Soccer journey takes local star back to where it began
As a child, Kyle Froberg recalls attending a party at John Kelly’s house, the founder of the Shamrocks soccer club, and seeing soccer ball – it captured his attention. Kelly, who possesses a certain soccer pedigree, may have fomented the attraction that has since led Froberg to the height of the local soccer scene.
Now, many years later, Froberg has a extensive resume of his own, including being part of two undefeated teams at North Kingstown High School, one as a player and the other as a coach. Both seasons resulted in state championships.
Froberg started playing organized soccer in the Jamestown recreational league in the early 1980s. He explained that he and his soccer buddies were just athletic kids who found soccer. He points to early experiences off the island, such as playing indoor soccer at the West Warwick Civic Center, as opening up his understanding of the game.
Soon after, when soccer became more serious to him, he joined Ocean State Soccer, which was a club team started by former University of Rhode Island head coach Ed Bradley.
Kyle, who was two years behind his brother Steve, a soccer powerhouse himself, spoke with true appreciation of the time that they were able to spend together when Kyle was a sophomore and Steve was a senior at North Kingstown. That team went undefeated in the regular season but lost in the first round of the playoffs.
The next season, Kyle’s junior year, the Skippers went undefeated through the regular season and through the playoffs, bringing home the state championship. Remarkably, the team was scored on only twice the entire season. Kyle remembers both goals vividly – one was scored by Bristol High School (now Mount Hope) and the other by Hendricken in the finals, a game that NKHS won 2-1.
A goalkeeper in high school, Kyle said that he was “recruited as a field player” and joined URI as a freshman in 1993 when his brother Steve was already a junior on the Rams squad. That year Kyle was named Rhode Island’s Freshman Athlete of the Year.
Taken down by an ACL injury, Kyle was red-shirted as a sophomore and that spring his brother, a senior soccer captain, graduated.
The best was yet to come, as the younger Froberg would lead the Rams to consecutive NCAA playoff berths in 1995 and 1996. He said that the 1995 team was ranked No. 8 in the country, aided by former Jamestowner Brian Bradley, who had transferred from Dartmouth to URI.
The 1995 team went 19-2-2. They won the regular season and the Atlantic-10 Tournament; it was considered a “breakthrough season” for the Bradley-led program.
The Rams lost that year to the University of Virginia, the defending champions, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 2-1. (They did defeat St. Francis in the NCAA play-in game that season, 4-0.)
In Kyle’s senior campaign, the Rams produced another strong team but lost in the Atlantic-10 Tournament finals to Rutgers. That team was 16-6-0 and was the regular season champion.
Following graduation, Kyle chose not to play or coach soccer; but in 1998 after a year off from the game, he joined his former coach – soccer icon Ed Bradley – on the sidelines at URI as the assistant coach, a position that Froberg held for five years.
Bradley is slated for induction into the URI Hall of Fame in January. Still friends today, Kyle, who played for Bradley and coached beside him, said that he would be in attendance to honor his friend, coach, colleague and mentor.
In 2003, Kyle became an assistant to his brother at NKHS. After several years they switched roles. Steve became the assistant and Kyle became the head coach, positions that they have held for the last five years.
Among their successes was that undefeated and state championship team of 2007 led by the All- American Brett Utley. According to Kyle, Utley, who is now playing for Quinnipiac University, is not only one of the best players that he has ever coached, but “one of the best human beings” as well.
Other players of note over the years, Froberg said, were Billy Zile, who went on to play at Tufts University, Andy Hess, who played at Dean Junior College, and Justin O’Connor, who played at Rhode Island College. Froberg also mentioned Ben Nadeau, whom he described as a phenomenal athlete who might have played division-I soccer but instead has focused his talent on competitive snow boarding.
Along with his Freshman of the Year honor he won at URI, Kyle has been awarded other accolades as well, including Coach of the Year in 2007 and was named to the All-State team twice while in high school.
This season the NKHS Skippers went into the semifinal round of the state tournament after defeating Hendricken in the first round in a double-overtime game. They ultimately lost to Shea, 3-0, in the semifinals.
When he isn’t coaching the Skippers, Froberg is coordinator of internal operations at South County Orthopedics. Earning a degree from URI in health and fitness, Kyle has since earned American College of Sports Medicine certifications as a health fitness specialist. The center, located in Wakefield, is an athletic training complex and is connected to both the medical and therapeutic wings of SCO.
Preceded by two generations of Frobergs on the island, Kyle is a Jamestowner for life and stated simply that he “wouldn’t leave.” Along with his wife Darlene and his two children, Lauren and Jake, the family enjoys their time at Head’s Beach, Mackerel Cove, or just spending time at home.
Still involved at the club level, Kyle can now be found coaching his son, Jake. As expected, there is another generation of soccerplaying Frobergs for everyone on the island to root for.