Bragg United FC is a soccer team started in May 2016 by several serious soccer players at Fort Bragg. The original goal was to get a team together for the 14th Annual Defender’s Cup National Military Soccer Tournament at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, said Errol Cumberbatch, a coach of the team.
Errol and his compatriots held tryouts for Soldiers in May 2016 and were surprised by the turnout.
“We had a very huge showing on day one, roughly 80 to 100 Soldiers came out, which was more than we anticipated, but that was a good sign,” Cumberbatch said.
They narrowed the team down to 40 players by the end of tryouts, and the team practiced twice a week all summer to prepare for the tournament.
Cumberbatch said he and the other coaches had a tough decision to make when they had to whittle the 40 players down to the 22 permitted by the Defender’s Cup tournament.
“It was kind of challenging because there was a lot of talent out there,” he said.
The team of 22 traveled to San Antonio over Labor Day weekend for the tournament, which featured 45 teams from all branches of the military. The team from Fort Bragg won the tournament, despite only playing together for a few months.
Cumberbatch is hoping to receive garrison sanctioning for the team, and he and the other coaches are currently in the process of applying for that sanction. He said this support is critical for future success of the team.
Bragg Soccer FC plans to attend this year’s Defender’s Cup in September, and will hold open tryouts March 13 to 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Towle Stadium. Soldiers should bring cleats and shinguards.
If chosen for the team, players will have practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 6 to 8 p.m., from June through late August. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/BraggUnitedFC.