Nevada Coyotes FC
2018 was a rollercoaster year for Nevada Coyotes FC, despite a lot of highs on the pitch, there were some lows too. The Coyotes won the UPSL Wild West Conference in the Spring but lost 3-0 to Santa Ana Winds in the playoffs; they participated in the US Open Cup, but were knocked out; the Coyotes followed that up by closing out the year winning the Wild West Conference in the Fall—undoubtably, champions of their region. Now that their wild 2018 campaign is over, we had a chance to catch up with Nevada Coyotes FC Director of Operations, Will Bumgardener. We put his club in the Spotlight and graciously gave us a lot to read.
When and how were you founded; Does the club have any connections to an existing youth system?
We were founded in December, 2016 by three individuals: Ian Hill, Art Castañares, and Dr. Fred Simon as Western Nevada FC. As well as being the majority owner, Hill was also the general manager and head coach. The original plan for the club was that it would be made up of players from the Reno/Sparks/Carson City area, with a couple players from elsewhere. While that original group held its own in our inaugural spring season, that plan started to get shelved when players from outside Northern Nevada began to express interest in wanting to play with us. We still have a good contingent of players that are local, however there is a very good share of players that are from outside Nevada, as well as players from outside the United States.
Unfortunately, we had run of bad luck in June. On our way to a road game, our van was broken into. In the robbery, we lost our brand-new kits, as well as all of the video equipment that our videographer used. However, this incident brought to light another issue that was happening within the team. We came to find out that Hill was stealing from us. As a result, the players unanimously voted him out as head coach and he was also removed as an owner and GM. I have been with the organization since the beginning as the PA announcer and social media guy. Castañares felt comfortable with me remaining with the club and named me Director of Operations soon after Hill was relieved of his duties. The complete changeover also included a full re-brand from Western Nevada FC to Nevada Coyotes FC.
We have recently developed a partnership with Sierra Nevada FC, which is a boys’ youth program in the area. One of the individuals in charge of that program, Paul Gonzalez, is also the head coach of one of the local high school teams. Not only was he more than willing to form this partnership with us, he also helped us secure a field to call home during the fall season (and beyond).
What were the motivations behind the badge, mascot, and colors? Are there any connections to, or inspirations drawn from, other clubs in the world?
Reno is in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. So, putting the mountains on the badge made sense. Coyotes are also a part of our area, so it worked to put them together.
We kept the color scheme that we had when we were Western Nevada FC. Blue is a color typically associated with Northern Nevada and the yellow is a good accent for it, but it is not a prominent part of our color scheme.
To my knowledge, there are no connections to other clubs in the world to our badge.
What are the goals of the organization; does that include an ambition to grow quickly or more just see how it goes?
We’ve accomplished so much already, especially within the 2018 calendar year – two-time (and only) Wild West Cup champions, 2018 Wild West Spring Regular Season and Playoff Champions, and 2018 Wild West North Fall Regular Season Champions. Only one true loss in all UPSL play in 2018 (we did have to forfeit a game this season due to field issues) in the Spring Western Conference Final to Santa Ana Winds. But we still have more goals that we want to successfully reach – win a national championship and qualify for the US Open Cup are two of the bigger ones. We also want to build our own facility.
From a player standpoint, we want to give them the best opportunities available to reach their goals, whatever they might be. For some, that’s getting to the next level of their playing career. Some may want to move on to coaching. Others may want to work behind the scenes with a club.
We’ve definitely grown quickly in the last two years. I think the ambitions are a little of both. Some things will happen fast and others we will have to take a wait and see approach.
The team seems relatively new, are there any players who’ve made an instant impact? Anybody notable who’s come from another league or club?
Honestly, all of our players have made an impact in one way or another. We wouldn’t be where we are today without each and every one of them.
We all see what the players do on the pitch. However, we also have to give credit to our head coach, Christian Patiño. We are very fortunate to have someone of his background as our head coach. Profe has done an amazing job with our club since he took over in June. Having him lead the club has also brought us some newfound popularity, as a lot of people were fans of his when he played in Liga MX, most notably for Club América.
Do you have an existing or budding rivalry? Do you see rivalry as an important part of growing the fan side of an organization, or a distraction?
I think every game has become a rivalry game for us. We have a huge target on our back. Everyone, especially in the Wild West, wants to be able to say that they were the ones to knock off Nevada on the field.
I would say that our biggest rivalries right now are against Cal Victory and Napa Sporting. Unfortunately, Victory opted not to play in the fall season. We recently defeated Napa on the road, which was huge for us as that victory not only clinched the top spot in the division and home field throughout the Wild West Playoffs, but it also avenged the forfeit loss to them earlier.
I feel it’s important to have those teams that your fans get more excited about. As long as the players stay focused on the game itself, rivalry games don’t become too much of a distraction.
How do you feel about clubs being politically active? Should they just stick to soccer or is there a responsibility to be a part of the community?
As a club, I personally feel that we should keep everything above board. I don’t think we should get too politically active because we would not only alienate a portion of our fan base if our public beliefs don’t line up with theirs, but we could also upset members of our team. I feel that it’s our job to bring the community together. We all have different political beliefs, but we should all come together in the name of The Beautiful Game.