I’ve noticed that a lot of y’all didn’t start following major league soccer (MLS) until Austin FC began to play in 2021. So I thought it might be helpful for this old head to provide some context about what has transpired this offseason in regard to player contracts.
All of us who are Verde Locos are happy for obvious reasons because all three of Austin’s biggest fan favorites—Sebastián Driussi, Diego Fagundez, and Brad Stuver—got contract extensions heading into the 2023 season.
- Sebastián Driussi: three guaranteed years through the end of the 2025 season, with an option for the 2026 season.
- Diego Fagundez: three guaranteed years through the end of the 2025 season, with an option for the 2026 season.
- Brad Stuver: three guaranteed years through the end of the 2025 season, with an option for the 2026 season.
But the things I’m going to write here don’t apply to Stuver’s extension, because goalkeepers are just different! Ha!
And though we won’t know the dollar amounts of their contracts until the MLSPA releases those figures later this year, there is still something that needs to be understood and appreciated about these recent contract agreements—especially Diego and Sebastian’s.
It’s conventional wisdom that an outfield (non-goalkeeper) will reach their prime between 26 and 28 years of age. This is when the legs are still in decent shape, their technical skills have fully developed, and their “soccer IQ” is really mature.
By that logic, you could say that from age 15 to 25 is when a player is really putting together their portfolio of what they can accomplish on the pitch, and what their worth is to a team. In other words, if they’ve been successful once they reach that 26 to 28 age range, it should be their big chance to cash in on the strength of their soccer resume.
This is especially important because teams are less likely to invest heavily in a player once they pass the “wrong side of 30.”
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So, you can probably see where I’m going with this…
Whatever amounts Diego and Driussi signed for, it was enough for them to feel good about committing what should be the best years of their career, to our city and club.
This is huge!
There were no training camp hold outs, or drama of any sort—just smiles!
Good vibes and respect for the hard-working players creates the right kind of culture within the club.
“THANK YOU!” should be shouted from the rooftops to our entire ownership group for what they’ve been willing to invest in order to ensure Austin FC’s success on the pitch.
Beyond the dollars on those contract papers that D&D signed, the subtext of their words was that they don’t believe that giving the best years of their sporting careers to Austin will be in vain. These players believe in the philosophy of Coach Wolff, and they can see themselves hoisting trophies here on the Q2 grass.
What these two young soccer studs have done is monumental, and it’s so encouraging to me that they would, in the words of Driussi, “do it ten times over”.
It tells us just how good of a job Austin FC is doing at growing a legend indeed.