Downtown sports bar to offer Latin-inspired food, a full bar and an indoor soccer
DAVID STONE | OUR TOWN TEMPLE
The owner of a Temple-based soccer club is opening a new Downtown sports bar complete with food, drinks and an indoor four-on-four soccer field.
Manuel Velasquez, owner of Coyotes FC, a pair of Fort Hood food trucks and a Colombian food delivery service, is opening Hat-Trick Sports Barat 217 N Main in the former L&M Electronics building.
“We hope to open in early 2023, perhaps as soon as late January,” Velasquez said late Thursday. “It’s going to be something new in Temple.”
In soccer, a player gets a hat trick by scoring three goals in a single game. At Hat-Trick Sports Bar, three goals will be replaced by a three-pronged motto: Eat, Drink and Play.
“We already have our liquor license, and we will be serving beer, wine, shots and cocktails — everything a customer might want,” Velasquez said.
“We also will have a great menu,” he said. “I’m moving one of my Fort Hood food trucks — Puerta de Oro — over to serve as our kitchen. We will have Latin-inspired street food such as empanadas and Colombian specialties.”
The sports bar also will have many televisions that will be showing a variety of sports such as football, soccer, basketball, boxing and baseball.
“We also will have a top-of-the-line sound system, and the turf for our indoor soccer field will be installed in about two weeks,” he said.
“We are going to have drinks, but Hat-Tricks is going to be family friendly. We will have four coaches on our staff, and they will be offering training clinics for kids and adults. Mom and Dad can bring in their kid, have a bite, enjoy a drink and watch sports on TV while they wait.”
Velasquez said the business will employ up to 15 people.
“We will have the coaches, plus bartenders, cook staff and servers,” he said.
Velasquez said he plans to keep the soccer field busy.
“We will have four-on-four games,” he said. “Plus training and soccer lessons. We are going to be joining in on the First Friday activities as well. We could have food and drink specials, and maybe offer a free kids soccer clinic as well.”
Velasquez, an Army veteran, started the 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.”
The Coyotes play their home games at Woodson Field, home of the Temple High soccer programs.
“We have at least 500 people coming to our games, and we really haven’t done any marketing yet,” he said. Velasquez sees Woodson as a starting point for Coyote FC. 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. I plan on talking to the city about this in the near future.”