TEMPLE, TX — When you think about Temple and surrounding areas, you usually think about Fort Hood and the diversity the military post brings with it.
However, a new semi-professional soccer team is looking to change the narrative and add to the area’s diversity by recruiting high-level players from all over, including Nicorey Waren, a 24-year-old striker.
Playing soccer runs in Waren’s blood. Being from Jamaica, he says everyone back home played soccer.
When he came to the United States in 2013, he started playing at a Division III school in New York. He described the level of play as "different."
“I've kind of adjusted well to it, but before it was kind of hard. The soccer is kind of different,” Waren explained. “Now I'm just adjusting, making it happen and doing well so far.”
Waren originally came to the U.S. to run track, but now he’s utilizing his speed through the Coyotes Football Club, a new team ready to make its mark in the National Premier Soccer League.
“I think we're ready,” Waren said. “We're probably the underdog because we're new to it, but we come in as a shocker right now.”
The NPSL serves as a bridge to the main stage, Major League Soccer.
In fact, in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, 19 playerswith NPSL experience were drafted. Four of them were drafted in the first round.
Head Coach Thomas Wooley hopes the access to a high-level-of-play soccer team will serve the community just as much as it does the players.
“I really feel it is a great option for the families in this area, and the surrounding areas, to get their families to come out and be behind a local team and other players from [the] South Texas area,” he explained.
The team has a 10-game schedule, with their first match-up on May 8 and their last on July 9.
The team plays in the NPSL’s south region, the Lone Star Conference, and faces opponents from Fort Worth, Midland and other cities across the state.
Supporters say the Coyotes FC gives Temple an opportunity to host folks who may have never been to Central Texas before.
“We see this as, you know, the educational value in the entertainment value,” said Rod Henry, president of the Temple Chamber of Commerce. “The tourism value is there and it will continue to grow.”
The team is excited to showcase their skills and hopes to teach local kids about the sport.
“[Parents] can bring their kids out to see a good level of soccer so their kids can one day hopefully progress to play at that level,” Coach Wooley said.
In a sport full of goals, Waren has one big one in mind, and he's letting his competitors know now before the season begins.
“Just watch out. Coyotes FC all the way to the top baby,” he said with a grin spanning across his face.
The men will play at Woodson Field in Temple. Ticket prices vary depending on age and if you want to buy individual tickets or season tickets. All ticketing information can be found on Coyotes FC’s website.
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