This week we are highlighting one of our newest affiliates, Brookland FC, in the Northeastern DC area. We met with Thomas “Tom” Walsh, one of the founders of Brookland FC, to discuss what their new club is all about.
Tom played his club ball with DC Stoddert and went on to play at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, WV. After coaching at a Division III school in Wisconsin and DC Stoddert, this summer, Tom founded Brookland FC with a few friends from high school. He hopes to grow the club and better the surrounding community!
Why did you decide to start Brookland FC?
I was born in Brookland, where there has never been a structured soccer club in Northeastern DC. I started the club with two other friends from Gonzaga High School, who all wanted to give back to their communities. Gonzaga preaches a lot about giving back to the community!
Currently, most of our players are very young, around 6-9 years old, although we have a few older players. In the coming seasons, we are looking to build up our older age groups, especially in the high school ages. Our location in Northeastern DC will hopefully allow us to be attractive to players in Virginia and Maryland.
What makes your club unique?
Other clubs in the area have gotten too big, so we want to keep our club small to develop the kids and sustain a close relationship with the families. We want to stay very community orientated. To market the club, we’ve reached out to families via local Facebook groups, as this area of PG county has been very underserved for soccer.
We are currently holding free Sunday soccer clinics at John Burrows Elementary. Anyone can come and work on their skills and make new friends.
How have you supported your players and families during the pandemic?
Since we launched this year, we weren’t able to start training until July. In our sessions so far, we’ve had a pretty good turnout in the younger age groups. Many of our players previously played with DC Scores. We have multiple international families who are new to the area and their kids haven’t played organized soccer before. However, these kids have grown up watching and immersed in the game, so they pick up skills very quickly. These times are challenging for everyone, especially for a new club!
There is currently a mask policy in place and all our sessions are socially-distanced. Players have had the opportunity to learn about the game in a safe environment. Currently, we have two coaches and are looking for more!
Are you going to offer any scholarships to players?
Yes, we partnered with a local property management company called Thomas D Walsh Realtors, which will allow us to provide financial assistance to families in need. They have allowed us to get the ball rolling!
What is your vision for Brookland? Where do you see your club in a few years?
We want to have a strong recreational program that feeds into travel level teams for both boys and girls. On the travel side, we want all our elite teams to be playing in EDP. On the developmental side, we will look at the Maryland Short-Sided League or the Sam Soccer League. We won’t be having any organized teams play in the fall because of the pandemic, but we will launch more formal programs in the Spring! We are very excited to get kids into jerseys!