Monmouth Light Football Club
This week’s Protagonist Spotlight allows a newborn club from New Jersey to shine its light on us. Monmouth Light FC, a team so fresh, the jerseys still have the smell of the Icarus warehouse on them, will be a project worthy of your time and attention. We shipped off some questions to frontman Joey Dico about what his club means to him, how he got started and what he plans to do with the platform—his answers were illuminating…
You were founded quite recently--when exactly and what was the inspiration?
The genesis story of Monmouth Light Football Club is something a bit unorthodox. For all of my adult life I have been a professional musician in various full-time touring rock bands; obviously starting small and intimately local as young a teenager, steadily shedding literally all other obligations in life in order to pursue music professionally. About a year ago I had come down with an abrupt case of tinnitus, quickly forcing me to abandon my unfathomably loud lifestyle. In the absence of professional musicianship and fueled by my endless desire to create, my other love of football starting taking center stage, as a vessel to re-circulate positive energy back into the world and for my own personal healing. This club was founded on all the principals I wanted to see and experience as a football fan, and as somebody who has been fortunate enough to know what it is like to be integrated in a local community based around a subculture.
What league are you currently a part of and is the nature of the club to stay there, or eventually seek a larger level?
We currently compete in the Garden State Soccer League, the largest and most prolific statewide league in New Jersey. The GSSL has 3 divisions of B, A, and Semi-Pro with the Semi Pro division currently home to one of the strongest teams in the country at the Semi Pro and NPSL level. I feel the ambition for any project should be for it to grow and be the greatest version of itself it can be and while we certainly do seek that regarding our on-field success, it is only our inaugural season and we are more focused on development right now both as a football club and as a brand.
Is the club politically active, or just try to stick to soccer? Does it reflect any personal inclinations or have fans or players had a chance to influence that?
For the most part the content we put out will be soccer and lifestyle specific, however with that being said we are currently living in some turbulent times politically in this country and it’s hard not want to stand up via your platform for which part of the divide you are on. Knowing my background as an artist I’m sure it’s not hard to grasp which side of the spectrum I would personally fall under. We are an all-inclusive club with a diverse roster and staff, and open tolerance of all walks of life is definitely something we regularly practice and celebrate within our club, that unfortunately even at the highest professional level is something that is still in the process of being normalized and that is a shame. Take from that what you will.
The badge is beautifully done, what was the inspiration; what are the elements and what do they mean to you?
The badge, as with the name is not actually supposed to be taken at face-value. On the surface, the inclusion of the word “Light” in our name as well as the lighthouse on the badge is an homage; a love letter if you will, to our home of Monmouth County, New Jersey which has the most lighthouses within the state. We are a locale that is intimately tied in and in tune with our beaches and the sea. However, the real meaning behind those elements lies in my concept for this entire project as a whole. This club was born out of the ashes of a very dark time in my life personally, the ‘light’ is abstract. It is the light at the end of the tunnel. It is the ‘light’ that people tell you spread in this world alongside love. It is the guiding energy of which we as humans harness to go on and achieve whatever we want with. We are more than just a sporting club; we are a collective of individuals serendipitously gathered by fate or otherwise to better ourselves as athletes and as people. We are the physical representation of that ‘light’. That concept is represented on the badge by the all-seeing eye at the top of the lighthouse. My idea was to give the badge a kind of illuminati cult-like, new world order type vibe, again a call back to me sort of hitting the reset button my life personally. The badge was physically designed in London by a lovely artist named Aimee Capstick, please follow her football club, Romance FC and her work.
Both your home and away kits are amazing, how much design influence did you have? Did you just let Icarus take the reins?
Rob from Icarus has been absolutely incredible throughout this entire journey and I truly owe a lot of what we are able to achieve branding wise to him. Initially I just gave him the proposed color pallets and general art-deco type vibe and from the very first mockup I knew we had the home kit down. On the away kit I knew I wanted to do some kind of roman floral type thing (as I’m a sucker for all-over prints) and sent him over the pattern, when he sent back the mockup I was in pure bliss, he totally did his own spin on it and created the stunning inverse white/gold trim around the color and sleeves as well as the side strip of shorts. I added the finishing touches by proposing the font and the rest is currently history. I really can’t say enough good things about Rob and Icarus as company. If you’re looking for truly custom kits for your club, please reach out to Icarus Football. I’m personally tired of seeing generic template after template of professional clubs’ kits, if we’re going to make the beautiful game look beautiful again, I guess it’s going to come from the lower leagues.
Some clubs really enjoy the spotlight and are trying to grow a presence/interest while other clubs aren't worried about generating a buzz--focused on the football... where do Monmouth Light FC fall in that spectrum?
We are definitely, definitely of the former. The one thing I knew I wanted to do when founding this club was that I didn’t want it to be just a group of 11 guys on a field every Sunday. I didn’t want it to simply start and end with the football. I saw every other smaller league club just keep its reach only to its members and realized that even though it’s not ‘professional’ there is a market not being exploited. Why think nobody but the squad is only going to care? Why not push this thing as far is it can go? Our biggest mission outside of on field success is to turn Monmouth Light FC into a recognizable brand, online and in person, as representative force of the power of lower tier soccer and the community it thrives in. I’m saying it here, and I’m saying it first; Monmouth Light Football Club will be the first team in America to have it’s own Sunday League series on Youtube. You can follow every single game, every single behind- the- scene every single piece of wonder and frustration that comes from running a lower league soccer club in the United States. We are not stopping until you can walk into any bar in New Jersey wearing our kit, and somebody else buys you a beer because of it. From all the years of being in a rock band, seriously making a career out of music means that the actual music part of the gig is only maybe 20%. That has to be the most genuine, absolute, and all encompassing and infinitely powerful 20%, but nonetheless it only represents a small fraction of the total puzzle. Welcome to my new indie rock band, there’s 25 of us.
Please follow our Journey here-
I wouldn’t be able to navigate the inner workings of a Football Club without having had the the opportunity to become one of the main media managers for FC Monmouth in the NPSL, they are slowly becoming our spiritual “big brother” club and the owners and staff are doing a literally unbelievable job in transforming and pushing the boundaries of what local soccer can truly be. Please follow their journey as well at-