VMI Men’s Soccer Announces English Pro Club Partnership

The partnership between VMI men’s soccer and Britain’s Dorking Wanderers F.C. is understood to be the first time a British club has partnered with a U.S. college or university.—Photo courtesy VMI Athletics.

The Dorking Wanderers F.C. and VMI’s men’s soccer announced a multi-year partnership March 19, 2024.

This historic partnership is understood to be the first time a British club has had a direct partnership with a U.S. college or university.

Dorking Wanderers F.C., based in Surrey, U.K., has achieved remarkable success, securing a British record 12 promotions since forming in 1999. The club has climbed from the 17th tier of English football to the fifth tier, currently competing in the National League.

Marc White is the founder, owner, and manager of Dorking. Under White’s leadership, Dorking is now one of the most recognizable teams outside of the Premier League and was recently featured on the popular FX show, “Welcome to Wrexham Season 2.”

Kris Lea, Dorking Wanderers executive director, said, “We are absolutely delighted to be partnering with VMI and the reciprocal opportunities this will present for both our academy students and the VMI players. From the moment I met Nick, I could see that his enthusiasm for the game and player development, both on and off the field, were nothing short of inspiring, and this is epitomized by the success he has deservedly enjoyed since he took up his role overseeing VMI men’s soccer.”

“We’re very excited to welcome Nick, his colleagues, and squad to Meadowbank March 28, and we have no doubt that this visit will be the first of many visits in either direction as our two organizations embark on this unique partnership,” Lea continued.

Nick Regan, VMI men’s soccer head coach, commented on the partnership, saying, “Together with our partners in Dorking, we are setting a new standard for how collegiate programs provide pathways and experiences for its players and coaches while simultaneously expanding opportunities for DWFC players and staff. I know I speak for everyone here at VMI when I say that our match March 28 will be an incredible experience. On a personal note, I first visited the original Meadowbank in 2002 to watch my brother play, so to lead a team out there over 20 years later will be a special moment.”

The partnership will provide pathways and guidance for Dorking Academy players to study and play in the U.S., as well as give VMI players opportunities to train in the U.K. Coaches from both teams will share resources and will periodically travel to observe each other’s programming.

Jordan Clark, Dorking Wanderers director of football & education, said: “As director of football, I am thrilled to announce the multi-year partnership between Dorking Wanderers and Virginia Military Institute men’s soccer. This collaboration marks an exciting opportunity for both clubs to exchange expertise, resources, and talent, fostering mutual growth and success on and off the field. We look forward to a fruitful partnership ahead.”

Kyle Shestack, U.S.-based Dorking Wanderers part owner and director, equally shared his delight regarding the formation of this new partnership: “I believe the faster the club can expand its global footprint, the faster we can grow. We could not be more excited about the launch of this partnership. Nick Regan has a brilliant football mind, and he has revamped the VMI program in a short period of time. I believe this will strengthen our U.S.-U.K. connection for coaches and players alike. This is an impactful moment as both organizations hope to grow and expand their resources across the world.”

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