Austin FC’s inaugural MLS campaign is over and now it’s time to talk offseason roster news and rumors as we look toward the fast-approaching 2022 MLS regular season kickoff on Feb. 26.
The Verde & Black built a full roster from the ground up in 2021, but in our eyes only a handful of positions are truly locked up for 2022—sorry, we don’t need a fifth goalkeeper—given the club’s lackluster finish in the 2021 MLS West Standings.
Josh Wolff has said in post-match press conferences that the club will most definitely be adding “personnel” this offseason. Unfortunately, he hasn’t whispered any names in our ear.
In order to understand the landscape of potential new player signings, we also need to know the Verde & Black’s current roster decisions, including players who are staying, those who are departing, and others who receive renegotiated contracts.
Lucky for you, we’re tracking all that offseason news right here.
Latest Austin FC Roster Updates
- Matt Besler, center back, announced his retirement from professional soccer on Nov. 10. While he will be missed on the backline, his departure frees up $650,000 in base salary.
- Austin FC players re-signed for 2022: Freddy Kleemann, Will Pulisic, and 2021 team captain Alex Ring, as of Nov. 30.
- Austin FC players not re-signed for 2022 ($ Base salary): Kekuta Manneh ($81K), Aaron Schoenfeld ($210K), Brady Scott ($115K), Aedan Stanley ($63.5K), Jared Stroud ($81K), and Ben Sweat ($250K), as of Nov. 30.
- Austin FC loan options not exercised for 2022: Manny Perez and Sebastian Berhalter, as of Nov. 30.
2022 Player Transfer Rumors
Carlos Vela / Los Angeles FC
Position: Winger Age: 32 Transfer Fee: $6.3 mil. (est.)
Not exactly an Austin FC rumor, but we’re going with it. Vela’s contract with LAFC has ended and the dynamic Mexican winger is apparently shopping for a new club. He seems to be leaning toward staying in MLS, so why not go to Austin? Sporting Director Claudio Reyna has publicly stated the club is looking for a winger as the Verde rebuild for the 2022 season.
As this would be a DP signing, Austin FC would have to trade or buy down the contract of one of their three current DPs, most likely Pochettino. Vela to ATX could be a nonstarter for Reyna due to three big factors: (a) salary, (b) age, and (c) fitness.