Coyotes GM says Festival Grounds soccer venue would bring thirsty and hungry fans Downtown. Game tonight at 7:30, Woodson Field.
The Temple Coyotes FC hosts Irving tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Woodson Field. Wear Navy blue and get tickets for $5 each. Coyotes owner/general manager Manuel Velasquez said relocating the National Premier Soccer League team to the new MLK Festival Grounds in Downtown Temple would help fill restaurants and bars on game nights. Velasquez holds up a fan scarf Friday night in front of Fire Base Brewing Co. David Stone photo
DAVID STONE | June 11, 2022
A Temple-based soccer club is catching on with local sports fans and the team’s owner hopes to play a big role in the future of Downtown.
Manuel Velasquez, the owner of two food trucks and a Colombian food delivery service at Fort Hood, started Coyotes FC in 2018 as part of the United Premier Soccer League.
“We were just testing the waters back then, and we had a great reception from businesses, players and coaches,” Velasquez said. “We wanted to compete at a higher level so we moved to the National Premier Soccer League in 2020, just in time for COVID.”
“We weren’t able to have any games or clinics back then because of the pandemic, and honestly we were close to going out of business. We played in 2021 but for the most part people stayed away. It was a tough couple years, but we stuck with it.”
Then came 2022, and the fans.
“There’s a lot of potential for soccer in Bell County,” he said. “There are great players and great coaches right here.”
Velasquez, a native of Bogota, Colombia, came to the United States in 2010 and settled in New York. As a 20 year old, he joined the Army, was assigned to Fort Hood, and fell in love with Texas.
“I saw a lot of opportunities in this area,” he said. “When I got out of the Army, I decided to start selling traditional Colombian foods here. I opened a food truck, then another, and now I have a delivery service as well.”
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The Coyotes play home games at Woodson Field, home of the Temple High soccer programs. Tonight the team hosts Irving at 7:30, and Velasquez has high hopes of putting a mark in the win column. Right now, the team is 0-4-1.
“Irving is a good team, but they are similar to us,” he said. “They haven’t been around long, and they are trying to get their program established.”
Tonight’s game marks the end of the first half of the summer season.
“We need to flip the coin and have a great second half of the season so we can make the playoffs.”
The Coyotes compete in perhaps the toughest conference in the 100-team NPSL. The Lone Star Conference is home to the Denton Diablos, the league’s defending national champion, as well as high-caliber teams such as the Lubbock Matadors and the Laredo Heat.
The Coyotes FC consists mainly of college players looking to elevate their game in a competitive summer league. Players come from all over the world.
“Right now, we have team members from Venezuela, Mexico, Jamaica and all over the US,” Velasquez said. “Last year, we had a couple guys from England and a player from Spain as well.”
But not all the players hail from far away lands.
“Two of our best players are from right here,” he said. “Edgar Soto is from Belton and he plays Division 1 college soccer at Grand Canyon University. He’s a dangerous playmaker.”
“We also have Juan Lumbreras, a young man who grew up in Kansas before moving to Temple. He also plays at a high level.”
“We have players from several solid college programs including Southwestern in Georgetown, UMHB and Grand Canyon.”
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Despite getting off to a rough start in 2022, Velasquez said fan support is growing with each game.
“We have at least 500 people coming to our games, and we really haven’t done any marketing yet,” he said. “That will change.”
Like the Temple club, many teams in the league play home games on local school fields.
“Woodson is an older venue, but it’s a great facility,” Velasquez said. “Lubbock also plays at a school facility, and they are bringing in more than 4,000 people per game. We can do that here as well.”
Velasquez sees Woodson as a starting point for Coyote FC, but he envisions a future that puts the club smack-dab in the middle of a bustling Downtown Temple scene. And, in his opinion, the city is building a perfect future home and may not know it.
“The MLK Fair Grounds would be a perfect place for a small soccer stadium,” he said. “It really wouldn’t affect the city’s plans. We just need a big grassy area with seating.”
“Think of the impact a Downtown soccer field could have on the restaurants, shops and bars,” he said. “People could come Downtown and have dinner, enjoy a couple of beverages, shop, then walk a couple blocks to the game.”
“Soccer games would bring a new crowd Downtown on a regular basis,” he said. “It would be a win-win for the city, for businesses and for Coyotes FC.”
“We want to be a community-based soccer club that provides a great value in family entertainment,” he said. “We want to represent Temple in a positive manner and help support our Downtown businesses.”
The Temple Coyote FC is comprised primarily of college players who want to elevate their game by playing in a summer league. This year, the team has members from as far away as Venezuela, Jamaica and Mexico and as close as Temple and Belton.
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today’s best bets
Sami Show: Arts & Crafts market at Bell County Expo Center Assembly Hall. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Temple Coyotes FC vs. Irving in soccer at Woodson Field. 7:30 p.m.
Jamie’s Guns live at Barrow Brewing Co in Salado. 8 p.m.
Reckless Kelly at the Cultural Activities Center. Season tickets are on sale at cacarts.org.
Comedy Showcase at Corky’s. Doors open at 7, show at 8.
The Spazmatics live at Schoepf’s BBQ. 6 p.m. Get your tickets at https://www.outhousetickets.com/Event/18872-The_Spazmatics/ .
Josh Turner live at Johnny’s Steaks & Bar-Be-Que in Salado. 6 p.m. Tickets: www.outhousetickets.com/Event/19702-Josh_Turner
The Debonnairs live at Bo’s Barn. 9 p.m. Tickets: bosbarndancehall.com
ECHO Charity BBQ & Auction Benefit. VFW Auxiliary Post 4008 in Belton. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Local church groups, Belton New Life Fellowship Church, and Believe Ministries Worship Center are having a BBQ and Auction Benefit to buy farmland and build an orphanage for our sister church in Kampala, Uganda. Ebenezer Children Hope Orphanage (ECHO). The church is currently home to 68 orphans that we consider family. Currently they sleep on dirt floors in a building that is in danger of collapsing. Our Small church of 30+ members have already raised $6,500, plus regular monthly donations, to help keep them fed. However, it will take God and our community coming together to make a difference in these children's lives. Come and enjoy an afternoon out with good BBQ and an exciting auction while giving to a worthy cause. $8 Chopped Brisket Sandwich Meals. 50/50, raffles and live auction.
Burgers with The Badge at Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. During the event, community members and their children are welcome to enjoy free burgers and drinks while getting to know your local law enforcement, ask any questions you may have, or just enjoy a great day with some great food and great company.
Name That Tune Bingo at Fire Base Brewing at 7:30 p.m. hosted by the talented Sweet Caroline and DJ Dale. This Saturday, we're featuring Summer Songs!
Downtown Temple Farmers Market at City Hall parking lot. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. School's out! Join us for this month's Market at booming Downtown Temple! We have all sorts of hand crafted vendors coming in with soaps, body butters, baked goods, toys, jewelry, paintings, and loads more! Come support local.
The Backroads Band at Bell County Go Texan Reverse Raffle, 2218 W Ave D in Temple. Come out and support the youth of Bell County 7 p.m.
Sip & Shop at Ras Kitchen, 17 S Main. Free Family Fun, enjoy cool cocktails, mocktails, shopping and free gifts!!! Perfect for dating and outings. Hang out with us Saturdays. Join us each and every Saturday for cool summer drinks, fun games and trendy summer shopping from local boutique vendors. This week will we will feature Temple Mall Dillard’s, and Estee Lauder. Enjoy how-to’s, and tips as tricks by the experts. And of course, FREE samples!!
Scratch 3 live at Fire Street Pizza in Belton. Scratch 3 is a rock and roll power trio based in central Texas; providing premium, high octane, rock and roll and hard rock from the 80's, 90's and 00’s! 6 p.m.
There was a pioneer cemetery in the Temple area before the city was established. Where was it? ANSWER IS AT END OF TODAY’S ISSUE
On this day in 1865, an estimated 50 desperadoes broke into the state treasury in Austin, one of the boldest crimes in Texas history. The robbery occurred during the chaotic period immediately after the downfall of the Confederacy in the spring of 1865. Gen. Nathan G. Shelley informed George R. Freeman, a Confederate veteran and leader of a small company of volunteer militia, that the robbery was imminent. By the time Freeman and about twenty of his troops arrived at the treasury, the robbers were in the building. A brief gunfight erupted in which one of the robbers was mortally wounded; all the other robbers fled toward Mount Bonnell, west of Austin, carrying with them about $17,000 in specie, more than half of the gold and silver in the state treasury. None was ever captured. The loot was never recovered, although some of the money was found strewn between the treasury building and Mount Bonnell. Freeman and his company of volunteers were later recognized by the state for their service in defending the public treasury, but the resolution providing a reward for their services never passed the legislature.
TODAY’S TEMPLE TRIVIA ANSWER: A small cemetery on South 61st Street marks the final resting places for several pioneers. Headstones date to 1868.