Blue Side FC
Tell us about your club?
Blue Side FC was started out of Frederick, MD in the Spring of 2018 from the birth of two simultaneous ideas coming together. A few of us were attending the USC Coaches Convention in Chicago when we got talking at dinner one night with some of the older coaches we were there with about the men’s league team they had all been a part of in the past called Bushwallers FC. This got our wheels turning about starting a team of our own as most of us were just coming out of college and not really playing a whole lot. At the same time, some guys that we played with at the local indoor facility had approached some of us about putting a team in to the Mason-Dixon League, the local league based in Frederick County.
The energy from the two ideas was enough to make push come to shove and next thing we know a team is being assembled and guys are being asked about their interest. It all happened fairly quickly. The result of those efforts was a team filled with a bunch of friends who happened to be decent at soccer. That is really what the team is all about still to this day.
So why Blue Side FC?
We get our name Blue Side FC from the local bar & restaurant that sponsors us in Downtown Frederick, MD known as The Blue Side Tavern, Frederick’s Footy Bar. Mike Long, the owner, is a local soccer coach in the area and a former men’s league player himself, a part of the Bushwallers FC team we mentioned above. Mike was totally on board for sponsoring our team and has been supportive since day one. His vision and ours is that Blue Side FC is a spiritual successor to Bushwallers FC, which was named after another bar in Downtown Frederick.
Our motto, “Music, Food, and Football” is the same motto as the restaurants and you can often find us hanging out there on Sunday evenings and Saturday nights.
What's the story on your (great) crest design?
The crest is a combination of The Blue Side Tavern’s own logo, the city of Frederick’s skyline known as the ‘Clustered Spires’, and some additional soccer elements. It was created by Kyle Shields, who is a member of Blue Side FC. I basically went to him with rough ideas of having a crest that incorporated the restaurants logo and the city skyline in some way. I just gave him the reigns after that and what he came back with was spectacular and seems to have resonated with people!
Last we spoke you were in a different league, but joined up with MMSL, can you tell us about that decision?
Our goal when starting the team was always to try and get in to the Maryland Majors. We always felt that the Maryland Majors was the best league to be in and we wanted to see how we’d fare against that competition. Our 2018 Spring and Fall campaigns in the Mason-Dixon League were essentially pilot campaigns just to get a read on what all goes in to fielding a team every Sunday.
We managed to sweep the Mason-Dixon regular season and playoffs each season, but it didn’t come without some bumps as we struggled for numbers a good bit in both seasons. Truth be told we were initially planning on playing in the Mason-Dixon League again at the end of the last Fall season based on how the numbers on Sundays had been. It wasn’t until we played in the Rowland and Morton Cups put on by the MSSA that we changed our tune. We made semi-final runs in both competitions and while those runs certainly didn’t end how we wanted them to, it made us realize that we were capable of travelling a little farther distances while getting enough guys out there to keep a good standard of play. So the decision was made to make the jump!
Four matches in, three wins, that's a quick start. Why so successful so quick?
We’ve got a lot of guys who have been playing together on different teams in one form or another for a long time now, so the chemistry is just naturally there from the get go. On top of that, the guys who haven’t been a part of those long standing groups are all just smart soccer players, so they fit right in and it clicks.
There is also something to be said for how we approach our games on Sundays. We are just out there trying to enjoy ourselves and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. That atmosphere definitely has an effect on how we perform.
What's the background on your roster? What level of play, etc?
Our roster is mainly composed of former D3 college players. The school with the most representation on the team is Hood College, located right here in Frederick, but we have guys who played in all sorts of different places. The other thing a lot of our players share in common is that many of us played club soccer together for FC Frederick, the local premier youth soccer club in Frederick County.
There is a group of us who now coach for FC Frederick as well, so some of us have pretty busy weekends every now and then. A few of our members have graced FC Frederick’s NPSL roster (2018 Mid Atlantic Champions, shout out to them) and almost all of us have played for their CCL Pro23 team. We also have some guys on our roster who we’ve met through our weekday nights playing at FISC (Frederick Indoor Sports Center). Our criteria for joining the group goes like this: 1. Are you a good soccer player? 2. Are you a good hang?
What are your chances of promotion?
Going in to the season we felt confident that at the very least we would be vying for promotion at the end of the year. Sitting on a 3-1 record right now we are definitely still in the running to find ourselves in one of the promotion matchups. We know we are a good enough team to be playing in the 1st division, but there are also some others teams who can say the same about themselves. It’s going to come down to us taking it game by game each week and earning the opportunity to play for promotion. If that opportunity comes and we can get the ball rolling that night then there’s a good chance we can make things happen.
You play in a league that has a limited number of clubs embracing social media, any thoughts (or desire) on making a bigger splash?
There are a few teams in our league who are making a concentrated effort to do a lot of cool stuff on the social media side of things. In Division 1 you have teams like Christos and World Class Premier who are very active on social media given their success as teams. Then you have teams in the 2nd Division doing their bit as well. A team like Motorik FC Alexandria is a great example of a club making a bigger splash through social media, they are really on top things and are always keeping the timelines interesting. More teams trying to be more visible on social media can never be a bad thing.
As for our role, we definitely see ourselves as allies to other clubs looking to do more on social media but maybe not the ones blazing the trail ourselves. We’ll always support everyone else, but everything that we do always comes back to the reason we started the team, which in essence was to have fun. Having a Twitter page allows us to enhance our experience off the field and has already created a lot of memorable moments, but there isn’t a burning desire to take it any farther than that.
How does your club measure success this year?
Promotion is our goal on the field, but, to hit on a recurring theme, this team wasn’t started to go on an adult soccer league war path. It was started to have two reasons to hang out with friends and make new ones every weekend. Saturday night and Sunday morning. If we get through the year still enjoying ourselves the same as we always have and getting some more people to enjoy it with us then that would be a success. The result on the scoreboard is just a byproduct of that.
What player should we know from your club?
Without a doubt the player that you need to know about is Joseph Benton. While he spends his weekdays working a human resources job and many of his weeknights and weekends coaching his club soccer team, he still finds time on Sunday mornings to terrorize opposing defenders. A founding member of Blue Side FC, Joe bears an extremely striking resemblance to Toby Flenderson, a character from The Office (2005-2013), sharing the same profession and all. Known also as the “Secret Weapon” to teammates, Joe strictly wears only turf shoes and the latest up-to-date recreation spectacles when taking the field for Blue Side FC. If you come to play us on Sunday and you don’t see Joe on the sideline warming up, consider yourselves lucky and thank whatever god or deity you believe in for sparing you.
There is also our leading scorer Shawn Baker, who some think is kind of important.
What else should we know about Blue Side FC?
Most of this pretty much covers us really! We’re a group of guys from Frederick, MD who enjoy hanging out with each other and winning soccer games on the side. We prefer trophies with open cups, scoring not conceding, and buckets over bottles. BSFC, Music, Food, Football!