Forward Madison FC

Forward Madison FC is an American professional soccer team based in Madison, Wisconsin. The team was founded in 2018, and is playing its inaugural season in 2019, competing in the third division of the US soccer league system, USL League One. The team plays their home matches at Breese Stevens Field.

Forward Madison FC
FoundedMay 17, 2018 (2018-05-17)
StadiumBreese Stevens Field
OwnerBig Top Events
Chief Operating OfficerConor Caloia
CoachDaryl Shore
LeagueUSL League One
20194th Place
Playoffs: National Semifinals
WebsiteClub website


In January 2018, it was announced that Big Top Events, which owns the Madison Mallards and has operated Breese Stevens Field since 2015, were planning on bring a soccer franchise to Madison which would begin in early 2019.[1] As part of the plan, Big Top Events looked to have $2 million invested into renovating the stadium, pending a contract renegotiation with the City of Madison.[2] Big Top Events wished to have a longer term lease, along with an increase in the number of concerts at the stadium, more employees at the venue, and $1.6 million from the city for facility upgrades.[3]

On May 15, 2018, the Madison City Council approved a new ten-year contract with Big Top Events. As part of the agreement, the city agreed to pay $1.3 million toward facility improvements.[4] This included an expansion of the stadium for a seating capacity of 5,000.[5] Following this, Madison were officially announced as the fourth founding member of USL League One on May 17, 2018.[6] The professional league, which is the third-division in the US soccer league system, began in March 2019.[7][8] Madison became the first team based in the Midwestern United States to join the league, and is the only current outdoor professional soccer team in Wisconsin.[9] Following the announcement, Peter Wilt was appointed as managing director of the team.[10] Madison is the sixth team Wilt has helped launch, having previously been involved in the formation of teams such as Chicago Fire and Indy Eleven.[11]

In June 2018, Madison Pro Soccer began a "Name Your Club" online voting contest to recommend a name for the team.[12][13] On July 16, it was announced that the final vote was between the names "Forward Madison FC/SC" and "AFC Madison".[14] The team name was announced in late 2018, with the club having chosen the name which won the online vote.[15] Forward Madison FC was announced as the official name on November 18, 2018.

On September 27, 2018, Daryl Shore was announced as the first head coach of Madison.[16][17] He will also serve as the technical director of the team.[18][19] Shore had previously worked in various roles at Chicago Fire with Peter Wilt, and served as the interim coach of Real Salt Lake in 2017.[20][21] In September 2018, Don Smart was the team's first player signing, which was announced on October 24.[22]

The club announced, on December 7, 2018, a one-year affiliation agreement with Minnesota United FC of Major League Soccer.[23]

Social media presence

The team started receiving national attention in January 2019, during the polar vortex, when the social media intern tweeted a photo of a plastic flamingo stuck in the snow accumulating on the field.[24] Within a few days, the snow became deep enough to cover the entire flamingo.[25] This second tweet went viral, ending up with over 22 thousand likes, and 7.8 thousand retweets.[26] "Full mingo" has become a catchphrase for both the team as well as supporters.


The team plays their matches at Breese Stevens Field in Madison, which was expanded from a grandstand capacity of 3,740 to 5,000.[27] The stadium, which was built in 1925, is the city's oldest sports park and is owned by the City of Madison and since 2015 has been operated by Big Top Events.[5] The venue has been designated as a city landmark since 1995, and in 2015 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[28] The stadium hosts the Madison 56ers and East High School soccer teams, the Madison Radicals ultimate team, as well as other sport competitions, concerts, and community events.[3]


Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
2019–present Hummel Dairyland Insurance

Jersey History



Current squad

As of November 18, 2019[29]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
3 MF Eric Leonard
7 FW Don Smart
11 FW Paulo Jr.
27 DF Christian Díaz
29 MF J. C. Banks
77 FW Jiro Barriga Toyama
92 GK Brian Sylvestre


Current staff

Coaching staff
Daryl Shore Head coach and technical director
Neil Hlavaty Assistant coach
Jim Launder Assistant coach
Sport management and organization
Conor Caloia Chief operating officer
Vern Stenman President



YearDivisionLeagueRegular SeasonPlayoffsUS Open Cup
20193USL14thNational Semifinals3R


  1. Becker, Abigail (January 19, 2018). "Breese Stevens Field operators take steps to draw minor league soccer franchise to Madison". The Capital Times. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  2. Arthur, Keely (January 24, 2018). "Events company looking to bring minor league soccer to Breese Stevens Field". WISC-TV. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  3. Mosiman, Dean; Wroge, Logan (January 25, 2018). "Madison weighs big changes for Breese Stevens Field". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  4. Becker, Abigail (May 8, 2018). "Finance Committee approves 10-year Big Top contract, upgrades at Breese Stevens Field". The Capital Times. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  5. Milewski, Todd D. (May 16, 2018). "In move toward pro soccer launch, City Council approves new contract with Big Top Events". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  6. "Madison Unveiled as Fourth USL Division III Founding Member". USL League One. May 17, 2018. Archived from the original on September 25, 2018. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  7. Milewski, Todd D. (May 18, 2018). "It's official: Madison pro soccer team will join USL Division III league as founding member in 2019". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  8. Becker, Abigail (May 17, 2018). "Breese Stevens Field will be home to Madison pro soccer team in 2019". The Capital Times. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  9. Williams, Marylee (May 18, 2018). "Madison Getting First-Ever Professional Men's Soccer Team". Wisconsin Public Radio. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  10. Milewski, Todd D. (May 17, 2018). "Big Top hires Peter Wilt to launch pro soccer team at Breese Stevens Field in 2019". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  11. Mahoney, Ridge (May 30, 2018). "Peter Wilt talks about starting up another soccer team in Madison, independent landscape and his days in Chicago and Indianapolis". Soccer America. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  12. Michael, Popke (May 31, 2018). "Big time soccer". Isthmus. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  13. Chappell, Robert (June 1, 2018). "Voting Underway to Name Madison's Pro Soccer Team". Madison365. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  14. "Name Your Club Finals". Madison Pro Soccer. July 16, 2018. Archived from the original on September 24, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  15. "Coming in September". Madison Pro Soccer. August 17, 2018. Archived from the original on September 24, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  16. "Head Coach Reveal Party". Madison Pro Soccer. September 25, 2018. Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  17. Lueneburg, Chris (September 27, 2018). "Madison Pro Soccer announces head coach". WISC-TV. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  18. Milewski, Todd D. (September 27, 2018). "Daryl Shore named first head coach for Madison Pro Soccer team". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  19. "Daryl Shore Named First Madison Pro Soccer Head Coach". USL League One. September 27, 2018. Archived from the original on September 28, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  20. Kennedy, Paul (September 27, 2018). "USL League One Moves: Shore reunited with Wilt in Madison". Soccer America. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  21. "Madison Pro Soccer names first head coach". WMTV. September 27, 2018. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  22. "Special Message from Managing Director Peter Wilt". Madison Pro Soccer. September 25, 2018. Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  23. Milewski, Todd D. (December 7, 2018). "Forward Madison FC unveils affiliation with MLS' Minnesota United". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  24. @forwardmsnfc (January 25, 2019). "Current level of snow in Madison: 1/2 a pink flamingo" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  25. @forwardmsnfc (January 28, 2019). "FULL MINGO!" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  26. Savir, Merav (May 20, 2019). "Born Into the Digital Age, Forward Madison FC is Already Making Great Content Strides". Medium.
  27. "Breese Stevens Field". City of Madison Parks Division. Archived from the original on September 24, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  28. Johnson, Allie (December 5, 2014). "Breese Stevens Field gets recognized as a national landmark". Isthmus. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  29. "Forward Madison FC 2019 Roster". Forward Madison FC. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
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