For the last 15 years the name Watershed Football Club has been synonymous with adult, recreation league soccer in the Swannanoa Valley.
Named for the former Black Mountain bar and music hall in which the the club was conceived, it - at nine teams - has grown into the largest club in the Asheville Buncombe Adult Soccer Association. As spring season gets underway, the now fully organized Watershed FC continues its tradition of garnering support from local businesses.
Sponsorships for the club are a virtual who’s who of local businesses, according to Eric Robinson, the president of Watershed FC.
Team sponsors include Dark City Deli, whose team plays in the Open 3rd division, and Red Radish, whose team plays in the Over 40 2nd division. Pisgah Brewing and fellow Black Mountain brewerey Lookout Brewing Co. sponsor two teams. Berliner Kindl sponsors Watershed FC’s only womens’ team. Robinson attributes the club’s growth to the support it gets from the community.
“It’s really great that so many local businesses are involved in what we’re doing,” he said. “And obviously we couldn’t be doing what we’re doing without them.”
Between 30-40 members of the Watershed FC were on hand at Pisgah Brewing Co. last week where Robinson and club secretary Ray Nightingale passed out navy blue jerseys that the club will wear during the spring season.
“I think soccer in general is just getting more and more popular, especially in and around Western North Carolina,” Nightingale said. “Our membership is the highest it’s been.”
In the fall of 2015 the club, which was originally established in 2002 by Benji Ford and Todd Dy, organized and became a nonprofit organization. The move will allow Watershed FC to have a bigger impact on the soccer world in the Swannanoa Valley, according to Robinson.
“We’re trying to do more community outreach with the club,” he said. “We want to reach out to the community and really help the sport continue to grow locally.”