A parent recently emailed us this question and we thought it would be fun to share it and our reply with all of you.

This is a really random, nerdy question, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, it will be even more so – I’ve heard you mention “daring” many times and ask parents if they’ve seen anything daring. What’s the connection, if any, to the Roosevelt speech or even the work of Brene Brown (I’ll be shocked if this is the connection)? Just wondering – please feel free to say you have no idea what I’m talking about.

What a great question! I looked up Ms. Brown and I see how someone could make that connection. And Roosevelt’s “Man in the arena” speech certainly could have inspired us as we created Cincy SC’s “Dare to be EPIC” motto.

Theodore Roosevelt picture

President Theodore Roosevelt: inspiring and dapper, but not our inspiration (photo from biography.com)

The truth of its origin is that Russell and I invented it, probably around 3am one morning in mid-April, as we were brainstorming how to build Cincy SC. At that time, we were just Cincinnati Soccer Club and we didn’t have any core values or a motto. We liked a former club’s motto, “Where Players are Made” and a few others we found, but we wanted something fresh. We also liked the motto of the EPL’s Tottenham Hotspurs, “To Dare is to Do,” particularly the word “dare” because in a youth soccer context it seemed to fit with the player development mindset.

We knew of a consulting company that used the acronym EPIC for its core values. We loved the word and how it could help us keep our core values easy to remember. We asked a few people how they felt about the word “epic.” Other than a few cynics (mostly Brits) that evoked the phrase “epic fail,” we got very positive feedback. Russell and I came up with our version of the acronym: Excellence, Player development, Integrity, Community. We still have the whiteboard with those written for the first time.

We started liking EPIC so much that we even considered naming the club “EPIC FC” — in fact you can even go to the domain http://epic-fc.com and end up at Cincy SC. “Dare to be EPIC” was bouncing around in our brains at that time, but somehow it never even made it onto our list of 20-some motto ideas. And then one day as we were building our new website, it just came out, or at least that’s how I recall it. I actually even made the graphic myself.


Interestingly, though the word “epic” really caught on fast, “dare” didn’t. It wasn’t until I was coaching a scrimmage with my GU12 team the weekend before Dog Days and I was yelling encouragement like “take her on!” and “be brave!” that I realized we’d been missing our opportunity to use “daring” on the field. I started asking players to “be daring” and after the match I named a “Daring Player of the Match.” It was amazing how the players immediately bought into it and I discovered that naming a DPotM was much more flexible and interesting than just naming a PotM. A true PotM might not have much variety over the season. But a DPotM can be any player that for the first time was daring enough to try something in a game they had never dared try before, and that’s a lot more fun and inspiring for the players.

Thanks for asking about the origins of “be daring” and “Dare to be EPIC.” I hope you enjoyed this edition of Cincy SC Chronicles and that you’ll join us next week for “How we booked a field in Newtown that nobody thought was available.” 😉