New Team in Town: Vaqueros aim to connect with Fort Worth community





Community.

If there is a single word that describes the direction the new Fort Worth Vaqueros soccer team is taking it would certainly be community.

Before the new National Premier Soccer League club even had a name, its goal was to reach out to the Fort Worth community and get it involved in the team.

It was the community that picked the name Vaqueros.

It was the community that picked the logo.

It was the community that picked the two scarves that Vaqueros fans will wear and wave.

The community will pick the music in the stadium.

The community first attitude is the product of owner Michael Hitchcock’s vision for Fort Worth and its new club, which begins play at 7:30 p.m. May 9th at Fort Worth’s historic LaGrave Field featuring a post-game Fireworks Show.

“We knew from the beginning that we wanted this to be a team that truly let the supporters take charge in shaping the club’s identity,” Hitchcock said. “The fans and Fort Worth leaders have embraced that idea and have provided meaningful decisions in the club’s identity and future.”

Hitchcock recognized the potential for Fort Worth as a soccer market last year.

Fort Worth is often grouped together and seen as part of the sprawling Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex.

However, looking solely at Fort Worth as a city it ranked as the 16th largest city (741,206 people) in the United States according to 2012 data from the U.S. census bureau. While Dallas sits 9th at (1,197,816), Cowtown still ranks ahead of Detroit (18), Memphis (20), Boston (21), Seattle (22) and Denver (23) in terms of population.

This market size is one of many things that attracted Hitchcock, the former FC Dallas president, to place an NPSL side in Fort Worth.

“We identified Fort Worth as a market that was ripe for an NPSL team based on its size but also based on its love for soccer,” Hitchcock said. “From the vibrant Hispanic neighborhoods, to the well established youth soccer market as well as its emerging young, trendy downtown crowd, Fort Worth is a city primed to support a meaningful soccer club.”

Perhaps the most significant and sure to be a trend followed by other minor league clubs is the Vaqueros ticketing strategy. Season seat holders receive an authentic PUMA Vaqueros home jersey as part of their season ticket purchase. Fans then wear their jersey into the stadium and that is their ticket into the game.

The Vaqueros have already garnered the dedicated support of Fort Worth city councilman Sal Espino. A former soccer player, Espino’s district covers the North Side area of Fort Worth where the Vaqueros will play their home games in 2014.

“The Vaqueros have shown a true heart for the North Side and Fort Worth,” Espino said. “By bringing soccer, the world’s most popular sport to LaGrave Field, the Vaqueros bring a special sense of pride as well as potential economic development and revitalization along the North Main (street) Corridor.”

ABOUT THE VAQUEROS
Who: The Fort Worth Vaqueros FC is a NPSL expansion club who will play in the South Central Conference with teams in Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri
What:  Home Opening Weekend featuring two home games
When: Historic Home Opener 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 9 vs. Tulsa Athletics, featuring a post game fireworks show; Home Game #2 5:30 p.m. Sunday, May 11 vs. Liverpool Warriors on Mothers Day so Soccer Moms get in FREE
Where: LaGrave Field
How: Call 817-200-7355 or go to www.fortworthvaqueros.com for ticket information.