Living their dream!
A family of soccer lovers, it was probably inevitable that some member of the Moylan family would devote her or his life to enriching the game. A large family by today’s standards, with mother Ann Carole, father Joe, and children Sean, Michael, Brendan, Maura, Kiernan and Kathleen, the Moylans asserted a presence in the Durham, NC soccer community. All of the children benefited from the establishment early in their lives of soccer programs in the area, first at the recreational level, and ultimately as members of the Strikers, the first competitive club in Durham-Chapel Hill.
Not surprisingly, it was not one but two Moylans, Mike and Brendan, that took an early step to tie their lives and livelihoods to the growing popularity of soccer not just in Durham and North Carolina but in the entire country. As part of a high school senior project, Mike developed a business plan for a retail and mail-order soccer enterprise. What emerged was Sports Endeavors, incorporated in 1984, and a retail store and catalog, both called Eurosport. With the family providing the financial incentive to start the enterprise and with mother Ann Carole playing an early central role in developing the business, what has grown to become the most successful and influential soccer retailer in the world was born. In the years since its birth, Sports Endeavors has made the purchase of soccer equipment and uniforms easy and affordable.
A close friend and business associate says about Mike and Brendan that “it’s always been about competing and winning with style. You can see this from their very first catalog in 1984 all the way through to the present day soccer.com website. The catalog and website were always as much about informing the American fan about the heritage, pageantry and personalities of the beautiful game, as it was about selling soccer gear. It was also apparent when you visited any of Eurosport’s corporate headquarters, which no matter how cramped always felt like a combination of a soccer museum and the boot room of Anfield, home ground of Liverpool FC, with autographed paraphernalia strewn about and one or two all-Americans/Olympic Gold medalists answering phones. Both Mike and Brendan would agree, however, that the full Eurosport story cannot be told without mentioning the influence of their parents. Mike often says that most kids go off to college and leave their parents a dog or a cat to take care of. He and Brendan left his parents a fledgling business.”
The idea that service to the game should be a central part of the growth of the company was introduced early with the establishment in 1989 of the "Passback Program". The Moylans’ contribution is cited on the US Soccer Foundation website: “A family friend came into the old Eurosport store looking for some gear to send to his daughter, a Peace Corps volunteer working with children in Malawi. While looking for gear that they could send to her, the Moylan brothers realized that they had closets full of their old soccer gear that they no longer used, but was too good to throw away, so they boxed it up and send it off to her. And they didn't stop there. It dawned on them that if they had closets full of equipment, there must be other players out there whose garages, closets and basements also overflowed. Recognizing a need in the world-wide soccer community, they created the Passback Program. They have since passed the Program over to the U.S. Soccer Foundation, but remain one of the Foundation's primary partners and the Program would not be possible without their support.” Hundreds of thousands of items have been shipped to programs in the U. S. and around the world. In North Carolina alone, 195 groups have received over 60,000 items. Twelve years later, in 2001, Eurosport joined others in launching the "Soccer United Recovery Fund", created to assist with the World Trade Center recovery efforts. With the help of MLS and all of the manufacturers with whom Eurosport works, Eurosport sold t-shirts and patches to raise funds. With manufacturers covering the initial cost of items and with Eurosport customizing them, over $500,000 was raised in support of the recovery efforts. The program was expanded to help the Gulf Coast recover from the devastating impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Mike, Brendan and Sports Endeavors have been recognized for their service to soccer and humanity. In 1998, Mike was presented with the Simon Sherman Leadership Award, given by the Soccer Industry Council of America to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of soccer in America. Brendan has been recognized by Special Olympics as an Outstanding Corporate Citizen. In 2000, the Pauli Murray Human Relations Business Award was awarded to Sports Endeavors to recognize its fostering of diversity in the workplace, upward mobility and self-improvement for employees and its participation in community human relations activities. Working together, Mike, Brendan and the company have sponsored education programs for youth soccer and have funded the development of soccer facilities. By merging their passion for soccer with service to the game, Mike and Brendan are indeed “Living their Dream!”
Mike is married to the former Morgan Howell of Waynesville, NC. They have four children, Finnegan, Donovan, Rory and Maise Ann. Brendan is married to the former Cynthia Ann Toth of Fairfield, CT. They have one child, Beckett.