When U.S. Open Cup debutants San Francisco City FC take to the Kezar Stadium field against Cal FC in one of Saturday’s two U.S. Open Cup “Play-In” matches, the club will have the city’s rich history in the tournament to draw on.
There was the Italian Athletic Club, coached by local soccer icon Steve Negoesco, who brought the first title to the Bay Area in 1976. Before becoming U.S. Men’s National Team coach, Lothar Osiander led Greek-American A.C. to the 1985 title, with the club earning another Open Cup Final appearance in 1988. Upstart San Francisco Soccer Football League side C.D. Mexico barnstormed to the 1993 championship, before Greek-American won another trophy in 1994.
Three years into the tournament’s “Pro Era”, the Division Three San Francisco Bay Seals downed MLS sides Kansas City Wizards and San Jose Clash before their historic run ended in a 1997 semifinal defeat to then reigning champions D.C. United and even the short-lived California Victory made a small run in 2007.
San Francisco City FC will take it all into account when the club honors San Francisco’s soccer history at halftime of Saturday’s match.
Club: San Francisco City FC
Head Coach: Andrew Gardner
Affiliation: U.S. Club Soccer (NorCal Premier League)
Stadium: Kezar Stadium; San Francisco, Calif.
Tournament Appearances: First appearance (2015)
***$10 Tickets Available for Saturday's Play-In Match in San Francisco***
“It’s been a while since this city got to see the Open Cup,” club president Jacques Pelham told ussoccer.com. “There’s a lot of history to inspire our players and, we’re excited to honor San Francisco’s past success in the tournament while we try to write our own story.”
Founded as a local league side in 2001, City FC switched to a supporter-owned model last year, pushing to create a more competitive team to play in U.S. Club Soccer’s NorCal Premier League and qualify for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. In their first attempt earlier this year, the side ran through the U.S. Club Soccer tournament and defeated Stanislaus United Academica 3-0 in the league final on February 3.
On that day, City FC’s 300 members, who pay annual $50 dues or a lifetime $350 stake, saw their first success as owners. Since then, the amateur club has drawn 400-600 fans to matches at the city’s refurbished Kezar Stadium (former home to the NFL’s 49ers) and brought an increased local spotlight to the club.
“Our structure and early success has created some good,” said Pelham. “When we started we really had no idea what success would be. We had goals to aim towards what Detroit City FC and Nashville FC have done. I don’t think we’ve hit their level of success, but we’re getting there. No matter what, this is a good step for soccer in the Bay Area – people are excited about what’s happening here.”
The personnel of the amateur side expectedly has a number of interesting stories, beginning with head coach Andrew Gardner. A student of the game, the City FC boss began moonlighting as a field goal kicker in high school and eventually earned a scholarship to play football at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.
“Soccer is my first love, I watched and played constantly, studied tactics, but football was paying the bills,” Gardner said.
While he didn’t play anything beyond recreational soccer in college, it was his decision to study Management in Business School that has suited him well as he’s balanced an ever-changing squad of mostly former collegiate players that have taken jobs in the Bay Area’s tech and financial sectors.
“I did a lot of work on managing people and conflict resolution which doesn’t necessarily translate into the tactics of coaching soccer,” Gardner admitted. “But we’re at this very unique place where guys aren’t being paid, they’re not professionals, and we need to shuffle schedules and have a number of guys that are committed in case guys can’t play because of work.
“Coaching a high level amateur team, there are a lot of big personalities and talented players that you have to balance – one game we might have our top 18 players and numbers 20-25 players are going to be mad they’re not playing. My background there and in the business world has allowed me to think on my feet, develop and create relationships with my players so I’m able to navigate the choppy waters of some of the tough decisions.”
Some of his personalities include 2010 California High School Player of the Year and former UCLA forward Reed Williams who works in finance and goalkeeper Austin Harms, a four-year starter at Harvard who moved to San Francisco to attend law school.
San Francisco City FC fields an eclectic mix of amateur players determined to make a run in the 102nd edition of the U.S. Open Cup.
Central midfielder Mauricio Diaz De Leon, is an alumnus of the University of San Francisco and is now a popular youth coach in the Bay Area, while the team also features left back Gabriel Padilla, who played at Georgetown and recently trialed with USL sides Sacramento Republic and Wilmington Hammerheads.
“It’s a great mix of guys who are one step below playing professionally, whether they went off and trialed and maybe didn’t quite make it. Then there’s a group that could be playing in USL, but they’re realistic. They’re smart and have degrees to work in some great areas and taking a small paycheck to play soccer didn’t work for them.
“We’re able to cater to the best of both worlds, allowing them to have a day job that they’re passionate about, but also provide a high level of soccer.”
San Francisco City FC takes its first bow in the tournament Saturday and they’ll do so against Cal FC, another amateur side that took the tournament by storm in 2012. After running off early wins against the PDL’s Kitsap Pumas and USL PRO’s Hammerheads that year, the side helmed by former U.S. international Eric Wynalda stunned Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers before falling to eventual finalists Seattle Sounders FC in the Round of 16.
Just as City FC will draw on the Bay Area’s soccer history for inspiration, they’ll do the same with their opponent’s 2012 achievement on Saturday.
“They’re the pinnacle of what teams like us are looking to do,” said Gardner. “When the announcement came out, it was unbelievable for us because as we’re forming the team over the last few years, we think about what Cal FC accomplished. You want to be able to compete at the highest level, put yourself in position to play these top teams and give yourself a chance and show that you have players that are able to compete at that level.
“Given their history and what they represent in this era of the Open Cup, getting Cal FC is special,” Pelham added.”The romanticism of this tournament is that anyone can beat anyone on any given day and we’re aiming for a similar trajectory.”
CHICAGO (April 20, 2015) – U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team head coach Javier Perez has selected a 20-player roster that will travel to Medugorje, Bosnia & Herzegovina, for the team’s first training camp of 2015, running from April 22-May 1.
During camp, the U-18 MNT will play three friendlies. First, it will match up against Siroki Brijeg on April 25, followed by a contest against Bosnia U-18’s on April 28. A second game against Bosnia will take place two days later on April 30.
Earlier this year, the U-18’s competed in the 2015 Copa Chivas Tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico, where they played Monarcas Morelia, Cruzeiro Esporte Clube, Club Tijuana and Club Deportivo Universidad Catolica, finishing with a record of 1-2-1 in the competition.
The U.S. roster features nine players who competed at Copa Chivas, including goal scorers Mauricio Pineda and Eryk Williamson.
Thirteen of the players are with current Development Academy clubs while all 20 have Academy ties.
For all the latest information on the U-18 MNT, follow the team on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.
Roster by Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jonathan Klinsmann (Irvine Strikers; Newport Beach, Calif.), Mason Stajduhar (Orlando City SC; Oviedo, Fla.)
DEFENDERS (6): Marcello Borges (New York Red Bulls; Kearny, N.J.), Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls; Brooklyn, N.Y.), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; Tucson, Ariz.), Pablo Pelaez (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Tommy Redding (Orlando City SC; Oviedo, Fla.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Amir Bashti (San Jose Earthquakes; Cupertino, Calif.), Cameron Lindley (Chicago Fire; Carmel, Ind.), Emmanuel Sabbi (Chicago Magic; Libertyville, Ill.), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake; Casa Grande, Ariz.), Ben Swanson (Columbus Crew SC; Grove City, Ohio), Jackson Yueill (Minnesota Thunder; Bloomington, Minn.), Eryk Williamson (D.C. United; Alexandria, Va.)
FORWARDS (5): Mukwelle Akale (Villarreal CF; Minneapolis, Minn), Coy Craft (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), Brooks Lennon (RSL Arizona; Paradise Valley, Ariz.), Christian Lucatero (Houston Dynamo; Pasadena, Texas), Victor Mansaray (Seattle Sounders; Des Moines, Wash.)
CHICAGO (April 20, 2015) – The U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team will hold a training camp in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, from April 26-May 3, featuring 24 current collegiate players.
The majority of the roster has extensive experience with the USA’s Youth National Teams, including nine players who have played for the USA at FIFA U-17 or U-20 Women’s World Cup tournaments.
The camp will be used as a final evaluation to pick a 20-player roster that will travel to Norway in May to play the U-23 teams from Sweden, Norway and England.
Roster by Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Stanford; Kennesaw, Ga.), Madalyn Schiffel (USF; Citrus Heights, Calif.), Abby Smith (Texas; Plano, Texas)
DEFENDERS (8): Christina Gibbons (Duke; Raleigh, N.C.), Jaycie Johnson (Nebraska; Lake Winnebago, Mo.), Kayla Mills (USC; West Covina, Calif.), Katie Naughton (Notre Dame; Elk Grove Village, Ill.), Cari Roccaro (Notre Dame; East Islip, N.Y.), Jacqueline Simpson (USF; Lithia, Fla.), Emily Sonnett (Virginia; Marietta, Ga.), Andi Sullivan (Stanford; Lorton, Va.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Claire Falknor (Florida; Dayton, Ohio), Michaela Hahn (Florida State; Titusville, Fla.), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin; Cincinnati, Ohio), Ashley Meier (Virginia Tech; Strongsville, Ohio), Gabbi Miranda (UCLA; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Alexis Shaffer (Virginia; Cary, N.C.), Danielle Weatherholt (Santa Clara; Capistrano Beach, Calif.)
FORWARDS (6): Makenzy Doniak (Virginia; Chino Hills, Calif.), Hayley Dowd (Boston College; Peabody, Mass.), Ashley Hatch (BYU; Gilbert, Ariz.), McKenzie Meehan (Boston College; North Scituate, R.I.), Margaret Purce (Harvard; Silver Spring, Md.), Taylor Smith (UCLA; Los Angeles, Calif.)
CHICAGO (April 20, 2015) – U.S. Soccer invites fans to enjoy pre-game Premium Hospitality ahead of the U.S. Women’s National Team Send-Off Series matches in California this May.
Premium Hospitality will be available on Sunday, May 10, at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, and on Sunday, May 17, at StubHub Center in Carson.
Premium Hospitality is an official U.S. Soccer fundraiser and includes:
- Premium match ticket
- Meet and greet, autographs and photos with former Women’s National Team players
- Access to U.S. Soccer leadership at this private event
- Superb cuisine and complimentary bar
- Game-day parking pass
- Commemorative U.S. Soccer gift
U.S. Soccer is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Proceeds from these events will support important soccer development initiatives, including need-based scholarships for talented young players, high-performance National Team programming and coaching education.
Premium Hospitality is available for individuals and corporate groups. Fans can purchase Premium Hospitality for $400 per person or $1,500 for a group of four (4). Part of your pass is tax-deductible and will be formally recognized by U.S. Soccer after the event.
Fans already holding game tickets may purchase their hospitality pass for $300 per person.
Space is limited for these special VIP events. Contact email@example.com to learn more and reserve your spot today.
CHICAGO (April 20, 2015) – U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Andi Herzog has called 20 players to Carson, California, for the U-23’s first domestic training camp of 2015 as the team continues its preparations for qualifying for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The team will train from April 19-21 and then face Mexico’s U-23 National Team on Wed., April 22 at StubHub Center in Carson. The match will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. PT on UniMás and Univision Deportes Network. Fans can also follow along on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt and @ussoccer_esp.
- READ: On the Lookout - Andi Herzog and Matthias Hamann Scout the U-23 MNT Player Pool
- READ: Klinsmann Q&A - Take Aways from Match against Mexico
Tickets are available and can be purchased at ussoccer.com, by calling 1-888-929-7849, and at the StubHub Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.). Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. (TICKETS)
“It’s a beautiful stadium and this is a huge rivalry,” head coach Andi Herzog said. “We had this experience with the senior team last week and it was a great atmosphere. For these players, it’s a huge opportunity and we want to see them make the most of it.”
This roster is charged with experience as nine of its players were part of the USA’s 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup Team and 11 participated in the U.S. U-23 camp in Europe this past March.
Roster By Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Cody Cropper (Southampton; Maple Grove, Minn.), Jon Kempin (San Antonio Scorpions; Leawood, Kan.)
DEFENDERS (8): Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps; East Palo Alto, Calif.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Alebrijes de Oaxaca; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif), Sam Strong (UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif.), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas; Lawrenceville, Ga.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Alejandro Guido (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Daniel Metzger (New York Red Bulls II; Holmdel, N.J.)
FORWARDS (5): Alonso Hernandez (C.F. Monterrey; El Paso, Texas), Alfred Koroma Shams (Unattached; Southlake Carol, Texas), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Mario Rodriguez (Borussia Mönchengladbach; North Hollywood, Calif.), Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy; Inglewood, Calif.)
- Nine players were a part of the USA’s 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup team: Cody Cropper, Luis Gil, Alonso Hernandez, Benji Joya, Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Shane O’Neill, Mario Rodriguez, Oscar Sorto and Jose Villarreal.
- Jordan Morris made his first start and scored his first international goal with the senior MNT during the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2-0 win against Mexico on April 15.
- Eleven players from this roster were on the squad that defeated Bosnia’s U-23 team 5-2 on March 27, including all five U.S. goal scorers from that game: Fatai Alashe, Morris, Rodriguez, Joya and Hernandez. Other players returning from that roster are Christian Dean, Ocegueda, O’Neill, Sorto, Gil, and Alfred Koroma Shams.
- In addition to Gil captaining the USA during the win against Bosnia, he also assisted on three of the five tallies.
- Cropper, Dean, Gil, Kempin, Morris, O’Neill, Serna and Sorto have all been part of a USMNT senior camp this year.
- Gil and Morris are the only two players from the roster to have earned a cap with the senior team in 2015.
- MLS has sent nine players for this roster with two players each from the Colorado Rapids, LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake.
- Four players on the roster play for Mexican-based clubs (Three from Liga MX and one from Ascenso MX).
- The 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying championship will be played in the United States from Oct.1-13
- Fourteen players on the roster have ties to U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy: Kempin (Sporting KC Academy), Dean (De Anza Force), Boyd Okwuonu (FC Dallas Academy), O’Neill (Colorado Rapids Academy), Serna (Colorado Rapids Academy), Sorto (LA Galaxy Academy), Sam Strong (Real So Cal), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas Academy), Alashe (Vardar), Luis Gil (Pateadores), Joya (De Anza Force), Daniel Metzger (New York Red Bulls Academy), Morris (Seattle Sounders Academy) and Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy Academy).