PLINKERVIEW! WITH VGFC'S FOUNDERS
MEET PATRICK AND MATT
We sat down with a pair of legends, Patrick Infurna and Matt Wolff, two of the founders of Vermont Green FC. Learn how a wild idea between friends transformed into a green giant that's inspiring change with soccer.
Who are you and how did you find the chutzpah to start a soccer team?
We’re just a few guys who love soccer, love Vermont, love each other, and love the planet. We want to build something alongside our community that can have an impact, that people can learn from and that we can learn from. We want to use what we know — soccer — as the medium to inspire change and new ways of thinking.
What’s your advice for anyone with a dream as bold as starting a team, who is feeling hesitant about going for it?
PI: Starting a team like Vermont Green is opting into a bigger responsibility. It's building a community that has more than just your vision in mind. When we started this it was a wild idea between friends, but by the time the stands were full of fans, the players ready to fight for the club, and the mission started to resonate around Vermont and the world, it became more than just our thing… it became a lot of people’s thing. How you make people feel matters, and you have to be ready for that. But f*cking go for it.
What brings you joy?
MW: Football. Friends. Family. Community. Vermont summers. A tall glass of Pomegranate Plink poured to the brim. That’s what brings me joy.
It’s your second season. Already you seem like a well oiled machine. What’s the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) for this season?
PI: We want to win a trophy. We want to win something that we can give to the fans who support us week in, week out. It’s hard, and it will continue to be hard, but we constantly say: why not us? The boys have what it takes, so why not go for it. Outside of winning, we just want to keep getting together in record numbers. What makes Vermont Green awesome is the people, the passion, the noise, the love. That’s going to be there no matter what, so let’s keep taking that to new levels.
MW: On top of that, we want to continue to educate ourselves and our fans around environmental justice. Environmental justice is the lens that allows us to understand how human rights, equality, and environmental stewardship are interconnected. Efforts to address environmental crises – like climate change – will be most effective if they are rooted in social justice.
Do you ever take a walk in the forest and see that overnight thousands of mushrooms have sprouted up out of nowhere? We can't get through a day without spotting a VGFC fan in the wild. How did this takeoff so fast?
MW: I love walking in a mushroom-filled forest. A true delight to the senses.
PI: I hope that our mission to build this club as something that makes Vermonters feel represented is resonating. I hope that it’s because games are super fun, and the boys are fun to cheer on, and I hope it’s because people found a new part of themselves, or an old part of themselves, while supporting this club. I hope Vermont Green feels like home to people. You always want to represent your home.
MW: From the very start, we wanted to build a club that had the people in mind, so to see so many folks already show such avid support is absolutely incredible. We want to continue to make Vermonters feel represented. That’s our goal!
Environmentalism is at your core. How are you already making a positive impact?
MW: We have our five mission goals for the club: Net Zero, Fighting Systeming Racism in Soccer, Giving, Purpose-Driven Merchandise, and Education and Awareness.
PI: A few new initiatives in 2023 are: Our Closed Loop Program with Recover Brands, that brings circularity to our apparel program. Wasted* toilets in the concourse this year, providing an innovative approach to human waste, that’s collected and converted into natural fertilizer. We’re also encouraging fans to reduce their carbon emissions by biking to matches with our Bike to the Match raffle. Fans that bike to matches are automatically entered into a raffle to win prizes. We put out a pretty big report with Anti-Racist Soccer Club from our 2022 mission, and we’re working to build on a lot of that strategy this year.
MW: There’s a lot to do, and the biggest part is sharing information. We hope that folks leave Vermont Green games with a little bit more info than they had when they walked in. Talking amongst 2,500 friends and leaving the games with not just three points, but an energy and a strategy to fight for change. We hope that’s a big part of the positive impact we have.
We know from experience that having a sustainable vision and making it a reality are very different things. What is the biggest eco-hurdle you face right now that you’re trying to overcome?
PI: Probably transportation. Vermont is a bit isolated in this league (we’re the furthest north team) and at the moment we’re traveling to away matches on a traditional bus. We offset all of our travel, educate and encourage carpooling to practice and games, but transportation is something we need to work on.
MW: If there’s anyone in the Burlington area with access to electric coach buses, please do reach out.
We’re so honored to be your official hydration partner! Now that you’ve got a bottomless supply of Plink! at the clubhouse, have you picked up a plink habit? Any side effects?
PI: I love Plink so much at times we forget how plain water tastes.
MW: I enjoy experimenting with double and triple plinks, sometimes mixing flavors and whatnot.
PI: I’m Plinking multiple times daily. I’m thinking about Plinking when I’m not Plinking. I’m walking up to players and getting the vibe of the most popular Plinks at the player housing and in the locker room. The Portuguese players seem to be quite keen on Pineapple Grapefruit.
MW: When I’m feeling rowdy, I’ll pop a Plink into a seltzer or a Yerba Mate. I actually heard a rumor that Luke was in the laboratory cooking up a caffeinated Plink…I’ll be mainlining that if the rumors are true
We love when athletes, like VGFC’s squad, enjoy Plink! But you don’t have to be an elite athlete or work up a sweat to plink. It’s great for everyday hydration. What’s your perfect day look like when you're not running a soccer club?
MW: I’m often up late sketching or designing things, so on my ideal day starts with sleeping in a bit! Maybe get up around 10am, then head over to Vivid Coffee to grab a bite. After I’ve got some fuel in me I’d head over to Pomeroy park for some pickup hoops or wrangle some friends to kick the ball around. The perfect day might also include a sauna or schvitz, then cooling off in Lake Champlain. Leddy Beach has been our destination of choice this summer — what a gorgeous spot. Dinner with friends, then a bit of sketching and an ice cold watermelon Plink before bed. That’s the perfect day.
We’ve got plans to test out new flavors at Vermont Green home games with the fans. What flavors do you want to see next?
MW: Something GREEN, obviously. Lime? Lemon Lime? Green Apple? Honeydew?
PI: Man, maybe Maple? I’m going to drink it no matter what. PTID.