"Getting a berth in the US Open Cup was a surprise but one we felt we earned. We are very excited for the competition, and hoping for a run."
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Welcome back to the Pyramid faithful readers! Today's interview is a special one. Several weeks ago I got to interview Chris Hockman at Corinthians FC in San Antonio. Now, I normally put interviews out on Thursday's, but since Corinthians is playing NXT Rayados in the US Open Cup tonight, I wanted to treat everyone and get this out a day early. Check it out.
Let's start simple. Who you are, where you're from, and what your role is with Corinthians FC.
I'm Chris Hockman, I'm originally from Australia, moved to San Antonio in 2010 & I'm the Media Officer at CFCSA
What inspired you to make a go of working in soccer? Was there a certain event that inspired it, or has soccer always been a part of your life?
My home town (Central Coast) got an A-League team and were looking for volunteers, so I signed up, while there I got in to writing.
When I first arrived in the US, I wasn't able to work for a while due to my visa class. So to stay busy I started writing. That became what is now http://www.sanantoniosoccernews.com and from there opportunities kept coming, and then Pete asked me to come on board here.
So would you say that you turned your hobby into a living?
Not really, I can't quit my day job. But maybe one day that will be possible.
I got you. What's the history of Corinthians FC? And where did the name come from?
Corinthians FC SA started as a club side here in San Antonio, doing fairly well we made the jump to NPSL in 2014. The name originiates from being a faith based club, which is something important to us.
So Corinthians as in the letters to the Corinthians?
Exactly, that's where we steal the name from, apologies to the Apostle Paul. It's also why the cross is in our crest.
Alright. Now you guys made some noise recently with the announcement that you're going to get your own field to play on, the Deer Soccer Training Complex. How is that going to change things for Corinthians moving forward?
It allows us a lot more control, we'll be the primary tenant which means we can schedule when it suits us not when it suits a high school.
Very nice, that's a big step for any club, especially on the amateur side. You guys recently found out you'll be playing in the US Open Cup. How excited are you for that opportunity, and what can you tell us about your opponent, NTX Rayados?
Getting a berth in the US Open Cup was a surprise but one we felt we earned. We are very excited for the competition, and hoping for a run.
We'd like to get the prize for being the longest surviving Open Division club, which is a big ask but we're setting that as a lofty goal. NTX Rayados are a good side, they're perennial qualifiers for this tournament. But they rarely advance and we feel confident of a win.
Update: NXT Rayados were disqualified from competition the night before the game. Corinthians FC will now play San Antonio FC of the United Soccer League in the next round. Read about the reasons for the DQ by clicking Here
How much is that prize now? It's gotten substantial hasn't it?
It's now $15,000 - nothing to be sneezed at by a club at our level.
Not at all. That kind of money can go a long way.Now, let's talk about San Antonio. Where in town is Corinthians currently based? Are you more of an urban, or suburban team, I guess you could say.
We used to be very urban, the last two years we played in or near downtown San Antonio, this year we're moving out to the suburbs. Our new facility is in Leon Valley, which is just "outside the loop (410)" but still very urban.
How would you describe San Antonio to someone who hasn't been there? What it's like, where to go, things to do.
That is a phenomenal question. I really dig this city, my first tip would be to come in Spring, phenomenal weather here in Spring.
Obviously you have to go to the Alamo, conveniently the Riverwalk is nearby so you can knock those two out easily in a day. The Mission trail is also a great place to go and if you're interested into history the Institute of Texan Cultures is here.
The airport is rare in that it's pretty close to downtown so that makes things better and Uber & Lyft both are allowed here.
Wait. There as is an Institute for Texan Cultures?
Yes, it's run by the University of Texas at San Antonio. Basically it looks at the history of Texas, not just the Anglo or Hispanic history.
Interesting. Where does the team hope to be in the next 5 years?
We'd like to build a dynasty in NPSL, hopefully in the next five years we'll have won a national title. We also want to keep getting in to the US Open Cup, that's our immediate goal. Make sure this isn't a one off.
Solid goal, then get that prize money a few times. Now, why should the average soccer fan, both in San Antonio and across the US, care about your team?
We think there's room in the market for us and a professional team. We firmly believe we're helping turn local players in to professionals. We saw three players go professional after last season. And on top of that we're boosting the local colleges. San Antonio now has a pathway to professional soccer and we are a big part of that pathway.
That's a good place to be, especially if you can consistently get guys to the professional level. I'm going to really switch gears on you here for a minute. You said you got started writing as a volunteer for Central Coast Mariners back in Australia. What was it like being a part of that?
It was a really enjoyable experience, the Central Coast is dear to my heart and it was great to get a look in the ops side of things.
I was there for the first ever match, Club World Championship qualifiers, until 2010 so it was great to see the growth of the league & club
Cool. They had a great run of form for awhile a few years back. And then the last two years happened.
Yeah, they are one of the most successful clubs. Did well with a low budget the Graham Arnold increased the budget over spending. Under Arnold they did manage to win the Grand Final but the club is still recovering financially. Hence the last 2 years. They made a profit for the first time this year, so expect next year to be better.
That's good to hear, turning a profit in soccer is incredibly difficult. Ready for some more rapid fire questions?
What's your favorite book, regardless of genre?
It's always a tough choice between 1984 or The Count of Monte Cristo
Good choices though. Favorite player, one past, one present.
Past is always a tough choice, I like to stick with players I saw in person so will go with Harry Kewell, when he wasn't injured he had it.
Current, I'll be a bit out there, Lisa de Vanna, since her captaincy of the Matildas she's really come along as a player & leader.
Interesting choices. I don't think I got see Kewell play on TV at all, but the highlights I did see of him were pretty impressive. Do you have a favorite soccer book or podcast that you'd recommend?
I'm currently reading Inverting the Pyramid which is great but I really recommend Soccernomics. As for a podcast, mine, Defending the Fort. I'm also a big fan of Keeper Notes for Houston and the Mixxed Zone, great coverage of women's soccer.
Do you have a league and/or team that you like to watch?
I'm still a big Central Coast Mariners fan, although I haven't liked it as much these days. Honestly I'll watch basically any soccer.
It's been pretty brutal the last couple of years for anyone watching the A League who isn't a Melbourne, Brisbane or Sydney fan. Back to topic, what would you say to people about why they should get out and support the lower levels of American soccer?
My ultimate answer is that the lower divisions are where the players in higher divisions come from. SO you can say "I saw him when..."
Alright. Where can people find you, and find more about the team?
I'm @ChrisHSport on twitter and writing for Rivard Report (http://www.rivardreport.com )
The team is @CorinthiansFCSA and you can find our site at http://www.corinthiansfcsa.com
Well Chris, I don't have any more questions for you. Got a closing statement you'd like to make, or have you said everything you need to say?
Think that's it. Thanks very much.
Not a problem Chris, thanks for taking your time to do this. Remember, if you are enjoying the content I'm putting out, I'd encourage you to click here to Follow me on Twitter, or here to Like the page on Facebook. And if you'd like even more content coming your way on the regular, click here and sign up for the weekly newsletter, containing fun articles and videos, sometimes covering soccer, sometimes not. Make sure to spread the word. Share interviews, tell friends about the blog, those kind of things. I can't accomplish my goal of maximum exposure for all levels of the American Soccer Pyramid without YOU. Until next time, Stay Loyal, Support Local.