SMOKEY POINT, WA— You may not have come out to see the Steelheads play in person yet in their 3 seasons of existence, but chances are that if you follow Washington state soccer on social media you’ve at least heard about Snohomish County FC. There is a reason for that, and his name is David Falk.
David is the Steelheads’ not so secret weapon in the battle to promote local players and build a club for Snohomish County. He’s in charge of all the online sites the club runs, from right here at SnoCoFC.com to a bevy of social media pages. He’s also the club’s General Manager and handles player registration, finances, works with Technical Director of Soccer Dagi Kesim on coordinating the office with the soccer side, and guides the decision-making processes for the Fish as an organization.
It was Falk who registered the club as a non-profit corporation and applied to have them join the Western Washington Premier League. David recently also sent in the application for the Steelheads to compete in the 2020 Washington State Super Cup.
From Kitsap to Snohomish (All season long)
For many years Falk ran the former local soccer news website goalWA.net. He was also the Media Director of the EPLWA, WISL and NWPL over a 5-year span. His online life was all about soccer, but he kept looking for new challenges, eventually going from active fan to entrenched participant.
“I let my Sounders season tickets lapse a few years ago,” David tells SnoCoFC.com. “I just wasn’t getting the emotional return on taking the boat from Kitsap County over to the matches. I am still a fan, but now I watch the Sounders online and my money and passion (and talents) are going into the Steelheads.”
Kitsap County? Yep. Falk lives in Port Orchard. So when he travels for a Steelheads home match it is an all-day commitment. It’s 105 miles one way, through the belly of the Puget Sound Metroplex. When he finally gets to Lakewood High School in Smokey Point he starts the set-up and any number of volunteers and early arriving players jump in to help.
In 2020 Falk has hopes of seeing volunteers to take tickets, serve pizza, and even run public address. (Want to chat about volunteering? Contact David at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Putting Words into Action
The hashtag #SupportLocalSoccer is popular around the United States with folks who think small clubs deserve more love. Falk has always felt this way, too. But when the Steelheads launched and then stuttered a bit, he decided it was time to go far beyond a catchy phrase. To actually do it. He became the GM in 2018 and the Steelheads have benefitted ever since.
In the Falk era, the Fish started scheduling more matches, created a “Founders Club,” joined the WWPL, picked a home venue (Lakewood High School in Smokey Point), organized multiple successful open tryouts, set up travel to Wenatchee and Salem, Oregon (to play the USL Two Timbers U-23), began selling season passes, recruited photographer Glen Moffitt to shoot their first league season…and then in the midst of it all, capped off 2019 with a league championship.
A Part of Something Special
“The only reward for me in all of this (work, dedication, time, money) is really seeing the soccer family of players get to play matches,” David explains. “It was amazing to see a trophy in our first league season, but what was really cool was how it made our guys feel, and how it has become a solid building block for the club.”
“You can’t put a money value on being a part of something special,” he says. “Being one of the original founders of the Emerald City Supporters was special. Standing with under 2,000 other die-hards at CenturyLink Field in the old USL Sounders days…that was special. Walking out on that very pitch and introducing something called the “Cascadia Cup,” long before MLS made it famous…that was special. But you know what, I wouldn’t trade anything for where I am right now, running a club an entire county has needed for so long.”
Making the Steelheads Matter
“I just want the Steelheads to matter,” Falk continues. “To matter to players, to coaches, and eventually to a community as well. The only way I know how to make that happen is to do the hard daily work and to keep plugging away at it.”
So Falk does his thing, all the while looking for signs that the Fish are swimming in the right direction. Off of the pitch the Fish are getting coverage in the North County Outlook, were featured in the Everett Herald, and have fans around the globe thanks in part to a popular Twitter page.
Fresh Air and Standing in Cold Water
He is always around what Snohomish County FC does, online and on the pitch, but Falk likes to take a supporting role rather than be in the spotlight. He knows it is the coaches and players that belong on that stage.
Whatever it takes.
“We are really on our own timetable as a club,” Falk concludes. “We know progress when we see it, but we want to be around for years and years. We want people to find us, and as our 2020 hashtag says, #gethooked. But everyone knows you can fish all weekend and only get a few bites. So you better love fresh air and standing in cold water.”
And don’t forget to pack your not so secret weapon in that tackle box. You might hook a few sooner than anyone is expecting.