on Sunday and it will be streamed on austinfc.com.


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