Davidsonville Athletic Association’s Soccer Program has been operating for over 20 years in Anne Arundel County. Despite its rural location, Davidsonville has over 1200 players between the fall and spring seasons. We met with Keith Cleveland, Soccer Commissioner, who became involved in the club seven years ago when he first signed his son up for soccer. After being immersed in the club and community, he knew it was something he wanted to be a part of. His family loves the game, and his wife even coaches two teams in the club.
What makes your club unique?
As an organization, we focus on putting fun and learning about soccer on the same pedestal. We embody our club methods on teamwork and that individuals can’t win games by themselves. The emphasis on teamwork also allows players to learn skills that will benefit them in the real world. The idea of teamwork, is constantly reiterated.
We tend to get coaches that are licensed and have over 20 years of experience in travel soccer. Since players are getting a good soccer education, they will stay loyal to our travel programs. Our club is a community as the parents know each other, and the kids are friends. Our programs are also inexpensive compared to other clubs in the area.
Davidsonville Athletic Association uses Davidsonville Park which is an Anne Arundel County Park, so teams often go around together to pick up trash and keep the park clean. We also have a partnership with Lace Them Up with Libby, where we conduct fundraisers to support childhood brain cancer.
What programs do you offer within your club?
We have Youth Development for kids ages U4-U6, County, our U7-U18 recreational league, and Travel from U9 to U18 who play in MSYSA competitions, Super Y, EDP, NCSL, and US Club Soccer in Region 1 Champions League. We currently have eight travel teams that play EDP. We have 170-200 players in the Youth Development leagues.
The main demographic of our club is the younger age groups. We only have one travel team in the high school age groups, which is a combined 15U-17U team. There is attrition once the kids reach the middle school age groups, especially on the girls’ side. We haven’t quite figured out how to solve this issue, so we are continually trying to discover new ways on how to get more female players involved. We have been trying to market to local middle schools and high schools to attract more players.
Do you offer scholarships for players?
We try to accommodate all players regardless of their family’s income. We offer scholarships for 5-10 players each year.
How do you invest in your coaches?
Some teams will pay their coaches and then the coach will use that money to invest in courses. It is a great cost alternative; we are trying to grow our coaching staff the best we can!
How have you supported your players and families throughout the pandemic?
On our website and email database, we included news bulletins of updates from the State, CDC, and other organizations. Since our park is solely occupied by Davidsonville Athletic Association, we were able to have an information board on site supplying updates.
Vision or plans for the next few years?
We hope to increase our administrative staff, we currently only have a couple of positions that are full time. We haven’t invested much in the administrative structure of our travel program, but it is in the plans in order to reach the next level. We also want to continue to use electronic mediums to inform and market our club to potential places. Finally, we want to keep our prices reasonable.