FORT WORTH _ Vaqueros owner Michael Hitchcock took time out this week to address some of the questions that the Vaqueros family has on its mind.
Here are the Five Big Questions with Hitch:
1. What are your thoughts on this Saturday’s match against Shreveport that features Vaqueros Family Gives Back Night?
“We are looking forward to coming home for a big game against the Shreveport Rafters. All of our home games have been a lot of fun with good crowds. The Vaqueros family is providing a fun, festive atmosphere and the team is responding with an undefeated record at home.
This Saturday is our first chance to lift a trophy since it’s the return leg of the Texas Trail Classic. Hopefully, we'll have a chance to celebrate a win and raise the 'horns (The Texas Trail Classic trophy is a set of longhorns) with our great fans.
We take a lot of pride in using the world’s most popular game and Fort Worth’s hometown soccer team to give back to the community. This Saturday is Vaqueros Family Gives Back where we are going to raise money and awareness for three great local charities that are doing amazing work in our community. We'll have a Silent Auction with some cool items and 50 percent of all tickets sales are being donated to Project Access Tarrant County, Cancer Care Services & PMR Charity, led by Vaqueros team doctor Omar Selod. It's going to be a fun night and we hope to see the Vaqueros Family out in full voice.”
2. The Vaqueros boast a 4-2 mark (12 points) and currently sit in 2nd place in the NPSL Texas Conference. What are your thoughts on the best start in Vaqueros history?
“It has been fun to watch the teams success so far this season; the team’s early season success starts with great leadership by Head Coach Nick Stavrou with the support of General Manager Tobias Lopez and Assistant Coach Greer Chavez.
Nick has assembled a good roster of quality players but more importantly, he has created a strong culture for success. The team is working hard, well prepared and enjoys playing for our great fans. These guys are terrific representatives of the City of Fort Worth and great ambassadors for the sport of soccer and the Vaqueros.
I’m happy with the start to the season and looking forward to seeing the team continue to grow and evolve. Lots of soccer still to play but hopefully, we can make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history then go on a playoff run.”
3. What can you tell us regarding a permanent stadium solution for the club?
“We have said from the very beginning that our vision for the Vaqueros and soccer in Fort Worth and our commitment to the Vaqueros family is to have a proper soccer stadium. A stadium would provide our fans and sponsors the best possible experience to support their team, while adding a much-needed facility to the Fort Worth soccer landscape. The facility can be used by local leagues, teams, tournaments and even international clubs that want to come to Fort Worth for pre-season training and to play exhibition matches.
Personally, it has been my top priority. It’s a process. That said, we are making progress. We’ve had conversations with a few different prospective partners who own land and community stakeholders. Hopefully, we can continue to make progress and if so, we should have some exciting announcements in the near future. We are working very hard to make this happen. That said, it’s a process and there’s work to be done. A soccer stadium will b a game changer for soccer in Fort Worth and help the Vaqueros realize the great potential that the club has.”
4. Can you give us an update on the new Vaqueros Youth Academy?
“Academy Director Mark Snell has been working hard in putting together the plan for the Academy. Our commitment is to growing the game in Fort Worth and we think the Vaqueros Youth Academy is important investment for the club as part of this commitment. We want the top youth players in Fort Worth to have an opportunity to play in a professional academy to help them develop as players and people.
Mark is one of the best in the country at developing the younger age players. More details to come, including a training field. We’re close to finalizing an agreement to build a lit training field that would be the home of the Academy. Stay tuned, exciting announcements (hopefully) coming soon.”
5. What other thoughts do you have to share?
First, thanks to all the fans for your support. Vaqueros gear sales have been amazing and our crowds have been strong. As we stated in the pre-season, this is an important year for the Vaqueros, on and off the field. So far the fans have been great and the team is responding. It is going to be a fun run to the playoffs. Hopefully, the boys keep their form and we qualify for the playoffs then make a playoff run.
In closing, I want to share the WHY. My partner, Brian Miller, and I are very committed to building a successful, community based club that provides opportunities for local players. We want to create a team that the community and fans can be proud of and produce a fun, gameday experience where fans from every neighborhood in Fort Worth can come out to support their home town soccer team.
So the WHY to the Fort Worth Vaqueros, TO CHANGE LIVES. Soccer is known as the beautiful game for a reason. We are humbled by the opportunity we have to use the beautiful game to change lives in Fort Worth. I look forward to seeing everyone at our next home game, this Saturday, June 17th vs. Shreveport in the Texas Trail Classic. Join us as we battle for our first trophy of the season and will hopefully, raise the 'horns on Saturday night at Martin Field.”