Until I joined the Podcast team on Across the Pitch to initially speak about my club-Accrington Stanley, Football/Soccer in the US had largely passed me by.
Apart from watching clips of Franz Beckenbauer, George Best and Pele playing in the NASL in the 1970’s and taking a brief interest in the exploits of English players such as David Beckham and Wayne Rooney, I rarely thought about the game I love on the other side of the Atlantic.
However through a combination of meeting my co-hosts Arran Airs and Phil Kennedy (who are massive Phoenix Rising fans) and my thirst for football knowledge, I started to get drawn into the US Football scene, mainly due to the exciting rate at which the sport is growing in America and decided I needed a team to follow to make things more interesting.
I would love to have a romantic story of where my interest in Loudoun United FC started, but I won’t lie, as it comes down to a single tweet about the building a new purpose built soccer stadium which caught my attention. So that was it-Loudoun was the team I was going to follow and what a good choice it turned out to be to follow, where I can monitor the progress and give my take on proceedings from afar!
The supporters, staff and even the head coach of the club have been fantastic in welcoming the interest of a random guy from the North of England.
For people reading the blog on the ATP website and who may not be familiar with Loudoun United FC and perhaps reading in the UK, the club play in the USL Championship Eastern Division which is the level below the MLS and based in Leesburg, Virginia and were established in 2018, making their debut season in 2019, finishing in a highly respectable twelfth place in the first term.
Coach Ryan Martin is assembling is squad ahead of the forthcoming season and one interesting signing is Estonian International forward Erik Sorga, who despite being just 20 years of age, has scored over 40 goals for Flora in Estonia and broke into national team and scored his first international goal in September last year-Erik is definitely a player to watch out for this season!
I plan on producing a regular blog as the season progresses, and would like to include a Loudoun feature on one of our Podcasts on Across the Pitch. If any Loudoun supporters (especially members of the Loudoun Stampede supporters group) would like to contact me with their thoughts, you can follow me on Twitter @PitchDarren or via email Stanley_darren@hotmail.com
Darren Woodhead is a Soccer writer from the UK who has written three books about his beloved club-Accrington Stanley who play in League One of the EFL. His latest book released in 2019, commemorates 50 years since the club started. Darren is also a member of the Across the Pitch Soccer Podcast team, who cover the game in both the UK and US and writes for various sources. Through working on the Podcasts, he decided it was time for him to find a team to follow in the States and chose Loudoun United!