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“I signed on for a long-term project. I believe in this Club, I believe in the people who run this club and their vision. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have come here.”

So said Austin FC midfielder and Club Captain Alex Ring after the final match of the team’s inaugural season in 2021, and on Monday, Ring doubled down on that statement, signing a new contract which could keep him in Verde & Black through the end of the 2025 season.

The extended deal also showed Austin FC’s faith in Ring, making the Finn a Designated Player. In 2021, Ring was a mainstay in the Austin FC midfield, with his 2,708 minutes played across 31 starts the most among all outfield players at the Club last season.

“Alex has consistently been one of the best at his position in Major League Soccer over the past few seasons,” said Austin FC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna. “He is a terrific player with great character and leadership skills, and we are thrilled to keep him and his family in Austin as we continue to grow and improve.”

Ring filled up the stat sheet in 2021, scoring an impressive four goals and registering three assists in a role which saw him move from a deep-lying midfield position to further up the pitch, and even play center back at times when the team was in need.

He led the team in multiple key defensive categories, including duels (301), tackles (43) and interceptions (52), with his interceptions total ranking third-most among all Major League Soccer midfielders.

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Beyond his numbers though, Ring provided consistent leadership as Austin FC’s first-ever captain, and quickly endeared himself to the city and fanbase for his hard-working style of play. As the season wound down, and the team found itself further down the table than it had aimed for, Ring’s focus remained on the Club’s long-term ambitions.

“I was always calm,” Ring told The Striker Texas of reaching an agreement to extend his time in Austin. “I only had an option for this year, but throughout the year the club made it clear that they want me to stay. I made it clear that I want to stay.”

Now that Ring has signed on the dotted line to ensure he will remain in Verde & Black for the foreseeable future, he and the Club are aiming at a playoff berth in 2022.

“There's a lot of responsibility coming in here, I knew that,” Ring told MLSsoccer.com’s Charles Boehm. “I put pressure on myself, I put pressure on my teammates because you want to set certain standards and you play to win, you play to compete. I hope we'll get there and I'm very positive for the future.”

In addition to the midseason arrivals of Sebastián Driussi and Moussa Djitté, the Club brought in Ethan Finlay and Maxi Urruti during the offseason to bolster its attacking options. With an ever-improving squad, a devoted fanbase and now a captain committed for the future, Ring feels the ingredients for a successful season are all there.

“We have everything in place here and now it’s up to us to deliver,” Ring said.