1990-1995 The Beginning
The club was founded in November 1990 by J. C. Cummings and a group of interested players with a typically Washingtonian meeting to discuss creating a soccer program to begin operating under the umbrella of the DC Sports Association which was the GLBT sports group of the time. The club began playing in January 1991 with indoor drills and small-sided games at Mackin Gym on California St. near Dupont Circle twice a week on Thursday nights and Sunday mornings. At the time the club was largely a group of beginner players with a few more advanced folks sprinkled in. From Day 1 the Federal Triangles were a coed group. One favorite early tradition was going to lunch at Zorba’s on Connecticut Ave after Sunday’s play.
You may wonder where the name “Federal Triangles” comes from. When we first started there really was no name. We were the soccer program of DC Sports. Almost immediately other teams around the country who were in a loose confederation at the time started reaching out to us including the NY Ramblers, Philadelphia Falcons (who had begun a year or so earlier) and the Atlanta Heat who were hosting a big international tournament in October 1991 that they wanted us to come to. We figured we needed a name and identity of our own. In the spring of 1991 we had moved outdoors for the first time and started playing on the Ellipse near the White House. Brainstorming for a name was a difficult task. Alan Gambrell suggested we call ourselves the “Federal Triangles” since Federal Triangle was nearby to where we played on the Ellipse and in those days (moreso than today) the triangle was a symbol of gay pride. So it had a good double meaning. JC devised our original logo which was a pink or fuchsia triangle with a soccer ball in the center. And the shorter nickname “The Feds” was created and incorporated in the logo, because everyone is afraid of the Feds.
At that point in time we were still more of a social group than a real soccer team given that there was relatively little soccer-playing experience in the group. Philly hosted a small weekend event in the spring of 1991. Three Feds players: Glenn Auve, Ward Morrison, and Dana Condelliere went to that event. We were placed on team and played in the freezing cold rain. The Philly guys provided amazing hospitality hosting us in their homes and showing us what a great community the gay soccer world is. We brought that news and excitement back to DC. It was decided that we would field a team in the big Atlanta tournament over Columbus Day.
Before the autumn tournament a group of 8-10 Feds drove up to Boston for their Pride weekend. More amazing hospitality was encountered there and it was a fantastic team bonding experience. Another group went up to NYC for their Pride weekend as well. In late summer or early autumn we invited Philly down for a little one day event so we could repay the welcome they extended to us. So, from an early date our bond with our friends in Philadelphia was solidified. Over the years Philly and DC have sent a combined team to several international tournaments.
Once Columbus Day arrived we piled into two minivans and drove down to Atlanta. On the way down one van decided that they wanted to play strip poker. Reports are that it became very quiet in that van as the game went on. We also stopped in Georgia just outside the city at a small place to get gas. Some one decided to rearrange the letters on the sign outside to say “Lesbians $.99” (I guess maybe you had to be there.) We were one of the few coed groups there. The feeling all through the weekend was one of real celebration. In those days being “out” was a much more difficult and political act. Despite our relative lack of experience we did manage to pull off a 1-0 victory over Atlanta’s “B” team on a goal by Glenn Auve with a brilliant assist by Heather Milton. The team was led by the tenacious play of several excellent players including Ward Morrison and Dana Condelliere. While we didn’t win any medals, we quickly established ourselves as a fun and friendly bunch.
Building on our successful first year, the club continued to attend tournaments and events with other teams in our community. A couple of our members including JC Cummings and Heather Milton joined with leaders of other teams to form what eventually became the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association (IGLFA). The IGLFA was set up to help organize large tournaments for all of the various member teams and also to help other teams get started in cities that didn’t have them yet. The 1992 tournament was in New York, 1993 in Los Angeles, 1994 at the Gay Games in New York, and 1995 in Berlin, Germany. The Feds finished 3rd in the Second Division and took the bronze medal at the Gay Games in New York.
In addition to the trips to other cities the Feds started playing in a coed league in Alexandria. We played on the horrible, grass-free field at Four Mile Run. It was not the most positive experience soccer-wise. We did have a very famous spectator at one match though as English great John Barnes stopped by to see his sister Gillian play. I don’t remember if we played any better in that match, but it was a novel expereince. Gillian played with us for several years before she moved away.
For the 1993 March On Washington for LGBT rights we hosted a small one day tournament on the fields next to the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool. Players registered as individuals and were painstakingly placed together into teams based on mixing gender, experience, preferred positions, etc. The event was a great success and the following day we all marched together.
Unfortunately beginning with the 1994 Gay Games the women in the club moved on to other things and for several years we were a mostly male group.
1996-2000 Tournament Hosts
By the mid-1990s the Feds had experienced a number of ups and downs. The arrival of Meade Thayer from Boston took us in a new, more professional direction. Meade had been one of the strong leaders of the Boston Strikers club. He moved to DC for his work, and the Feds were lucky to have him here. Meade tried a number of new coaching ideas and ultimately the club entered a team into the Washington International Soccer League (WISL).
Under Meade’s leadership a new tradition was introduced that was borrowed from his time in Boston. The club would host an annual Over 30/Under 30 competition the weekend before Thanksgiving. This was a friendly, co-ed match open to everyone. Being held at a field locally in the Washington, DC area, this one day event grew each year. Much further down the road, the tradition started to take on a new look (or rather, the faces started getting older and we were constantly adjusting it to the Over 35/Under 35, Over 37/Under 37, etc.!). The name was changed in 2005 to the Turkey Bowl. The style remained the same– friendly, co-ed, and open to all but as numbers grew it turned it a day-long tournament!
The IGLFA continued to hold its annual tournament. In 1996 it was held in Dallas. In the lead up to that event we decided that we would bid to host the tournament in 1997. A host committee was formed including JC Cummings, Glenn Auve, David Vos, Meade Thayer, Barry Skown, Heather Milton, Dan Hayes, and Barrett Brick. Support from the DC Mayor’s office was obtained along with the City Council. Kevin Payne, the President of DC United, agreed to become a member of our honorary board. JC Cummings had worked on the 1994 FIFA World Cup Washington host committee and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics Washington host committee (several of the soccer matches for the Olympics were played at RFK Stadium). He used those contacts to gain us more support in the soccer community and John Koskinen also signed on to our honorary board. At the tournament in Dallas we were awarded the right to host…and the real work began. The matches were played at the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool fields again. It was arguably the greatest venue ever for an IGLFA tournament at least in terms of being in the middle of the city’s tourist attractions. It was the largest tournament up until that date and included a women’s tournament for the first time (outside of the Gay Games). The finals were played at the RFK Stadium auxiliary fields which were both grass in those days. In addition to the play on the field there were also a number of social events highlighted by a reception hosted by the Royal Netherlands Embassy.
In 1998 we traveled to Amsterdam for the Gay Games. While some Feds players had gone to the tournament in Berlin, this was the first time we took a full team overseas. While we didn’t win any matches, we did play a couple of great games where we game back to draw. But just attending such a well organized tournament on immaculate fields was a real thrill. The opening and closing ceremonies took place at the Ajax Amsterdam Arena.
The original web site, put together by Craig Grimm, was launched on June 15th, 1998.
After years of having the Over 30/Under 30 relaxed tournament, The Feds took on a much more grand task– organizing a tournament in GLBT-friendly Delaware and making it a 3-day event. And so launched, in 1999, the first ever Rehoboth Beach Classic! The early years of Rehoboth were for teams and did not have the current format. Teams from New York and Philly came down to play. Things ended up being a little less relaxed and fun. So eventually the current Rehoboth format was created with individuals registering to play and being matched in small squads that are combined with others over the course of the weekend…a format borrowed from the Boston Strikers who have used it for a long time at their annual Provincetown tournament.
The 1999 IGLFA tournament took place later in the year in November in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. And in 2000 we headed back to Europe where we combined with Philly again to make a team for the tournament in Cologne, Germany. The event was in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Cream Team Cologne and the multisport GLBT sports group there. Once again the fields were fantastic and we had a fun time even if the results on the field weren’t so great. In addition to the IGLFA tournament a number of players went to Munich first for Oktoberfest and then took a boat ride up the Rhine to Cologne.
2001-2006 Growth and Renewal
The beginning of the new millenium saw what became a period of enormous growth for the club. While the club had continued to play in leagues like the Montgomery County Recreation Department League (MCRDL), in addition to the IGLFA events, the club had largely stagnated in terms of membership. But all of that changed when Andy Sylvia became president and led us on a growth path that was thanks in large part to a rebirth of the coed program with a team in Arlington and then a big influx of women. For the first time we were able to put teams in local women’s leagues. In 1998, there were 38 dues paying members. At the close of 2006, there were over 80!
The winter of 2003-2004 saw the first ever women’s league teams. Pioneers of the women’s side were Wendy Chun-Hoon and Melanie Lilliston. The original women’s team (called “FTSC”) had great success. Their inaugural season was in the spring of 2004. After their 4th season in existence, these ladies took the Division 1 Championship in the Washington Area Women’s Soccer League (WAWSL). Overall the successes of this team include two 2nd place finishes in Division 1, one 3rd place finish, and of course their 1st place finish (Fall 2005) as well as the Spring of ‘07 which saw them bumped back up to the Premier division!
The second outdoor women’s team formed, the“Arlington Feds” (see photos above) competes in the Arlington Women’s Soccer League (AWSL). This team first entered AWSL in the Fall 2005 season. In the Fall 2010 season, they posted their best finish, taking 2nd place after winning all of their playoff games (including beating the undefeated first place team!). Spring 2011 they got bumped up a division and continued to hold strong. The team competes in the women’s Open Middle division and is comprised of both intermediate and competitive level players.
On the men’s side league teams were still competing well in MCRDL and the Arlington coed team placed very well in their league.
The IGLFA tournaments kept happening as well. In 2001 the event occurred in London for the first time. The Feds entered a team and had a few other players join with Philly. In 2002 we traveled Down Under for the Gay Games in Sydney. And then 2003 we sent a group to Boston. In 2004 the tournament went to San Francisco. In 2005 we shifted back across the Atlantic to Copenhagen for another delightful event. The Feds sent two teams, one in the First Division and one in the Second Division that included some players from other cities including Feds alumni Brendan and Christian who moved to Seattle. This second division team finished as runners up to the champions from Japan. In 2006 there was some controversy in the LGBT sports world when Montreal and Chicago ended up holding competing events with the World Out Games happening in Montreal and the Gay Games going to Chicago. The Gay and Lesbian soccer world also split between the two. The Feds Division 1 men’s team won the gold medal in Montreal.
With the help of Michael Pranikoff and Michael Dumlao, the web page got a major overhaul in 2006.
2007-Present A Mature Club Thrives
By the end of 2007, FTSC broke into triple digits with 100+ members, and the numbers have kept increasing from there with over 150 paid members in recent years.
The current co-ed team competes in the Arlington Co-ed Kicks league, where it has previously taken the championship and continues to play competitively.
Women’s Teams Continue to Grow and Win
After some struggles (injuries, people moving) the FTSC women’s team was moved back to Division 1 (Fall 2009) and joined up with “Fusion” who had also lost several team members. Together in Division 1 they annihilated the field with an overall record of 8-1-0 (second place having a 4-3-2 record). Spring and Fall of 2010 they were in the Premiere division. As many of the original players started to look for a more relaxed pace (meaning, going to D1 instead of Premiere) this team came to a close after their Fall 2010 season.
FTSC’s third women’s outdoor team (inaugural season being fall 2006) was called “The Feds”. This team played in WAWSL Division 2 initially. Their second season was played in Division 3. During that second season, going undefeated and unscored upon, they took the season championship and went back into Division 2. The very next season (Spring 2008), back in Dvision 2, they won the championship again! Change has definitely occured with their skill level as they are by no means a beginner team. After WAWSL re-organized the divisions, this team remained in Division 2 (as some Division 1 teams were dropped down). Their Fall 2008 season saw 2nd place, Spring 2009 saw 4th place. But then, Fall 2009 saw them rise to the top again– getting their 3rd championship season as they went 8-0-1, and moved up to Division 1 in the Washington Area Women’s Soccer League. Their first season in Division 1 (Spring 2010) they finished middle of the pack and then the Fall 2010 season they got their 4th championship t-shirt– winning Division 1 with a 6-2-1 record! They were bumped up to Premiere and fought hard in the Spring 2011 season, but were then relegated back to Division 1 for Fall 2011. Games are on Saturdays, played in both DC and the MD suburbs.
For the Spring 2010 season– we introduced our 4th women’s team –Victorious Secret! After another burst of growth, there was a demand to start up a team that would enter into Division 3 in the Washington Area Women’s Soccer League (WAWSL). When The Feds team won the championship in Division 2 in the Fall 2009 season, that meant they were getting bumped up to Division 1. This created a need for another team, one that would be more for beginner/intermediate players– or those that just want to be able to take it a little easier. This team is kicked off their inaugural season in the spring of 2010 and they DOMINATED! With a conglomeration of beginners and intermediate players, their strength was truly in their beautiful communication on the field, their selfless passing, and their incredible spirit! They went 8 and 1, having lost only their very first game. As a result, they won their division and got bumped up to Division 2 for the Fall 2010 season where they finished in the top half of the division, going 4-4-1. The league re-distributed teams and got rid of Division 3, which bumped this team up to Division 1 for the Spring 2011 season.
Fall 2011 yielded yet another new women’s team – Vintage Feds. This team is our first ever Over 30 women’s team. Like a fine wine, we’ve aged well and still have the need for competitive play. This team has been entered into WAWSL’s Over 30 competitive division. They had an AWESOME first season– finishing 6-2!
The men’s league participation continued to grow as well. Now with two teams in WISL and three in MCRDL there are more FTSC teams than ever before across all our programs. Plus if you add in all of the indoor teams playing in a variety of leagues there is a team out there for everyone who wants to play in a league.
In 2009 we decided to once again host the IGLFA tournament here in Washington. Due to the growth in event it was not possible to stage it on the National Mall again. So we ended up out at the Maryland Soccerplex in Germantown. The logistics were a bit daunting, but we managed to get everyone out to the venue and back with tour buses for those who didn’t have their own cars. The finals were held at the gorgeous field at Washington Trinity University in Northeast. The tournament was a big success and proved once again that we have a strong organization here with many resourceful, hard-working members. The team that put this event together included Jim Ensor, Dennis Fish, Melanie Lilliston, Craig Williams, Danny White, Sami Holtz, Nick Napolitano, Arran Adams, Glenn Auve, Michael Pranikoff, and Stephen Strasser.
2010 saw the one of the most momentous events in club history with the introduction of our very own league! The Summer of Freedom league is a coed 9-a-side league designed to give players of all levels a chance to have a fun, friendly league experience. The weeknight league was a huge hit from the start and the second edition in 2011 grew larger still.
March 20th, 2010– FTSC hosted its first ever Women’s Winter Indoor Cup at the Rockville Sportsplex in Maryland. Eight teams competed in the tournament– four in the upper division and four in the lower. Teams included King Kong ‘Quishas (winner of upper division), FTSC (2nd place upper division), Surefire Way, FC Rebeldes, DC Feds (winners lower division), Booters (2nd place lower division), Philadelphia Falcons, and Arlington Feds. In the second year of the women’s tournament, we expanded to 14 teams (8 lower, 6 upper) with Pretty Princesses winning the upper division and Philadelphia Falcons winning the lower. The tournament continues under the tireless leadership of Colleen Lally.
On the club’s 20th anniversary we were a thriving community of men and women; GLBT and our straight friends all drawn together by our love of the game.
Glenn Auve 2012
— women’s history courtesy Colleen Lally