Volume 7, Number 2, 1998

A double header

At the age of 6, identical twins Michael and David Kammarman dizzied opposing goalies with their prowess on the soccer fields of Laurel, Md.

Twenty years later, the twins have parlayed their soccer backgrounds into professional careers. David, AS '93, who was UD's assistant soccer coach this past season, plans to play professionally, while Michael, AS '93, has earned a staff position as press officer with DC United, the reigning two-time Major League Soccer (MLS) champs.

"We've been getting people confused for as long as we can remember," says David. "The referees and opponents used to go crazy wondering how this one guy was all over the field."

Within a year after the Kammarman twins first took to the soccer field, they were the leading scorers in their pee-wee league, blasting up to half a dozen goals a game past befuddled opponents.

The twins moved on to a select team of players that represented the town of Laurel. During their senior-year high school season, their team was the county champion. Michael finished third in the county in scoring, and the twins, plus five of their teammates, went on to play college soccer.

At Delaware, both continued to play soccer until Michael's career was cut short when a car accident resulted in a degenerating joint in his vertebrae.

Michael's public relations career took root in 1994 when he volunteered to work in the press box for the World Cup games based in Washington, D.C. When the MLS started up with a franchise in the nation's capital, he worked as a paid intern during the month-long playoffs of 1996. The following January, he was offered the position of press officer.

Michael works at the old Redskins Park in northern Virginia, a first-class training facility that also houses DC United's administrative offices. His duties include handling media requests for interviews, writing news releases, compiling statistical information and managing the press box during game days.

"I go to practice each day and watch these gifted athletes train," says Michael. "I've learned a lot more about the game and how the players prepare themselves for the games. But, I've also gotten to appreciate them as people.

"It was a tough market to crack when we first started. There was pro basketball, hockey, the Orioles up the road and, of course, the Redskins, who are more of an institution than Congress. But, after we won back-to-back championships, The Washington Post and other major media have gotten behind us. It's nice to be in the spotlight."

David finished his collegiate career as soccer team captain, where he was a key defender who marked the opposition's scoring threats. Last summer, he was contacted to help Head Coach Marc Samonisky evaluate players, a job that led to an assistant's position.

"I've been able to share some of my experiences with this group of players," says David. "I learned the intricacies of planning practices and setting up drills as a function of training."

The coaching experience has recharged him, and he's contacted several teams about playing in the country's second division of professional soccer.

"I think we're both fortunate to work at something we truly love," says Michael. "While the sport has grown significantly over the last 20 years, soccer is still a very small professional community in America. For David and me, there's nothing else we would rather be doing."

A couple of years ago, the Kammarman twins backpacked through Switzerland, then headed to Genoa, Italy, where they tracked down a contact they met at an Italian club exhibition soccer game in Washington.

"We must have called this guy 20 times to get tickets to this huge Italian Cup game," says Michael. "When the home team, Sampdoria, won the game, people just poured out into the street, jumping into the fountain in the center of the town."

That experience convinced the Kammarmans to extend their vacation an additional three weeks and attend the European Cup Championships being held in Athens, Greece.

"It took two days to get there, and we spent all our money on tickets," Michael says. "We wound up eating bread and water for days, but we were in that stadium with 77,000 crazed fans watching the two best soccer clubs in the world. When we got home, David had no money, and I had five bucks. Soccer will do that to you."

-Terry Conway