Federal City Wanderers
We spoke with Amit Singh, manager and captain of the club, to find more about Federal City Wanderers. This club is the reigning DC Premier League champs and this year’s only Open Division team from D.C. in the U.S. Open Cup.
What’s your background in soccer?
I started playing soccer when I was 5 years old right here in the nation's capital. I remember my very first game like it was yesterday. I consistently ran away from the ball, and my only contribution to the game was protecting my face from a throw-in with both my hands. For some reason, after that game, I really wanted to learn to play soccer and don't exactly remember when I made the transition from running away from the ball to scoring goals, but it happened at some point. My parents were very supportive of me wanting to play, and that gave me the passion for the game that I still hold today.
Fast-forward to high school, I co-captained the School Without Walls HS soccer team for my junior and senior years with Oliver Samuel-Jakubos, a current fellow Federal City Wanderer teammate. It's a fairly small school, so we both started all 4 years for our varsity team and had a total blast playing together.
At Carleton College, I tried out for the school team and didn't make it my freshman year. The team was full of fantastic players, some of whom are now teammates of mine funnily enough, and I was this skinny kid with quick feet but only moderate endurance, so it wasn't too surprising that I didn't make the cut. I played pickup and intramural soccer for the rest of the year, but that ultimately wasn't enough. My sophomore year (2010), a friend of mine and I decided to create a club soccer team there, and it absolutely took off. Today, the club has around 35 members and it is an incredibly well-run and tight-knit group of kids. I am filled with tons of joy whenever I think about that.
Talk a bit about Federal City Wanderers. Club history, your league, etc.
Federal City Wanderers was originally World Bank/City FC, a WPL [editor: Washington Premier League] team formed back in 2008. There was a very strong core of players on that team, but as that core got older, more and more people left and finding quality replacements was difficult. I took over managerial duties, with help from Ben Mingo, a current team member and assistant manager, for the team in the spring of 2016 and had to do a complete rebuild, with only Ben, Spencer Gottlieb and myself as the surviving members of that team. We struggled to find quality players. Sometimes, it would even be tough to field 11 players (games on Sunday nights in VA [editor: DC’s Northern Virginia suburbs] were a tough sell).
Thankfully, District Sports formed a men's league called District Sports Premier (now called DC Premier League), a league that has high ambitions for itself as a premier soccer league in the DMV area. Having grown up in DC and playing a lot of District Sports post-college, I knew plenty of players that were interested in playing Sunday afternoons in DC vs Sunday nights in VA. The decision to switch was easy, and from there, the quality of our team skyrocketed to where it is today. The team name "Federal City Wanderers" was inspired as a result of our move from the WPL to District Sports Premier, the idea being we go around the DMV area playing and winning games.
The core of the team is the team itself. We have a very tight-knit group of committed players that are fantastic on the field, and are friends off the field. To quote Jackie Moon from Semi-Pro, "everybody love everybody". That is what makes our team as good as it currently is.
What are some short term and long term goals for the club?
The short term goal, of course, is to win as many games and championships as possible. The long term goals are to develop the club in a positive and fun way while also consistently improving on the field. The ultimate dream would be to become so good that we advance all the way to the US Open Cup and have Federal City Wanderers play an MLS team, like Christos FC did when they played DC United.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a club and as owner/operator of the club?
Honestly, the biggest challenge is keeping everyone happy, which I think we do a good job of. Every single player on our roster is a really good player, and they all deserve to play more than they do. I am extremely blessed to be able to play with a group of guys that have all bought into the idea of team success above individual success. They're willing to take subs even when they can easily keep playing just to give some playing time to a fellow teammate. While there is competition within the squad, we all push each other to become better players while also keeping an incredibly positive environment. Without this balance, we don't win the league last season, and I wouldn't be chatting with you guys right now.
Is there a player on your squad we should be on the lookout for?
We have fantastic players all over the field, each as important as the player to his left and right. Look out for any player in a Federal City Wanderers shirt.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about the club?
Just that, once again, we're excited about being DC's representative for US Open Cup qualifying, and we look forward to round 2 on October 20th! [Editor: Federal City has received a bye in the First Qualifying Round of the 2020 U.S. Open Cup.]