David Lindholm - Stockade FC Coach

Stockade FC

One of my favorite stories over the last couple of years has been that of Stockade FC. The club was founded by Dennis Crowley and has been referred to as "Open Source Soccer" as the club is incredibly transparent about every single thing that they do. If you haven't had a chance to read up on them, I highly suggest starting with this blog post from Dennis Crowley himself.

In only their second season, Stockade FC have been crowned champions of their league, the Atlantic White conference, and travel to play Clarkstown SC Eagles in the NPSL Northeast Region semifinals on Saturday July 22nd. The playoffs have implications for the NPSL teams with the US Open Cup on the line for them, and this is a big deal for Stockade FC as playing in the US Open Cup was an early goal that the club set out to achieve.

The Stockade FC coach is David Lindholm. This is his first with the club, and only the second coach in the club's history. I first met David a number of years ago when he worked PR for Chivas USA before heading off and doing the same for the Colorado Rapids. I heard a few months ago that David had been hired as the coach for Stockade FC and I thought it was a great story. David had worked on the corporate side of MLS for many years, and now he finds himself coaching a young team in the NPSL.

I spoke with David recently to find out more about how his journey has arrived at this point, how he became the coach of Stockade FC and what the experience thus far has been like.

I coached after college and won a national championship. I did some coaching before going to work in MLS, and that actually helped me get the job and I think it helped me be a good PR guy. But I missed being on the field everyday.

Part of the story of me ending up at Stockade FC begins with my MLS connection. Dennis had been playing in NYC with some guys from the league and we had a common connection there and knew some of the same people within the sport. 

When I left MLS I moved on to an assistant coaching role at the University of Massachusetts. I was there for a year and then ended up moving to a small D3 school before moving to Bard College in the Hudson Valley to work with the soccer program. So I was here when the opportunity came about to work with Stockade FC.

Being a new coach in a situation like this is interesting. No one is being paid. There aren't guarantees for the players that were here last season. The team consists of about half college players and half with guys that just want to continue their soccer careers. The really cool thing is that every player on the team has a connection to this area. That is something that makes this club special and has helped us really connect with the local market. 

Everyone around here wants to see us win, but the fans also want to see players that they have a connection with. The fans love being friends and families with the players. As we move forward we would like to bring in some players that may be from other areas, but we will need them to create a connection with the community. I've been able to get to know this community through this experience and its an amazing place.

We recently had the biggest crowd in our club history come out to watch a game and there seems to be a nice buzz around with us in the playoffs. It's been great to get buy in from local businesses and fans and media. We need that as much as we can.

One of my biggest surprises in my first season has been on the player side - the commitment that the players have all shown has been incredible. Some of these guys work full time jobs and play on this team and they play at a high level. They want to train as much as they possibly can and that is an awesome thing to see. And I think it bodes really well for American soccer in general. We are going to have guys like this that recognize that they can play at a high level even if the structure might not be in place for them to be able to make this their living. Some of these guys travel up from New York City and pay their way to play on this team. It is our hope that we'll be able to cut some of that paying that they do down because we want to reward them. But their commitment and their level of intensity has been really awesome to see. 

Players like this bode well for American soccer and I also think a club like Stockade FC bodes well for the future of soccer in America. This club is obviously quite new and their story is just beginning. But it's one that I believe we will all want to watch as it unfolds now and in years to come.