AUSTIN, Tx. — Longtime MLS player and assistant coach Josh Wolff was named Austin FC’s first head coach at a press conference in Austin Tuesday. The current U.S. men’s national team assistant coach will take the helm of the franchise as it prepares to field a team in 2021.
Wolff, who has most recently worked on both the Columbus Crew and U.S. Soccer coaching staffs as an assistant under Gregg Berhalter, was brought in by Austin FC CEO Anthony Precourt to fit a vision he has for the new team.
“We wanted a continuity in our club, we have a culture that we’re developing, and there’s a style of play we envision, an attractive, attacking, possession-oriented soccer,” Precourt said. “Josh has been refining his game model, and his eye for talent to fit that style of play for seven years now, and beyond that as a player.”
Club president Andy Loughnane also emphasized Wolff being a known quantity from their time together with the Crew was important, though his current role with the USMNT also played a factor.
“Joshua’s experience, playing abroad and playing in MLS, certainly allows him to understand the intricacies of our league,” Loughnane said. “His technical staff experience helped him learn the intricacies of player acquisition and player development. Those are all crucial to launching the club and getting us off to the right start. In his current role with the U.S. Men’s National Team now, he’s chiefly scouting Concacaf. So as it relates to our stated mission of exploring talent inside of Latin America, he’s focused on the region right now, full time … so I think he comes with the perfect set of qualifications. This is a man who’s been in high demand, he’s had other opportunities, and we’re very thankful and grateful to have him.”
“There were a lot of things that attracted me about Austin,” Wolff said at the press conference. “First and foremost, for me, it was about coming to Austin. The opportunities were there with other clubs, but for me, it was about Austin. That was the only job I wanted. That was the head coaching job that I went after. And I’m excited that I was given the opportunity by Anthony and Andy going forward.”
He echoed Precourt and Loughnane in noting he’ll be looking to build a culture with the new team.
“It’s about building the right environment,” he noted. “We understand this will take time. But there will be urgency on our part to put the right people in place, the right things in place, so there’s not just short-term success, but building sustainable, repeatable success.”
According to Precourt, Austin FC is on the hunt for what he termed a “sporting director” who will coordinate with Wolff on player scouting and hiring. While they don’t plan to sign players until 2020, Precourt said it was important to bring Wolff in to help attract prospective players to the new team.
Wolff and Precourt first worked together in 2013, when Wolff became a member of Berhalter’s Columbus Crew staff. Wolff left the Crew after the 2018 season to join Berhalter in coaching the USMNT. He will continue in his current role through November, including preparing the team for an upcoming friendly in September against the Mexican team that defeated the USMNT in the Concacaf Gold Cup final.
Wolff is a 14-year veteran who began his playing career with the then-expansion Chicago Fire in 1998; he also played with the then-Kansas City Wizards and 1860 Munich before finishing his playing career and starting his coaching career with D.C. United. Earlier this month, Wolff was honored by Sporting Kansas City as the latest member of its Sporting Legends hall of honor.