Incredibly passionate and talented, Bert Garcia worked his way up from the bottom of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers NBA D-League club to become the team's President. As RGVFC has got their club going, Garcia has been the man in front, speaking to the media and representing the club. I was able to chat with him this past week about some of the ins and outs of the Toros.
Q: First off, what will be your official title with RGVFC?
Garcia: Currently, I do not have an official title, but I have been acting as President for the present moment.
Q: What makes the Houston Dynamo an ideal partner?
Garcia: For so many reasons the Dynamo are our ideal partner:
Leadership- Chris Canetti runs a first class organization from top to bottom, and with the additions of Matt Jordan over looking the soccer aspects, we are extremely excited that they will bring the same elements to RGV FC.
Winners- The Dynamo have been MLS Champions in the past and that is the same aspirations for RGV FC. We want to be champions in the near future and put the best product we can on the pitch.
Q: Since it's a hybrid affiliation, will the Houston staff be entirely in charge of signing new players, not loanees, and when will that possibly begin?
Garcia: Yes, Houston will be in charge of all soccer operations, therefore signings and all player related issues will begin and end with the Houston Dynamo.
Q: What can you say about owner Alonzo Cantu, who also owns the NBA D-League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and his desire to make the Rio Grande Valley a sports destination?
Garcia: So many great things to say about Mr. Cantu. His investments for the sports teams have been clear, and that is to make the quality of life better for the RGV community. Not only to make RGV a sports destination, but to make a destination to be proud of.
Q: What is the main piece of experience with the Vipers that will be the most helpful with the Toros?
Garcia: Other than our extensive database *laughs*, we know our market pretty well. We are bringing elements that have allowed us to be one of the top teams in the NBA Development League. From selling a ticket to selling sponsorship, but more importantly our engagement in our community. We have ranked #1 in community appearances and we will continue to provide that through our soccer team as well.
Q: Speaking of community involvement, it's important, especially for a USL club, to connect with the local community, what are some of the ways the club will look to do that?
Garcia: Obviously, as you can see, the community is the number one priority for our business. From autograph sessions to soccer camps and clinics for kids that may not be able to afford the opportunity, I believe the opportunities are endless.
Q: With such a strong Hispanic presence in the Rio Grande Valley community, do you feel soccer will be a perfect fit?
Garcia: We have been able to witness first hand the passion people have for soccer here. With over 720 organized soccer teams in the Valley, it is clear people love soccer. They also love quality soccer play and therefore, once again, putting a good product on the pitch will be vital.
Q: For an out of town fan traveling in for a match, what can they expect from Edinburg and RGV?
Garcia: Edinburg is a booming town. Great food, great people and everything with close proximity. We are excited for Edinburg, but more importantly RGV as our home.
Q: Do you have any knowledge of what the stadium, currently being built in Edinburg, will be named?
Garcia: We are waiting for the right partner.
Q: When might Toros gear be available for purchase, and will Toros gear be available to buy at BBVA Compass Stadium during Dynamo matches?
Garcia: Gear will be available in early January, and thank you for bringing up putting gear at BBVA, that will be another conversation to have with Dynamo President Chris Canetti.
Q: What can fans expect from the RGVFC Toros in 2016?
Garcia: Fans can expect quality soccer, fun entertainment and affordable tickets.
Q: Last question, being the President of the Houston Rockets D-League affiliate, what Rocket players would be the best assets on the pitch for the Toros?
Garcia: Clint Capela as my goalkeeper. He loves soccer, Paris Saint Germain is his favorite club. Ty Lawson as my midfielder and James Harden as my striker.