HILL AIR FORCE BASE – Varsity soccer at Hill AFB provides athletes an opportunity to practice, compete locally and challenge their skills annually at the Defenders Cup military soccer tournament in San Antonio.
At this year’s Defenders Cup tournament, hosted annually by Joint Base San Antonio over the Labor Day weekend, Hill FC gave it their all, but failed to advance to the knock-out stage.
Player coach Devin Swanson, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center system engineer, said while they were disappointed with the result, their experience at this year’s Defenders Cup will make them a better team.
“As a group of competitive individuals, it’s never enjoyable to lose,” he said. “We will take our lessons, implement new ideas and strengthen our resolve to make a run at next year’s (tournament).”
Helping lead the team to perform closer to their potential is Maj. Chris Brown, a reserve F-35A pilot with the 466th Fighter Squadron and starting center back on the All-Air Force soccer team.
“He is a natural leader on the field, and we are fortunate to have him here at Hill AFB,” Swanson said. “He brings incredible familiarity with tactics and charisma to our defensive posture and has a commanding ability to control our defensive line.”
Swanson said an important aspect of Hill FC’s existence is developing and maintain partnerships with other teams as they interact regularly in the local community, regional soccer community and the broader US Armed Services soccer community, representing the Air Force and Hill AFB to the best of their ability.
“We’ve grown partnerships with neighboring bases, including Mountain Home AFB, Nellis AFB, Peterson AFB and Fort Carson, allowing for several varsity friendly matches to happen,” he said. “We’ve partnered with Real Salt Lake and grown relationships and provided friendly scrimmages with several local soccer programs including the United Premier Soccer League, high school programs and youth soccer.”
Internally, Swanson said the opportunities afforded by varsity sports, intramurals and outdoor recreation sporting events can build proud DoD members who are excited to be part of the greater mission.
“In recent years, some military members expressed their excitement to PCS to Hill AFB because of the program we have here,” he said. “Broadly speaking, healthy people make for healthy employees.”
Having led Hill FC since 2018, Swanson said his association with team members is a real honor, especially as he’s built many lasting friendships regardless of rank or position.
“I love that the typical military borders are broken down, as everyone becomes equal on the playing field,” he said. “Knowing that I’ve had a hand in developing and offering these opportunities to so many is something that I’m proud of and am excited to continue.”
For more information about Hill varsity soccer, email Swanson at firstname.lastname@example.org.