Footy Americano talks with Hector Vega of Yakima United FC.
Please, tell who you are, what it is that you do at Yakima United FC, and elaborate a bit on where your club is located and why it is in that location.
I am Hector Vega, the President and Head Coach of Yakima United FC. Yakima United is located in the heart of the Yakima Valley. Our Valley has a long standing tradition in the sport and has played a major role in the history of soccer in our state. For 15 years Yakima was home to one of the longest tenured semi-professional Men’s Soccer Teams in the Northwest (the Yakima Reds). I was involved in starting up the Yakima Reds and continued with the club in different aspects of its operation for the 15 years they were here in the Valley. Nine years after the dissolving of Yakima Reds we were given the opportunity to participate in the EPLWA, and bring back Men’s semi-professional soccer to Yakima. We wanted a fresh start with a fresh logo and name. We had formed Yakima United FC in 2010, which was an elite team that participated in tournaments around the state and decided to expand and turn Yakima United FC into the team it is now, playing in the EPLWA and the newly formed NWPL.
I understand that playing the role you do, even with a side that is not professional, can be very time consuming. What is it that drives you?
When I moved to Yakima in 1984 the soccer community took me in. I was one of the elite players in the community and was disappointed that there was really nothing other than recreational soccer available in our area at that time. The talent in our valley is remarkable, and I wanted to be a part of starting up something that gave the elite player a competitive avenue for local talent to continue to improve by playing at a high level, while providing an exciting and entertaining match-day experience for our supporters and soccer enthusiasts in our area. It drives me to see players excel and have the opportunity to further their soccer careers. I want to give the valley an experience that was not available for me when I was that age. I view the soccer community as my family, and I have a strong bond with the players I have coached over the years. I want the best for each of my players. I want to give them the opportunity to showcase their talent.