Major League Soccer expansion club Austin FC made it official Tuesday, announcing Parkview grad Josh Wolff as its first head coach.
Wolff, 42, is currently an assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s National Team. He will continue that role through the end of 2019 before focusing on Austin FC, which joins MLS in 2021.
“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,” Austin FC chairman and CEO Anthony Precourt in a statement. “Josh’s track record as a player and coach have prepared him for this day. When we previously worked closely together, his teams qualified for the playoffs four out of five years, played in two of the past four Eastern Conference Finals and won an Eastern Conference Championship in 2015 with an attractive, attacking, possession-oriented playing style. This makes Josh the right individual to lead Austin FC to even greater success."
Wolff previously worked in MLS from 2014-18 as an assistant for the Columbus Crew and head coach Gregg Berhalter, now head coach of the U.S. National Team. His first MLS coaching job came as an assistant with D.C. United.
He now takes over a new Austin FC club that is part of an MLS expansion that begins in 2020, when Inter Miami and Nashville SC join the league.
“It is a tremendous honor to join Austin FC and begin the process of building Austin’s team into a world class club for all of Austin to enjoy," Wolff told MLSSoccer.com. "My family and I want to thank Anthony Precourt for granting us this amazing opportunity to be a part of this incredible city and this extraordinary undertaking."
Wolff is the most accomplished soccer player in Gwinnett history and a past inductee into the Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame. He followed his Parkview days with college soccer at South Carolina, then a long MLS and U.S. National Team career.
He played for the Chicago Fire, Kansas City Wizards and D.C. United, along with a stint playing for 1860 Munich in Germany. He was a forward for the U.S. National Team from 1999-2008, playing for the 2002 and 2006 World Cup teams, as well as for the 2000 Olympic team. He finished his USMNT career with 52 caps.
He rekindled his USWNT ties in January, when Berhalter hired him as assistant. In that role, his duties include teaching and executing the team’s style of play, analyzing training sessions and matches, evaluating the U.S. player pool domestically and internationally and leading the USMNT’s scouting efforts of opponents from the CONCACAF region.
“I’m thrilled for both Josh and Austin FC," Berhalter said in a statement via U.S. Soccer. "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."
Austin FC has drummed up major interest in Texas through the early stages of ticket sales. As of mid-June, the club had secured deposits on more than 30,000 seats for its inaugural season.
“I know that Austin has a true love of soccer, and it is the opportunity of a lifetime to be part of the first ever major league team of any kind in the capital of Texas,” Wolff said “Our stated ambition is to establish ourselves quickly within MLS as a vibrant, attacking side and we want to reflect the diverse, competitive and passionate makeup of our club’s home, both on and off the field. We look forward to integrating within Austin at the completion of my current U.S. Men’s National Team duties, to begin the process of building our team in advance of the 2021 season.”