Author's note: Below is one of my favorite pieces I've written. It comes from a cause that is near and dear to my heart, saving my beloved Columbus Crew.
Our investor-operator threatened to move the team to Austin, Texas if he didn't get a stadium built in Downtown Columbus. He pledged to take "parallel paths," but it's one way traffic towards the city of Austin. Along with some of fellow supporters, I've been fortunate to be welcomed onto the team and join this incredible cause.
I want to share this powerful video and prologue with you.
Let's get one thing perfectly clear, the people of Austin have never been our enemies. They are caught in the crossfire between a big private "single entity" system and devoted fans of Major League Soccer's original club.
For 21 years, fans in Columbus helped build a tremendous fan and supporter community that is both diverse and inclusive. We've been with the team through wins and losses, and ups and downs. We've cried together, and we've celebrated together. Lifelong friendships were formed, and fans have even fallen in love.
We've seen heroes from Kirk to Guillermo, leave a mark on our lives that can never be replaced. This is our team, our community, our culture, and our family.
Our city is under siege from our owner and Major League Soccer. They say we are failing on a number of "business metrics," but refuse to show us how to improve. They say our stadium is falling into disrepair, but is somehow capable of hosting a prestigious international tournament. We try to engage in meaningful dialogue, but it falls on deaf ears.
Something doesn't add up. They want us to hate you, but we simply won't do it.
Austin is a beautiful area full of rich culture and a diverse population. Like Columbus, it's a bustling college town with a devoted fanbase and passionate fans.
Austin deserves a soccer team, but not like this.