David Swift was the subject of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal article “Still Kicking,” which details his lifelong passion for soccer, and his career competing in professional leagues. The full article can be found below.
Kinsella Weitzman partner David Swift has been playing competitive soccer since he was 5.
Entertainment litigator David W. Swift isn’t quite ready to quit chasing after younger opponents.
A lifelong soccer lover, the Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump Holley LLP partner still ties on his cleats twice a week, competing regularly against players in their early 20s. “It can be hard on the ego sometimes,” said the 38-year-old Swift, who now specializes as a defender. “But I’m not ready to join the old man league just yet.” Outplaying younger, often faster opponents makes the game even more fun, Swift noted.
“And if I don’t outplay them, then I think, ‘Well, I used to be able to outplay them,'” he said, laughing. “The older I get, the better I used to be.”
Swift started playing soccer around age 5 in Palo Alto’s American Youth Soccer Organization leagues. An athletic kid gifted with speed, the future trial lawyer also played baseball growing up while spending time on soccer club teams. Once high school started, Swift decided to focus exclusively on one sport.
“I loved baseball,” he said. “But I was better at soccer.”
Swift was a speedy winger in high school and later earned a midfield spot on the NCAA Division 3 soccer team at Pomona College, where he played four years before completing his undergraduate work in 2001. While at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, Swift played a number of Los Angeles area leagues, often competing against former NCAA Division 1 players and former pros.
After wrapping up his law degree in 2004, he helped form a league soccer team with a number of his Pomona College teammates.
“We basically filled it with all ex-college players,” he said. “And we had a lot of success in the various LA leagues. We won the LA Metro League in Griffith Park and the South Bay Sports League in Manhattan Beach.”
The makeup of that team has changed a great deal over the years, and the squad now competes in the Santa Monica Airport league, which is loaded with former D-1 players and some former pros. Swift is, however, one of just two remaining founding team members.
“For someone of his age, he’s incredibly good,” said team manager Micah Wood, a former D-3 National Champion who first played with Swift seven years ago.
“I’ve been really impressed with his ability to adapt to the different skill sets of opponents and just always be one step ahead,” Wood continued, mentioning that he lines up as Swift’s defensive partner for most team matches. “He rarely makes a mistake.”
David J. Dolinski, an entertainment attorney who’s been on the team for three years, described Swift as intelligent and tenacious.
“Dave is a superstar to be his age and still playing,” Dolinski said, noting that Swift still scores pretty regularly.
“He actually scores more than most defenders,” Dolinski explained. “He’s always making runs, chasing 22-year-olds and keeping up. It’s really impressive.”
“In 2015, Swift earned a spot on the Maccabi USA over-35 soccer team, a collection of Jewish athletes from around the U.S. who squared off in Santiago, Chile against national squads from Central and South America on their way to a bronze medal in the 2015 Maccabi Pan American tournament. Swift’s U.S. team lost its semifinal match against Argentina on a heartbreaking deflection in double overtime, according to the attorney.
“It was the first time in years I’d played against people my own age,” Swift said.
“When you’re playing in these men’s leagues in LA, you’ve got a lot of good soccer players who are 23, 24 and they’re still fast,” he continued. “Playing in the over-35 crowd with really top-notch players, the skill level is incredible, but the speed of the game is a little slower.”
Conceding that his competitive nature shows up frequently in his day job, which has included litigation involving celebrity A-listers such as singer Mariah Carey and actor Bradley Cooper, Swift likened trial work to battling against quality competition on the soccer pitch.
“In law, you should be able to oppose someone in a professional way, then at the end of the day look them in the eye, shake their hand and say, ‘It was fun doing battle with you,'” he said.
Miguel T. Espinoza, an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles who’s known Swift for years, said his friend is “easily one of the smartest people I know.”
“I would not want to be on the other side of the aisle on a case against Dave Swift,” Espinoza added. “It can be hard to keep up with him.”
Swift is married with two children. His 5-year-old daughter recently finished her first American Youth Soccer Organization season.
“I’d be thrilled if she fell in love with soccer the way I did,” he said.
As for his own pursuit of the sport, Swift insists he’s just not ready to give it up.
“I’ve had to adjust my game to be able to hang with the younger guys,” he said. “But my view is until they tell me I’m not cutting it anymore, I’m going to keep coming out and playing.”