By John Sorce |
EATONTOWN – More than 100 people gathered on Sunday, Dec. 17 to celebrate the kickoff of FC Monmouth, a new Monmouth County-based men’s soccer team that will participate in the northeast division of the national semi-pro National Premier Soccer League (NPSL).
The NPSL operates under Major League Soccer and North American Soccer League and consists of just under 100 teams across the United States.
“There’s so much soccer infrastructure and passion in the area, but there’s not really a team where families can attend that’s easy and accessible and a fun way to experience soccer,” said Jacco de Bruijn, who is the club’s general manager. “That’s something we want to bring to the area and we know there’s a lot of people who would love to see this. We want to give back to the community a way to experience soccer.”
The party was held at Wayside Technology, where supporters viewed a launch video and listened to encouraging remarks from Tony Novo Jr., the general manager of New Jersey’s women’s pro team Sky Blue FC, and John Archibald of Resolution Sports.
“It was fun to see old friends, new friends and people who really love soccer,” de Bruijn said. “They brought their kids and they had a good time. Everybody was excited for this and it was a good event all together.”
De Bruijn said the team will begin playing games in May 2018 after a year and a half of planning. The idea to create a semi-pro team that locals could follow came from a group of business volunteers who met playing pick-up soccer. They include John M. Kiely, president of the Kiely Family of Companies, Simon Nynens, chairman and CEO of Wayside Technology and Corbett Donato, owner of the Donato Group real estate firm.
De Bruijn noted the NPSL offers opportunities for FC Monmouth to compete locally, with FC Motown (Morris County), New Jersey Copa FC (Metuchen), and TSF FC (Wayne) already competing in the league.
Interested perspective players are encouraged to visit FCMonmouth.com and fill out a form under the “team” tab at the top of the page.
“We will be having tryouts in March and, at the same time, we’re trying to get the word out by talking to people,” de Bruijn said. “We’ve already had players reach out to us and we’ve been talking with a lot of coaches at schools in New Jersey. Generally, a lot of coaches like this because it’s the time when their season is over and they want their players to be tested against some of the best players.”
Games will be played on Saturdays around 5 p.m. between May 5 and July 7 in the regular season, and July 14 and Aug. 4 for post-season playoffs. Single games tickets will be $8 a game for adults and $5 a game for youth and kids under 3.
Although the team is still negotiating a venue to play its home games, it says it will play on the east side of the Garden State Parkway. More information about FC Monmouth can be found at its website FCMonmouth.com and fans can follow them @WeAreMonmouth on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
De Bruijin’s main goal is to bring families together to watch local soccer. He feels the Monmouth County area and the NPSL are the perfect match. He wants to spread the word.
“All of us live in different towns and we’re all part of the local recreation programs, so I think there is some kind of natural word of mouth,” said de Bruijn. “But otherwise we will definitely be doing partnerships with local soccer groups, associations, clubs, people that would be interested in this. We’re talking to sponsors now and some of them are in the community, so they would be able to help us get the word out.
The team’s colors are navy blue and gold, and their symbol is a shield.
“We are developing merchandise so over time, people will start to wear the brand as well,” said de Bruijn. “There will be a lot of different things, but the big idea is we want to be a part of the community and hopefully the people will spread the word.”
This article was first published in the Dec. 21-28, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
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