The Columbus Crew SC today announced an affiliate partnership with the Austin Aztex of the USL PRO for 2015. The deal will allow Crew SC to send players from their roster to the Aztex, who will compete in their first USL PRO season in 2015.
"We are very excited about starting a relationship with Austin Aztex to assist our player development efforts," Columbus Crew SC sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter told TheCrew.com.
"After a series of meetings with the club, we were impressed with the energy, resources and commitment of their ownership group and new technical staff and feel the club will provide a good environment to continue the development of some of our younger professionals."
The Aztex were founded in 2011 and began their initial year of play in 2012 in the USL Premier Development League. Over their time at that level, the club went a combined 31-7-6 and appeared in the championship game each season, winning the title in 2013. Last June, it was announced they would be one of 10 expansion teams for USL PRO, taking the league to 24 teams for 2015.
After Major League Soccer announced last year that each of their clubs must have an affiliate, whether their own second team or another team, Crew SC partnered with the then Dayton Dutch Lions for 2014. The deal concluded following the season and was not renewed. Austin will play a similar role for the Black and Gold in the upcoming season, allowing players to get playing time when they likely wouldn't with the parent club.