Local man leads team to playoffs

Published 10:22 pm Thursday, June 29, 2017

Suffolk resident Brian Hinkey has made a name for himself in Hampton Roads as the vice president of operations and head coach for the Virginia Beach City Football Club, the city’s National Premier Soccer League team.

VB City FC won its road game on Saturday against FC Frederick in Maryland to move into first place in the Mid-Atlantic Conference Division.

“That was a big match in terms of the standings,” Hinkey said.

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The two teams will play against each other again in the final match of the regular season on July 9, at the VB Sportsplex. Hinkey said the team has a positive outlook as the playoffs approach.

“We’ve got a lot of grit and determination in our team, and we’re out to prove that we’re the best team in the division,” Hinkey said. “We’re feeling pretty good, but we also feel like we can play better.”

The coach’s love for the sport began when he was growing up in Stow, Ohio. The youngest of three siblings, he fell in love with the game by watching his older brothers Chris and Brett play.

“it’s kind of a family sport,” he said.”

In college, Hinkey played Division 1 soccer at Vanderbilt University and the College of William and Mary. He went on to play in the Major Indoor Soccer League with the Cleveland Crunch, Kansas City Comets and Norfolk Sharks, and in the United Soccer League with the Nashville Metros.

He said he loved the quick reactions and creativity as a player. He played an offensive role in most games and created plenty of scoring opportunities for teammates and himself.

“That’s what keeps you coming back, putting the ball in the back of the net,” he said. “There’s no other feeling that quite matches it. You work so hard to get to that moment. It’s a pretty cool feeling.”

He helped found the VB City FC in 2013 as an opportunity to challenge himself as a coach, grow the sport in Hampton Roads and give back to players.

He also coaches 14- and 15-year-old boys in the VB City FC Academy and teaches for the Virginia Youth Soccer Association.

“It’s important to me now as a coach to give back to players and help them develop and achieve,” he said.

More than 75 players in the VB City FC Player Development program have gone on to play for top college soccer programs throughout the country. In 2014, VB City FC player Sydney Rivera signed with Orlando City Soccer Club of Major League Soccer.

“We’ve had some guys that have gone through our program that moved on to higher professional levels,” Hinkey said.

With three points gained by their win over FC Frederick, another win should give VB City FC the opportunity to make a playoff run, with Hinkey leading his players.

“if we’re able to get six points out of these two games, that more than likely gives us the top seed going into the conference tournament,” he said.

Hinkey moved to Suffolk with his wife about two years ago. They live in Sleepy Lake.