After a long battle with prostate cancer, Tom Dolan passed away on January 27, 2012. In recognition of Tom’s importance to the club, and to ensure that Tom’s legacy will always be a part of the club, Challenge will award out two $3,000 scholarships to deserving Challenge players who embody the passion Tom had for the club and the qualities he valued.
Tom Dolan began his involvement with Challenge Soccer Club in the early 80s with the opening of the Texas Sports Medicine Center. Throughout the chaos that comes from opening a brand new venture, Tom found time to work with Challenge players, guiding them through the rehabilitation process and ensuring they came back from injury stronger than ever.
His involvement increased substantially in the early 1990s when he began travelling with the team to tournaments around the country. Tom and his wife, Pat, sacrificed several anniversaries so he could accompany the team to Florida in late December. Every tournament story includes at least one story about Tom, be it something he said on the sideline, the comfort he gave to an injured teammate or the line outside his hotel room as players waited for treatment.
Off the field, Tom spearheaded the revolutionary Impact Concussion program and set up medical services for Challenge players that remain unparalleled to this day. Anyone who knows Tom can tell you that Signing Night, usually held at the Sports Medicine Center, was his favorite event of the year. Tom cherished the role he played in helping Challenge players achieve their dream of a college scholarship, and was honored and proud to host such a special event. Tom coached the Challenge 84 team, advised the club’s professional staff and Board of Directors, and did whatever he could to keep Challenge players fit, healthy, and on the field.
The ideal player, in Tom’s eyes, was not always the most physically gifted. She was the one who prepared for each game so thoroughly that she often knew what the other team was going to do before it did. She was the one whose mental toughness refused to allow one bad game, a nagging injury, or an off-the-field issue affect her performance. And she was the one who left the pitch with no regrets, safe in the knowledge she did all she could to help her team win.
It’s to this type of player that we offer the Tom Dolan Collegiate Scholarship. We are looking for players who embody all Tom stood for: preparation, mental toughness, and a drive to succeed that made others around her better. The scholarship honors Tom’s contributions to Challenge Soccer Club, and hopes to keep his legacy alive and vibrant long into the future.
As part of the application process, candidates must write a one to two page essay that answers the following questions:
- In what ways are you passionate about Challenge Soccer Club?
- How well do you prepare for competition?
- In what ways do you demonstrate mental toughness?
- How do you feel these qualities in you help make your teammates stronger?
Challenge is proud to honor a man who meant so much to our family and whose work ethic, values, and expertise were instrumental in our development as one of the top clubs in the country for the development of female soccer players. Many former players shared their memories of Tom shortly after his passing:
“He never stopped believing that I could play in college after all my knee problems and always stayed positive and loving despite my constant doubt. He was a great friend, who showed unconditional care for such a moody teen.”
--Jessica Stamp, Challenge 82
“Tom Dolan [taught] me hard work, character, and how to always have a sense of humor. I fondly remember all of the hours we spent together, your sincere investment in my life, and how your smile made me smile in the face of adversity...and always will. You brightened my life beyond words and will forever be one of my best friends.”
--Brittany Lane, Challenge 89
“Tom was a man who never lost faith and taught us all the same. There are so few people out there who can bring out the absolute best in people and Tom was most certainly one of them.”
--Taylor Pounds, Challenge Blitz 91
While it is difficult to express just how much Tom meant to the Challenge Soccer Club, we hope this scholarship honors a man we respected, appreciated, and loved. It is our effort to repay his kindness and dedication, and a way for his legacy to live on through future generations.