There are few relationships in life that are more special than a bond between a child and their father. Father’s Day is a great opportunity to take a moment and appreciate all that our fathers have done for us throughout our lives. For Brian Carroll, a father of three, Father’s Day is a reminder of how blessed he is and how his children have led him to a long successful career in Major League Soccer.
How It All Started
Before raising a family was even on Brian Carroll’s radar, he was a fresh faced kid from Springfield, Virginia. From his freshman debut, Carroll made an immediate impact at Wake Forest University. He was a durable, productive force for his soccer team, starting in all 61 matches he appeared in for the Demon Deacons and was named captain his final two years, racking up accolades all along the way.
As a junior, Carroll met his wife Katie, who was also attending Wake Forest. A semester after meeting Katie, BC was selected with the No. 11 overall pick by D.C. United in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft. Despite the distance, Carroll was committed to the love of his life.
“We met the semester before I was drafted by D.C. United and luckily I went to my hometown team and I was able to save some money and stay close to Wake Forest University,” Carroll said. “I could go and visit her when I had free time in the season. Long distance relationships don’t always work out great, but ours seemed to do just fine.”
After Katie graduated from Wake Forest, she and BC announced their engagement and tied the knot the following offseason. Despite constant suggestions from the family to add kids to the Carroll roster, BC and Katie held firm in enjoying each other’s company in the beginning of their marriage.
“We had no kids in D.C. That was just married life, as you can imagine with my folks being in town, my aunts and uncles being in town, we constantly got pressure to start the family,” Carroll said. “It was in a joking manner, but definitely the nudge to start the family and it was always a quick response from my wife and I that that’ll be project 2010.”
Off To Columbus
After five seasons in D.C. which included a MLS Cup victory, “Project 2010” would have to take place in a different city as Carroll was selected by San Jose in the MLS Expansion Draft, and then traded to Columbus in exchange for Kei Kamara.
True to their word, on Sept. 6th, 2010 BC and Katie welcomed their first of three children to the world as their son Aiden Carroll was born in Columbus Ohio, at Riverside Hospital. With the birth of Aiden, the dynamic of BC’s life changed from his time in The District.
“I think at D.C. it was about still being young. When we had our first in Columbus it started to switch to a family life, but our son was still so young and I was still in the prime of my career running around with tons of energy,” Carroll said.
The Union Gets Bigger
After securing another MLS Cup, this time in Columbus, Carroll was traded to Philadelphia in exchange for a Second Round MLS SuperDraft pick before the 2011 season. Shortly after arriving in Philadelphia, BC and Katie saw the birth of their second child as Grace Carroll entered their lives.
For BC, the joy of having a daughter was tremendous, but he knew his family wasn’t quite done growing.
“To have a boy first and a girl second, whether this is a good cliché or not they say that’s a rich man’s family,” Carroll said. “It was fun to have one boy and one girl, but I had a feeling my wife didn’t want to be done. She wanted one more and she got her wish.”
Katie did indeed get her wish, as the third and final addition to the Carroll family joined the crew as Noah Carroll was born six months ago. With their two sons and daughter, Katie and BC have grown their family to the point where they are playing zone defense in their house.
The Lessons Learned
Being a father is a huge responsibility no matter which way you break it down. The lessons you learn as a father are carried with you in every aspect of life. For BC, his experiences as a dad with his three kids have translated to the pitch for Philadelphia.
“With zero kids I thought I had patience. I thought I was a chill person, but I’ve had to learn to be even more patient and more understanding, and communicate better,” Carroll said. “I think that can translate to the locker-room, around the facility and on the training field.”
That patience has paid dividends for Carroll. Growing as a father has led to eyebrow raising numbers in his career. Carroll has started more games than any player in Union history (156), while racking up five goals and 13,819 minutes. Carroll also ranks fourth in MLS history with 370 appearances.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the happiness Carroll has at home has translated to the pitch throughout his career.
“It’s been a joy being a parent, a father and husband. I think those things have in one way or another helped me on the soccer field as well.” Carroll said.
One Final Note
Brian Carroll exemplifies class and professionalism on and off the pitch. His journey from being a top 15 draft pick, to winning MLS Cups, and becoming a father of three is a story that should be recognized. BC had one last note he wanted to share in this story.
“I just want to say a happy Father’s Day to my father. Thank you mom and dad for raising us the right way and giving us all the opportunities we have,” Carroll said. “I hope we do half as good a job as you guys did. Katie-- thanks for being an incredible wife and mother. Aiden, Grace and Noah, I love you guys and thanks for being who you are.”
On Sunday June 18th, Philadelphia Union will take on Eastern Conference rival New York Red Bulls on ESPN for a Father’s Day special.