Newsmonger: Uber Targets the Military, There’s a New Soccer Jefe and Larry Coker Leaves UTSA

Darren Powell, pictured here as head coach of Elon University’s men’s soccer team, will lead the San Antonio USL team in its first season.
Darren Powell, pictured here as head coach of Elon University’s men’s soccer team, will lead the San Antonio USL team in its first season.

Uber Wants to Recruit You

Uber drivers have been back on San Antonio streets since October. The ride-hailing company claims it's signed up more than 2,000 drivers in that time — but it wants more. A lot more.

During a press conference at Brooks City Base on Wednesday, January 6, Uber announced its new goal is to recruit 8,000 new drivers in 2016. Part of the push is to bring in more active military members and veterans — thus the Brooks City presser — through a program called UberMilitary.

UberMilitary targets members of the armed forces and their families. It claims its goal is to help them transition into civilian life. The idea is that the flexible hours that Uber driving affords makes it an ideal job for folks with irregular schedules.

Uber is trying to corral control of a San Antonio ride-hailing landscape that's on wobbly terrain. Uber and its main competitor Lyft are still in the middle of pilot programs with the city, which will be re-evaluated later this year. And another competitor, Get Me, is now recruiting drivers and conducting orientations.

Get Me will be both a ride-hailing and delivery service. It's scheduled to officially launch in San Antonio on January 16.

San Antonio's New Soccer Club Gets a Coach

The San Antonio Scorpions are no more. They've been replaced by ...

Well, we don't have a name for them yet. But they do have a coach! The club, owned by Spurs Sports and Entertainment, will be coached by Darren Powell, who most recently coached youth academy teams for Orlando City, a Major League Soccer club. Powell was also the head coach at Elon University in North Carolina.

Powell was introduced at a press conference on Thursday, January 7, when the Spurs-owned club was also officially welcomed into the United Soccer League. Participation in the third-tier USL, which is affiliated with the MLS, is part of the Spurs' plan to bring big league soccer to San Antonio, now that the group owns a small share of Toyota Field along with the City of San Antonio and Bexar County. San Antonio is the 31st USL franchise.

Even though Powell doesn't even have players to coach yet, he has his work cut out for him. The USL season starts in March.

Powell said it was a "privilege" and an "honor" to take the reins of the San Antonio club. He said he planned to field a fast-paced, aggressive team — once he actually has some players. His appointment, he said, is just one of the first steps to the team's eventual goal of playing in the MLS.

"This will not happen overnight. Today we're here to celebrate the first part of that journey, and that's joining the USL," Powell said. "This is a long-term project and we have to start with a strong foundation."

Larry Coker Leaves UTSA

The only head football coach the University of Texas at San Antonio has ever known stepped down last week.

Larry Coker, who won a national championship at the University of Miami in 2001, resigned as the Roadrunners' head coach on Tuesday, January 5. Coker lead UTSA football for five seasons with an overall record of 26-32.

Coker helped build the program from the ground up. When he took the job, the team had no facilities and hadn't recruited a single player. Coker's high-water mark with the Roadrunners was the 2012 season when the team finished 8-4.

"UTSA has been a very special place to me and I will be forever grateful for the experience," Coker said in a written statement. "The future of UTSA football is very bright and I look forward to watching the Roadrunners' success in the future."

It's unclear who will succeed Coker, and his exit comes at an imperfect time for the Roadrunners. Most seats in the annual college coach carousel have been taken, leaving UTSA without a chance to sift through this season's best candidates.

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