Sean Davies says he was born with his feet in the sand. He was also born with soccer in his veins.
Davies, a Hopewell resident, hails from Cape May County. His grandfather and cousin are in the Mercer County Hall of Fame for their footwork; his parents were avid fans in his youth; his siblings played at a college level; and even his 3-year-old son, Leo, kicks around the ball.
Davies played professionally and has spent his life being dedicated to the sport in some capacity. Nearly one year ago, he kicked off a solo endeavor called FAST Futbol — training kids from ages 3 to 18 in the game he loves most. FAST stands for Fluidity, Agility, Speed and Technique.
Davies began playing soccer when he was 10 years old, and quickly discovered he was talented enough to pursue it professionally. “I just kept pushing myself and kept going and going and going,” Davies said.
Cape May County had a traveling league, the Cape Express Soccer Club. Davies joined, but he kept wanting higher levels of play. By seventh and eighth grade, his parents drove him hours to compete and train at more rigorous venues around the state.
“Most of my family [plays] — that’s how I fell in love with the game,” Davies said. “One of my big role models was my grandfather. He was a professional in his day.”
Jim McGroarty was inducted into the Mercer County Hall of Fame in 1992. A Trenton native, he gained recognition in the East Trenton and Top Road soccer clubs throughout the late 1930s and 1940s. McGroarty went on to be a star player at Trenton Catholic Boys High School, Rider University, in one of the American Pro Soccer League’s premier teams of its time, the Newark Portuguese, and ended his career with the championship Olden AA Teams.
Davies’ cousin, Judy Kalafut Mignogna, was another inspiring player. She grew up in Ewing and was an All-American at Rutgers University. She is also in the Mercer County Soccer Hall of Fame.
Davies’ parents enjoyed soccer and fostered all three of their children’s dedication to the sport. His father, Clarence “Butch” Davies, worked for the state and his mother, Patty, who died four years ago, was a teacher at Wildwood High School for 38 years. Davies was the eldest, and both his siblings followed in his footsteps. Ryan, five years younger, played at York College and Tara, 10 years younger, played at Penn State.
Davies attended Millersville University of Pennsylvania, where he was a first-team All-PSAC player as a senior and where he still holds the record for most assists in a season and a career.
He launched a successful soccer career at Millersville, as well as a successful romance. He met his wife, Christina, at school, where they bonded over their New Jersey ties — Christina was born in Hopewell. They bought a dog together, Cheech the Chihuahua, 16 years ago while at college. Cheech remains in their family today.
While Davies was a fan of the field, his wife was a fan of the stage and their opposite attractions brought them together. Their two children, Leo, 3, and Juliana, 6, take after their parents. Juliana participates in the Hopewell Valley Children’s Theater, was in a commercial campaign with Tina Fey for American Express, and just filmed her first blockbuster, The Post, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. Juliana plays Streep’s granddaughter. The film is to be released Dec. 22.
Davies’ wife, despite not being a soccer fan, has always been supportive of Davies’ evolving career. After playing professionally for the West Michigan Edge, the South Jersey Barons (Now Ocean City NOr’easters), and the Reading Rage, Davies remained committed.
“I’ve been in this industry in some way ever since I got out of college — even interned at an indoor sports facility. I was always involved in soccer in some way,” Davies said. “When I was there [at the sports facility], I started coaching… and I just kept coming back to coaching.”
Before going solo with his most recent endeavor, FAST Futbol, Davies was a general manager at a German company manufacturing sports equipment, a coach and director for Jersey United Soccer Club, and a trainer at Total Soccer in Lambertville.
“I’m not the kind of person who liked working behind a desk. If I can make same money and be on the field working with kids then why not?” Davies said. “One night I was talking to my wife and said, ‘You know what? I don’t want to work for people anymore. I want to be my own boss. And I think I’m ready for it now.’”
Davies launched FAST Futbol last January. He is now in the process of building out his own space for the program at PEAC Health and Fitness on Lower Ferry Road. He’s driven to create a “hub” for sports loving kids to go in Mercer County.
FAST Futbol offers myriad training programs for youth of all ages. Whether an individual strives to play in college, professionally, make their high school team, or just kick around the ball and see if whether they like the sport, FAST Futbol has a program available.
Davies says the most popular is Skills and Scrimmages, which offers 30 minutes skills training and 30 minutes game play. He is also launching a Futsal League, which allows training and league play with 30 area teams without traveling. Futsal is similar to soccer, but played indoor on a smaller pitch, with a heavier ball.
Davies’ favorite program to coach is “Futbol FUNatics,” which he conducts with the youngest age group. It’s where his long-time and family-inspired love of the game is purest.
“There’s something that is enlightening… It gives me a lot of joy to work with these little kids and help them develop love for the game, even if they don’t end up playing soccer,” Davies said. “It warms my heart to have them work on a specific move — teaching kids skills at a young age and see them succeed. They walk off and parents give them a big hug. At an older age, you’re dealing with parents: ‘my kids gonna be the best ever.’ But they just want to enjoy it when they’re little. It’s just about running around.”
To learn more, go to fastfutbolnj.com.
This story has been updated to correct numerous typographical and factual errors.