In 1993 he delivered an ad-libbed line – “Alright, alright, alright!” – who would stay with him throughout his career and will now feature prominently in a new venture he could never have imagined when he was cast as David Wooderson in the coming-of-age movie adult, “Dazed and Confused.”
McConaughey, 51, is now part owner of Austin FC – the new Major League Soccer franchise – and ahead of the new season, Austin fans chant these words to the tune of “Ole, ole, ole!
McConaughey is a well-known football fan, that is, American football.
He spoke passionately about his love for the Washington football team in the NFL and was often seen on the sidelines of the Texas Longhorns, his varsity alma mater team in his native Austin.
“I played football for 12 years when I was young,” he said, explaining his love for both sports. “I went to a Tampa Bay Rowdies camp one summer. I’ve never been so good. I led the league with red cards, but it’s a longer story! interest, but it wasn’t my game like it wasn’t. It wasn’t the quintessential American game at the time. “
‘He is the great peacemaker’
Everything changed when he met his Brazilian wife, Camila Alves
“You find the woman of your life and she’s from Brazil. Woo-hoo! You better know that other football brand, Mr. McConaughey!”
He describes his marriage to a fan of the five-time World Cup winners as “football injected in my blood”, adding that their three children have now made his passion for football even stronger.
“As we traveled the world, we discovered and loved football because it’s the only game they can play anywhere: in the city, in the countryside, from New York to Timbuktu.”
He glances outside his yard window and laughs: “I have two goals and I can see nine soccer balls, and there is my son trying to do reverse kicks. for the purpose, with himself! “
McConaughey’s work has taken him all over the world and his travels have shown him the global appeal of football.
“Reykjavik, Cape Town, Cleveland, New York, Malibu, Warsaw. There’s a soccer ball there. You can go see anyone. You don’t have to introduce yourself or even say your name. You just have to step outside and the ball will come to you. He is the great peacemaker. I call the soccer ball the greatest invitation in the world. “
This year, the liberal, artistic and multicultural city of Austin will join the global conversation.
The state capital of Texas has never hosted a professional major league sports team, and the demand for season tickets quickly outstripped supply – 15,500 have already been sold, with another 14,000 fans on the list. ‘waiting.
McConaughey isn’t just a co-owner of his hometown club; he is also its Minister of Culture, surely a unique title in the world of professional sport.
Growing his fingers to make the point, McConaughey explains the diverse nature of the city and how he hopes their arrival as the 27th MLS team could change the face of the game in North America.
Austin already had a fever for football. I would say that the Austin FC snapshot can represent the international game – look and feel, culture, fan experience – he is fortunate enough to represent him more than any other team. . in MLS. “
He speaks optimistically about the game’s continued growth in the United States, which will host the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico, and which increasingly exports talent overseas.
“We are finally starting to develop products in the field that correspond to the fever we had in the stands. We are not yet at the international level, but we are on our way.
“When it has become the sport of choice for young people … it becomes ingrained in our culture.”
He adds that if football is not “the new sport in America, it is” the sport of the new America “.
For a man who has made a highly successful career out of script storytelling, McConaughey finds the appeal of spontaneous sports narratives irresistible.
“It writes itself, live, in real time. And that’s the beauty of the sport. That’s why we’re watching, because you don’t know!”
He could be talking about Austin FC’s first game of the new season against LAFC on Saturday, his beloved Longhorns, or even something much closer to home.
“My son’s little league [baseball] or junior football game on a Saturday morning which turns out to be an epic battle, it was 8-7 by the end. And I just thought I was going to attend a junior football game! “
Asked to compare the two forms of entertainment with which he is so familiar, he concludes that sport is a winner. “The prescribed script of how this will play out is already in second place because it was not live.”
McConaughey enters the world of professional sports at a time in history where he is increasingly politicized, and also at a time when he plans to step into politics and run for governor of Texas.
“You are not defined as being an athlete. It would be like someone saying, ‘Matthew, you shouldn’t be considering anything political because you are an actor and a storyteller.'”
Athletes like McConaughey’s friend, Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton, use his platform to campaign for social justice and racial equality; The same goes for stars like LeBron James of the NBA and four-time major tennis champion Naomi Osaka.
In 2019, MLS named Alejandro Bedoya Player of the Week after grabbing a microphone on the pitch and shouting, “Congress, end gun violence now!”
Meanwhile, as U.S. business begins to take a stand on the efforts of dozens of states to suppress the vote, Major League Baseball recently withdrew its Georgia state all-star game.
“Is there a line?” McConaughey wonders. “I don’t know if there is a line. I would just say that if you want to boycott, relocate, or protest, know your reasons, expand on them, and evolve those reasons along the way. No one is bound by his vocation to be excluded from having a political vision. “
Unfortunately, the ubiquitous nature of social media in modern society means that anyone’s opinion can now be fed directly into your newsfeed, and many athletes have recently come under the brunt of some very toxic and even abuse. racist.
“We as humanity, as people, have to get this under control,” says McConaughey. “Our young people don’t know, so many adults don’t even understand, that what you ask is going to outlive you.
“It’s part of your CV, who you are for the rest of your life and after you leave!”
So how would he react if an Austin player found himself a victim of such abuse?
He says it would be important to stress that the abuse is not necessarily personal.
“A lot of times that person is spitting up. That person has their own problem; that’s the first thing I would say to a player. Don’t let their dirty laundry get you dirty. Don’t take it personally, even if you do. seems personal. “
Maybe he would even recommend trying to find the abuser, educating him face to face.
“Sport is a great example of fighting racism, a great example of people coming together and highlighting differences. Let’s sit and chat, not on social media where he or she can hide.
For all of his accomplishments, McConaughey said the one thing he ever wanted to be was a father. In his autobiography “Greenlights”, he says he knew this when he was only eight years old.
Her three children come back often during the conversation in this interview and it is clear that sport plays a big role in their relationship.
Many parents will identify with early departures every weekend to bring their offspring to games and tournaments.
“You just raped your mom and dad on Friday night, buddy!” he quips waking up to a 7am game, but quickly points out that the shared life lessons are worth it.
“As a father, it’s almost a better day to talk to your son after the heartbreaking loss than to talk about the championship. ‘Did you give all your effort? You’re going to find resistance in this world, people. want what you have. You’re going to have to work with others to get what you want. ‘”
Now that Austin FC is up and running, its weekends will be even fuller. Children will pull it in one direction, professionals in another. And it will be perfectly “Alright, alright, alright!”
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