CLUB HISTORY 2: 2004-2007
By Jim Shine
After founder Matt Mathai stepped down as president following the 2003 season, Kim Klyberg (shown below) became our next president, beginning in 2004.
Kim was raised in Lincoln, Rhode Island. As a good New Englander she followed the local professional sports teams (Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots) but not the Bruins as their games did not come in clearly on the Boston UHF station they broadcast on. Kim came to DC to attend American University, graduating in 1990 and staying in the area afterwards.
Two college friends who followed soccer invited her to a DC United game in the inaugural season of 1996. She had never watched soccer in any great detail but enjoyed the game, its passion and its simplicity (although it did take her some time to figure out the offside rule). She continued to go to games whenever her friends were going, and at the last minute decided to go with one of these friends to Foxboro, Massachusetts for the 1996 MLS Cup, one of MLS’s all time great games. They then rode all night to get back to DC so Kim could make jury duty the next day. Dedication!
Kim got season tickets for 1997 and joined the Screaming Eagles in 1998. Her first SE meeting was at Summers Restaurant, a fixture of soccer broadcasting back in those days. She started her SE tenure serving on the communications committee (the only woman on it at that time).
Kim went on two road trips in 1998: a van trip to New England (where she got to know many SEs) and a plane trip to Chicago to see the new Chicago Fire, who entered the league that year (and sadly beat DC United in MLS Cup 1998). The Chicago game was played in the fog, and the Eagles partied afterwards with Chicago’s Barnburners support group. The Chicago game was one of the early games of Ben Olsen’s career.
Kim became ever more active in the SEs, helping with tailgates and moving her seats to The Nest. She eventually became most of the communication committee, although she was assisted by founder Matt Mathai, Dave Lifton, David Goodwin, and Lisa Middlebrook.
In 2004 the SEs incorporated, becoming an official IRS nonprofit organization. Kim became the Eagles’ second president, succeeding Matt Mathai and the first woman to be an MLS Supporters Club president. Kim had just received a Masters in Nonprofit Management from the University of Maryland University College, and she put her skills to good use with the Screaming Eagles. She dealt with details such as income transparency, corporate credit cards, group reservations and food safety. Kim knew “how to feed 100 people or more”.
The 2000s were the golden age of SE road trips, and many of them happened while Kim was president. The road trips included plane fares, hotels, tickets and transportation, all in one package for one fee. The NAFTA trip went to Mexico, the US and Canada in a few days. The MLS 2004 Cup road trip was legendary, as was the US vs Mexico World Cup Qualifier in Mexico City in 2005.
There were also lots of local events to promote the team and soccer in general to the community. There was a preseason pub crawl featuring Marco Etcheverry mullet wigs (see the picture below). When the shipment of ordered wigs was delayed, Kim went to a local store and bought ladies wigs to save the event. A Mike Petke Trivia fundraiser at Summers raised $5-10K. The Eagles also hosted the Capital Soccer Ball which benefitted the Eddie Pope Foundation. One prize at a Soccer Ball included an auctioned off date night with then-captain Ryan Nelsen.
Kim stepped down as President in 2007, passing the reins to Paul Sotoudeh, but remained on the SE Board for several more years, doing communication and events. She helped organized Soccer in the Circle (an outdoor TV showing of the 2010 World Cup in Dupont Circle), as well as arranging partnerships between supporters and different sports bars for viewing parties.
Kim went back to American University in 2012 for a certificate program in Digital Media, and with her extra time severely limited, had to let go of her commitments with the SEs. She went to the last game at RFK Stadium in 2017. She is one of six Lifetime Members of the Screaming Eagles.
Today, Kim follows the Washington Capitals closely, and is an organizer for a craft beer meetup group. She is an event planner in her professional life for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Kim advises new DC United fans (indeed, any sports fans) to get value for your tickets, and to support your team and the sport regardless of the current results. “Be open to meeting new people, and if you’re shy – VOLUNTEER!”
Thanks, Kim. My first road trip was MLS Cup 2004, and I still have fond memories of the road trips I took in the 2000s.