Last Thursday night’s massive house fire in Boyds, which ripped through a million-dollar home in the quiet neighborhood within earshot of fields on the Maryland Soccerplex, left one family and two professional soccer players without a place to live.
The fire ripped through the Eckerstrom’s house on Aspen Dale Court. Kurt and Pam Eckerstrom have lived there since 2003; their three daughters attended Northwest High School. The Eckerstroms are a soccer family, their oldest daughter Britt is the 2015 NCAA National Champion goalkeeper for Penn State University. Also living in that house were two players on Germantown’s hometown professional sports franchise, the Washington Spirit. The Spirit players Tori Huster and Tiffany Weimer, have both been with the Spirit since the NWSL began in 2013.
The Eckerstroms have been hosting players from the Washington Spirit, professional women’s team for a two years now. Being so close the SoccerPlex and being a soccer family it was a perfect fit.
For a professional women’s soccer player, life’s possessions are whatever fits into three or four pieces of luggage. On the night of the fire, Huster and Weimer had just returned to the Eckerstrom’s house to begin preseason practice with the Spirit the following Monday. Huster was coming back from playing in the professional women’s league in Australia.
In January, Britt was the first goalie selected in the National Women’s Soccer League draft. She was selected by the Western New York Flash. On Thursday night, her car was packed and ready for the trip to the Rochester area as she prepared to begin preseason training with the Flash.
All three of the NWSL players, along with the Eckerstroms lost everything including their cars on Thursday night as the house burned, and eventually the second floor collapsed into the garage and driveway area.
All five people and two dogs, who were in the house at the time of the fire were alerted by smoke detectors and able to escape the fire.
The soccer community has stepped up to help the girls. Anthony DiCicco, son of former United States Women’s National Team coach Tony DiCicco, has started a GoFundMe.com page to help the player get their lives back in order. All of the NWSL teams and DC United have spread the word of the fire and the plight of the three players.
DiCicco wrote on the GoFundMe page, “Tiffany, Tori, and Britt are okay. That's the most important thing, but they lost most if not everything.” The money will go directly to replacing clothes, electronics, sneakers, cleats, supplements, books, cars, toiletries and more, according to the GoFundMe page.
Top: Firefighters pour water on the house after the partial collapse of the house on Aspen Dale Court. Smoke detectors alerted the family and the Spirit players living in the house. All five people and two dogs were able to escape.
Next: The Washignton Spirit's Tori Huster being introduced prior to a game last season.
Next: Spirit player, Tiffany Weimer during warmup prior to a Spirit game at the Maryland SoccerPlex last season. Huster and Weimer lost most of their belongins in the house fire on Thursday, March 10.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.