Austin FC hires ex-U.S. player Wolff as coach

MLS expansion side Austin FC has hired former United States international Josh Wolff as its first coach, the club announced on Tuesday.

"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 said in a team statement. "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, 42, is an assistant under manager Gregg Berhalter with the U.S. national team. He worked with Austin FC chairman Anthony Precourt in a similar role with Columbus Crew SC, again under Berhalter, from 2014-18.

"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 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."

Austin will join MLS as the league's 27th franchise in 2021 and Wolff will stay on with the USMNT through the end of the year.

"I'm thrilled for both Josh and Austin FC. His continual development as a coach, hard work, and dedication to his craft has certainly earned him this opportunity," Berhalter said. "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."

Berhalter added: "He has made a great contribution to the foundation of the National Team at the start of this new cycle and we look forward to working with him through the remainder of the year."

Wolff made 52 appearances for the U.S. between 1999 and 2008, scoring nine times. He played in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups amid a pro career that had stops with the Chicago Fire and Kansas City Wizards as well as 1860 Munich.