“La Copita” Ushers in New Rivalry Between Austin and San Antonio
By Andrés Garcia
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas soccer fans are gearing up for the inaugural matchup between Austin FC and San Antonio FC.
The game will take place April 1 as part of “La Copita,” a preseason tournament consisting of several Division 1 and 2 professional soccer clubs from all over Texas. San Antonio FC, formerly the San Antonio Scorpions, has played in Division 2 leagues since the club’s formation in 2012.
Community organizers in San Antonio have lobbied for a Division 1 MLS team for over a decade, said John Hope, the president of SAFC’s supporter group The Crocketteers.
In 2019, when the MLS announced Austin FC as part of the league’s expansion, resentment for Austin began to deepen within Alamo City. The game between the rival cities is emblematic of deep and historic contentions between Austin and San Antonio.
“There are a lot of San Antonians who hope [Austin FC] finish dead last,” Hope said.
He said that however upset he is by the MLS’s decision to overlook San Antonio in 2019, it is only rational to wish Austin FC a fruitful debut season.
“I believe that, in order for San Antonio to one day have an MLS franchise, Austin has to be successful,” Hope said.
While many San Antonians were surprised by the MLS’s decision to choose Austin as the destination for the league’s newest franchise, members of the Austin soccer community felt the decision was a long time coming.
Josh Jackson, a member of Austin FC supporters club Los Verdes ATX, said soccer fans in the city showed their dedication on the 2018 World Cup– when thousands of soccer fans gathered on the Long Center’s front lawn to watch their favorite international super-teams collide.
“I honestly think Austin is tailor-made for professional soccer,” Jackson said.
He shrugged off the playful anti-Austin sentiments and insisted that a healthy rivalry is not just possible but likely.
“I think outside of the 90 minutes, before and after, everyone’s going to have a nice little party,” Jackson said.
Hope agreed the rivalry will be a net positive for both cities.
“It’s going to be fantastic. It will rejuvenate what’s going on in San Antonio and it’s going to be [a game] that we look forward to every single year,” said Hope.
The April 10 game will not be open for attendance due to COVID-19 protocols. Although there will not be a video stream, SAFC’s social media team tweets updates during games.