Crockford twins: teammates on and off the field

Charlie and Nate Crockford have been dominant on the soccer field since they were five, now they’re taking their talents to UCLA

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Crockford

Seniors Nate and Charlie Crockford signing their National Letter of Intent for The University of California, Los Angeles’ men’s soccer team

On Nov. 11 senior Nate Crockford signed his National Letter of Intent with the University of California, Los Angeles soccer program. It also happens that one of Crockford’s teammates signed with the same school — his twin brother Charlie.

The two brothers have been a dominant tandem on the field ever since the age of five, where they were taught by their dad who played soccer at Indiana University. From the start, they both fell in love with the game and the skill was there.

Former head coach of the Crockford’s at FC United, Gonzalo Segares said, “From day one you could see that they had potential: Charlie’s ability on the ball and how comfortable he is under pressure, and Nate’s ability to be a leader in the back and make clutch saves. They both can change the game in different situations.”

We always want to one up each other, we always want to be better than the other. When I see Nate doing something better, I want to beat him at that.”

— Charlie Crockford

Sibling competition pushes each to develop that game changing ability. Everything among them is a competition.

Their close relationship is visible on the field as the two have unmatched chemistry, knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

The bond they share is part of why they wanted to attend the same university. Since they play different positions, Nate is a goalkeeper and Charlie a midfielder, they weren’t always recruited by the same school.

“Some schools would reach out to us and if they didn’t want the other one, we told them we are going together. Most of the time we were good enough to go to the same place but we want to be on the same team because we’ll be better together,” said Charlie.

Ultimately, the brothers decided UCLA was the right fit. For them, they were attracted to more than just the warm weather.

“UCLA fits great with the way we play soccer, plus we thought it’d be fun to go out there to a warmer climate. Ultimately we thought it’s the best place that could push us to the next level. The coaching staff is also awesome for us,” said Nate.

They are currently playing for the Chicago Fire Academy, the feeder team for Chicago’s MLS team. For the previous three years the brothers had played for FC United, but in 2020 they decided to make a change.

“We felt it was time to change to go to a better club and push ourselves with an MLS feeder team. The goal was to get a [professional] deal before we’d go to college. But because of COVID we can’t practice and play with the first team since they didn’t want to bring the virus in and have it spread across the MLS, meaning a deal is unlikely,” said Nate.

As the Crockfords prepare for the collegiate level, they keep their eyes on their dream of playing professionally in Europe.

 Segares, who coached the twins for four years, sees two players with great skill, and most importantly, unwavering dedication. 

“Plenty of times I saw them play in games and practice through injuries. I don’t think I saw them miss a session or game. The kind of mental strength you need to have to miss parties, proms or school trips to follow your dream is a big commitment for young kids,” he said.