PURCHASE, N.Y. – Jeb Brovsky has more than just a terrific mustache on his face. The New York City FC defender also has a pretty good head on his shoulders.
Brovsky created Peace Pandemic, a foundation that utilizes youth soccer camps to promote non-violence and social justice, when he was at Notre Dame. It’s more than just a chance for Brovsky to put his name on a good cause. It’s very much a hands-on effort for him and his wife Caitlin.
“That’s what activism is all about. It’s about rolling your sleeves up and doing work,” Brovsky said. “It’s very humbling to go to other cultures and to see people who have very little and they’re happier than some of the people in our culture.”
Brovsky said the cause, which has taken him and his wife to India, China and Guatemala, is even more important now that he is a new father. His first son, Laeth Patrick, was born on July 16.
“It’s about raising better men in the world, and now that I’m a father too it means a lot more to me that I want my son to grow up in a world that domestic violence isn’t a huge issue,” Brovsky said. “I hope he learns that at a very young age.”
Brovsky said his wife Caitlin was initially very involved in animal rights but soon fell in love with Peace Pandemic. And Brovsky said she is instrumental to its success, often working with the girls from various underprivileged areas.
“It’s a good way for us to travel together,” Brovsky said. “It’s not a ritzy vacation spot, but we also get to see the world together. It’s a win all around.”
Brovsky’s introduction to activism came at a young age. He was in school, a fourth-grader at Normandy Elementary School, on April 20, 1999 when just one mile away 13 people were killed and 20 others wounded in the Columbine High School shooting.
Among those killed that day was Brovsky’s neighbor, 15-year-old Daniel Mauser.
Tragedy continued to strike with a series of shootings and suicides, including friends of Brovsky.
“At a very young age I was given the opportunity to see that you’re not invincible in life, and life is very short,” Brovsky said.
Also at a young age, Brovsky wanted to play in Major League Soccer. That dream was formed pitch-side as a ball kid for the Colorado Rapids. Among those playing at the time were Troy Perkins and Joe Cannon.
“I remember telling them I was a ball kid for both of their games,” Brovsky said. “Freddy Adu had just come into the league, and I remember sitting behind the goal at Mile High Stadium thinking it would be incredible to play in MLS one day.”
It’s a big reason why Brovsky has such an appreciation for fans now that he’s a pro, going out of his way to make time to take pictures and sign autographs.
“I know how it feels to be on the other end,” Brovsky said. “It’s incredible to see a fan base that really wants your team to succeed both on and off the pitch. I think the support has been great.”
Brovsky’s mustache has also been described as great, although the 26-year-old said he never actually planned on making it a thing.
“I didn’t really want to make a statement or be cool or anything,” he said. “I thought that a man should grow a mustache at one point in his life, and why not now? It just happened to be when I was with NYCFC and this big market. It’s not a hipster thing. People think what they want of it.”
For a while, Brovsky was dueling with Colorado coach Pablo Mastroeni for coolest facial hair. But Mastroeni shaved off his ‘stache, making Brovsky the undisputed MLS champion.
“He came up to me after the game and said that’s a great mustache, and I envied the elegance of his,” Brovsky said of when NYCFC faced the Rapids earlier this season. “I think he gave up, and I don’t know if I’m going to give up anytime soon. I told my wife once we have the baby maybe I’ll rethink it. I think the mustache looks good in dad pictures.”