Locomotive on track for success

May 31, 2010|By ANDREW MASON

HAGERSTOWN -- Kids who want to play soccer in Washington County have plenty of choices: From the Hagerstown Area Youth Soccer League to the Hagerstown Soccer Club to the Hagerstown YMCA Soccer Association to the Boonsboro Area Soccer Club to Smithsburg Youth Athletics to Williamsport Youth Soccer to the Clear Spring Soccer Club and so on.

Now, beginning this year, there also is Locomotive FC.

But does the county really need another youth soccer organization?

"I say yes, because we're different," said David Jones, Locomotive FC's director of coaching. "If we're doing things the exact same way as everyone else, there's no room for us. But we feel there's a niche for what we're going to do."

Locomotive FC has billed itself as "Washington County's Premier Developmental Soccer Club."

"Locomotive is eventually going to be a high-level travel soccer club. That's our endgame," Jones said. "The other local clubs don't have those aspirations. ... At Locomotive, we see ourselves at the top of the pyramid."


Jones, 37, of Hagerstown, certainly has the soccer credentials to get a project like this off the ground.

The former St. Maria Goretti star, who played at Elon University, holds several U.S. Soccer Federation coaching licenses and is a past president of FC Frederick, one of the region's top travel clubs.

"I feel like I know the game at a very deep level," Jones said. "And that's what Locomotive is going to offer: The teaching of soccer at a very deep level."

The club is set to begin its first season this fall with boys and girls teams at U10, U12 and U14 and "age-group pools" at U6 and U8. There will be U16 and U18 teams in the spring.

"We've really started to gain a lot of momentum," Jones said. "We've got the business structure in place, we've got the soccer structure in place, we've got the coaching personalities in place and registration (online) is going very well."

Tryouts will be held next week at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown, beginning Monday. For information, visit the club's Web site at or contact Jones at

Jones said the biggest difference between Locomotive and other local organizations is "the soccer teaching, the depth of the soccer teaching."

"It's much easier to build your own soccer culture than change someone else's," he said. "We want to develop a culture where the kids are performing at the highest possible level."

Jones also said he understands child-development levels.

"If we have a 6-year-old player, all we're trying to do is help her to be a better 7-year-old, not a 19-year-old," he said. "You create soccer activities to help kids mature through their ages."

"Our teaching through U12 is about the individual player only," he added. "It's not about the coach, and it's not about the team. That is completely different than what anyone else in this area is doing.

"I believe that we, as coaches, are in service to our players, not the other way around. The teams at Locomotive are Locomotive's teams, not the coaches' teams. They do not exist because of us. We exist because of them."

Several coaches and leaders from some of the area's other soccer organizations have had a hand in starting Locomotive.

"The soccer community here is very fractured," Jones said. "One of our goals is to find some cohesiveness."

That also might improve the county's overall level of play during the high school season.

"Two of the best high school teams in the state, Tuscarora and Urbana, play together on the same soccer field at FC Frederick every week," Jones said.

Earlier this spring, Jones resigned as head varsity coach of the Smithsburg girls soccer team so that he could devote more time to Locomotive FC and his family, he said. He spent one season with the Leopards.

"I love those kids, and I loved being there for that year," he said.

The Herald-Mail Articles