Austin FC doesn't begin play in MLS until 2021, but it already has its first head coach in tow.
The expansion club has tabbed U.S. men's national team assistant Josh Wolff to become its manager, announcing the hire at an event on Tuesday. The job will be Wolff's first as a head coach after assistant stints with D.C. United, the Columbus Crew and the national team. He previously worked under Austin FC owner Anthony Precourt while both were in Columbus.
“Josh Wolff is a rising star in the coaching ranks of our league, and on behalf of Austin FC we are thrilled to have secured a head coach with Josh’s exceptional character and soccer acumen to lead our club,” Precourt said in a statement. "Josh’s track record as a player and coach have prepared him for this day. ... With his player-first mentality, deep understanding of MLS, along with his extensive scouting of Concacaf teams and players, and experience at both the club and USMNT level, Josh was in high demand and we are delighted to have secured his services as Austin FC’s first ever head coach.”
Wolff, who reportedly drew interest from the Colorado Rapids earlier this year as well, will remain with U.S. Soccer through the end of the year, the federation said, while the search for his replacement will be carried out while he's still aboard. The U.S., fresh off a runner-up finish in the Gold Cup, will play its first Nations League matchups this fall and already has a friendly vs. Gold Cup winner and chief rival Mexico on the calendar for September.
“I’m thrilled for both Josh and Austin FC," U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter said in a U.S. Soccer statement. "His continual development as a coach, hard work, and dedication to his craft has certainly earned him this opportunity. The attention to detail and meticulous preparation are qualities that will help him be successful on and off the field. He will be a great asset to Austin FC and their soccer community, and we all wish him the best of luck.”
Wolff was a former standout as a player before retiring in 2012. He scored nine goals in 52 caps as a member of the national team, making the 2002 and 2006 World Cup rosters. His Austin side will enter MLS as the league's 27th team, following the 2020 arrivals of Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC. Inter Miami has yet to hire its manager or sign a single player, while Nashville SC will maintain its current manager in USL, Gary Smith, while already announcing the MLS signings of forwards Daniel Rios and Cameron Lancaster, winger David Accam and midfielder Derrick Jones.