2017 Member Benefits Announced

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San Francisco City FC is excited to announce that we have partnered with our new neighbors at The Yard at Mission Rock to provide exclusive SF City Member Benefits.

This is just another step in our continuing efforts to create a club with a genuine community connection.  We hope to see you at YOUR new Clubhouse & Team Store!!

NEW!! 2017 Member Benefits at The Yard / Team Store:
(With your Member Card)

  • Street Soccer USA Park: $5 drop-in play rate for SF City members (normally $10-15)
  • Anchor Beer Garden: $1 off non-special beers
  • Belcampo: 10% order discount
  • Creperie St. Germain: 30% order discount (excluding alcohol)
  • SF City Team Store: 20% off your in-store purchase

 

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SF City notches 2-0 preseason victory at SF State

By Gabe Zitrin

Ashley Watson returned to torment his former team with a goal, and Chris Kennedy alertly added another, as San Francisco City FC remained undefeated in five preseason games with a comfortable 2-0 win over the Gators of San Francisco State at SFSU’s Cox Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

SF State opened the affair by working a few half-chance shots from the perimeter, including a free kick shot on goal in the fifth minute, but none significantly stretched SF City goalkeeper Alex Clewis. SF City went on to create the better of the chances for the rest of the first half, nearly scoring off a free kick near the right corner flag in the 19th minute. Captain Danny Kirkland’s in-ball headed for SF State’s back post and was headed inches wide.

Watson, a Gators player last year in addition to his work with SF City, finally broke through in the 44th minute. After a foul was called against SF State about 40 yards out on the left-hand side, Kirkland put his free kick on a dime into the center of the box, where it was headed down by Kennedy in front of the charging goalkeeper. Watson ran onto Kennedy’s header, took a touch to the left, and fired into a largely open goal.

SF City’s second came out of nothing six minutes after the restart as a reward for its high-pressing strategy. Kennedy smartly charged at an errant back pass that was within his reach near the edge of the SF State area, and the forward made no mistake with a one-time shot, doubling the lead in an instant and very much giving the game the feeling of having already been decided.

Three minutes later, it looked as though he’d created another goal under similar circumstances as he worked hard to dispossess his man at the edge of the box and play quickly to winger Bobby Edwards, who found Kirkland before the defense could recover for a shot that sailed inches high.

Though they weren’t able to convert any more of their chances on the day, SF City closed out the rest of the match without really looking in danger of conceding a goal, even as the game opened and sped up in the final half-hour. Their persistence in midfield consistently disrupted SF State’s passing and prevented many long spells of possession by the Gators, and allowing few threatening attacks.

SF City have two more games remaining on the postseason schedule, the next being played April 22 at 1pm at San Jose State University. Their second Premier Development League season begins on May 5 at FC Golden State Force, with their home opener coming on May 13 against peninsula archrival Burlingame Dragons.

SF City tops NCAA Champion Stanford 1-0

By Gabe Zitrin

San Francisco City FC head coach Paddy Coyne barely cracked a smile, but his squad move forward towards the Premier Development League season with an unmistakable shot in the arm after winning 1-0 over back-to-back NCAA Champion Stanford University in a preseason friendly on Friday in drizzly Palo Alto. Stanford alum Felipe Noguerol’s 77th minute header and a spectacular performance from their back line helped SF City avenge their 4-1 defeat at the hands of the champs a year ago, and build momentum and sharpness for the rest of the preseason schedule.

Both teams managed only half-chances in the early going, but Stanford, whose starting eleven featured no fewer than four players set to join SF City this Summer, began to show by the late first half why the last two NCAA championship trophies are theirs. A sensational buildup play with a soft back pass left past and future SF City player Bryce Marion with time alone in the center of the box in the 38th minute, but SF City goalkeeper Alex Clewis came up with the most important save of the night to keep the match scoreless.

Sam Werner was the next Cardinal headed for SF City in the Summer to make a mark on his future teammates, after he took a beautiful throughball from midfielder Jared Gilbey to beat the SF City defense and fired just wide right with a left-footed strike in the closing seconds of the first half. The visitors managed a number of half-chances and shots on goal during the half, but none appreciably stretched Cardinal goalkeeper Charlie Furrer.

As the second half progressed, the hosts continued to enjoy most of the possession, but kept running into physical and athletic defense from the SF City back line, with John Quintanilla, Ben Brewster, and Christian De Luna each cutting out numerous attacks with force and finesse. With the rain picking up again, Stanford managed the most solid chances of the early second half through future SF City players Marion and Foster Langsdorf, reigning co-Player of the Year in the Pac-12, and it looked as though they were likelier to break the deadlock.

But a trio of second half substitutes for SF City had other ideas. Johannes Demarzi played a diagonal ball for the consistently lively Gerardo Mendoza, who worked space along the right side of the end line and lofted a cross to the far side of the box, where Noguerol was waiting to torment his former team with a looping header that left no chance for Furrer and found the top left corner.

With the first goal of the game, the speed of the hosts’ play went haywire, and the closing minutes saw SF City forced into a number of desperate clearances to hang onto their lead, but they came up with every one that they needed, and held on for a tough, valuable win.

There’s no rest for the weary, though, as SF City’s next friendly comes Sunday night at Division II’s Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont. But it can’t be denied that they know a lot more about their capabilities and can’t help but feel more optimistic as the start of their second PDL season draws closer.

SF City Man of the Match: Ben Brewster

Game stats:

Fouls: Stanford 10, SF City 10

Corners: Stanford 10, SF City 1

Shots (on goal): Stanford 7(2), SF City 7(5)

Offside: No one? The whole night? Huh.

Cautions: Barry McCabe (SF City), 27’ (hard challenge)

Ejections: none

SF City, Stanford Players Ready to Clash, Then Unite

By Gabe Zitrin

With the final whistle blown on the third annual Bay City Derby, San Francisco City FC says goodbye for now to some familiar faces, including past and future teammates, on the University San Francisco Dons squad. But the next game brings a new storyline that few would have anticipated a year ago. When SF City heads to Palo Alto to take on the reigning back-to-back NCAA champion Stanford Cardinal on Friday, they’ll find no fewer than five future teammates lined up against them, most still basking in Tournament glory.

While USF has always been a natural strategic partner for SF City given their close ties in the San Francisco community (and as of 2017, shared home stadium), City have significantly ramped up their operations with the influx of talent from such a major national program. In just their second Premier Development League season, it’s clear City intend to forge ties throughout the entire Bay Area in their push for San Francisco soccer greatness.

“Stanford is a local phenomenon to San Francisco fans,” said SF City President Jacques Pelham, “their players are Bay Area players, people we get to say we saw play, from John Elway to Jordan Morris. It’s a name the kids in the community recognize and look up to from a very young age, it’s a place a lot of them dream of being one day.”

Of course, the same could be said of Stanford archrival UC Berkeley (well, if you replace Elway with Aaron Rodgers and Morris with David Bingham), and the Golden Bears have made their mark on City, too, in the form of defender Trevor Haberkorn. Will we see more Cal players in the future, and City become the famous rivalry’s demilitarized zone? Pelham just smiles. “Club soccer makes for some strange bedfellows.”

It certainly did for Morris and Stanford striker Foster Langsdorf, soon to join SF City after winning co-Player of the Year in the Pac-12 in 2016. Products of rival MLS academies, they battled hard for Seattle and Portland’s youth teams, respectively, before joining up at Stanford to put past differences aside and win a championship together.

Sam Werner, Stanford and soon-to-be SF City midfielder, is another Timbers Academy product. He had similar observations on the eve of battling his future teammates. “It’s kind of fun making those connections all across college soccer,” Werner said. “Almost any game I’m playing, I’m going against players I’ve known from somewhere. That’s the setup with the amalgam of the PDL.” As one of a growing number of college standouts looking to stay sharp in the PDL between NCAA seasons, Werner saw San Francisco as an ideal spot. “It’s a great destination just to be able to spend time outside of being on the field,” he said. ”I have teammates playing for the Burlingame Dragons, too, so that’s going to be a fun rivalry game.”

But before enjoying the benefits of their growing South Bay partnership, City will have to fight for respect first against the champs, after having lost 4-1 in Palo Alto last year to a team coming off a national title and building towards what would become another. Strong play by their soon-to-be teammates is just one more obstacle to overcome in a game every SF City player is intent on winning.

USF Dons 1-1 San Francisco City FC

By Gabe Zitrin

San Francisco’s signature annual friendly lived up to its billing on a cool and clear Saturday night at the foot of Lone Mountain, but no one could pull ahead in the all-time Bay City Derby as San Francisco City FC and the University of San Francisco Dons fought to a 1-1 draw at Negoesco Stadium.

Carlos Carranza’s headed strike gave SF City the lead at the half, but Aaron Lombardi equalized for USF, and the Dons defense held off a furious late charge to claim a share of the spoils. Of course there were no points on offer, just bragging rights – but fans of both teams will now have to wait a long year for another shot at a full complement of those.

With SF City’s 4-1 win in 2015 and USF’s 3-1 revenge game last year, with current and former players of each team suiting up for the other, and with both teams calling Negoesco their home field for 2017, expectations and spirits were running high for the third annual matchup. A near-capacity Negoesco crowd saw an entertaining Bay City Derby, if maybe a frustrating final scoreline for the most competitive fans.

The game began with high pressure from the Dons and two tightly packed defenses, and solid chances were difficult to come by. The first real chance of the game took until the 29th minute to develop, when City winger Bobby Edwards made a run around his man along the end line and cut the ball back into the box, but the shot from a charging Jose Mendoza was palmed over by alert USF goalkeeper Andre Glasnovic.

City’s breakthrough came seven minutes later through the work of its two most active attackers of the game, as Ash Watson worked himself space for a left-footed cross that found Carranza’s head at the far post with pinpoint accuracy. Carranza made no mistake from close range and gave Glasnovic no chance, and City took the lead.

City, through Carranza’s cutting runs and Edwards’ galloping down the left side, managed the better of the chances in the early second half, but were unable to extend the lead and instead saw it evaporate in the 72nd minute, just after Carranza’s exit. Lombardi found the ball on the right side and worked his way clear of SF City’s defense for a left-footed shot, and although SF City goalkeeper Peter Swinkles got a punch to the ball, it wasn’t enough to keep it out of the net.

SF City responded well to giving up the lead and built several strong chances. Second half substitute Gerardo Mendoza was a consistent threat with long, patient runs and well-worked shots, but couldn’t find the target as the game opened up in the final 20 minutes.

The teams traded half-chances in the waning moments in an effort to break the deadlock, with Dons fullback Manny Padilla striking the side netting in the 88th, setting off a premature celebration from the assembled USF fans. Both defenses bent but neither broke, and with the final whistle the all-time derby still stood at one win apiece.

As USF continue preparations for the 2017 West Coast Conference season, SF City look to recharge quickly before heading to Palo Alto to take on reigning back-to-back NCAA champions Stanford on April 7.

San Francisco City FC Man of the Match: Carlos Carranza

GAME STATS:

Shots (on goal): USF 4(2), SF City 8(4)

Fouls: USF 11, SF City 10

Corner kicks: USF 2, SF City 1

Offside: USF 1, SF City 4

Cautions: Ben Brewster (SF City), 50’ (hard foul)

Ejections: None

Competition and Collaboration: Behind the Bay City Derby

By Gabe Zitrin

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Among the other storylines spinning around the third annual Bay City Derby, kicking off Saturday at 7pm between the San Francisco City FC and the University of San Francisco Dons, is the tale of three players on each side who will be using the match to be better and more effective when they join forces in a few months’ time.

Not only does San Francisco City boast three former Dons players — defenders Christian De Luna and Ludwing Vargas, and midfielder Danny Kirkland, but is soon to boast three more that are likely to show up as opponents on Saturday — midfielder Matt Orr, forward Bryce Kaminski, and midfielder Jordan Hughes, in his second season playing with both teams.

In a sport where a player’s sharpness can fade in far less time than it takes for an offseason to conclude, the West Coast Conference stalwarts and Premier Development League newcomers each have a strong incentive to help their players develop year-round. In practice, and given the strong connections both teams share with San Francisco, this has led to the sharing of a great deal of talent between USF and SF City. Of course, it also leads annually to the sight of past, future, and what amount to current teammates battling it out in San Francisco’s signature derby.

“To tell you the truth, I think it’s a part of why this is such a big game,” said SF City Head Coach Paddy Coyne. “Everyone knows each other, everyone wants to help each other be the best players they can be, but at the same time no one wants to lose. And when no one wants to lose, that’s what brings out the best in all the players.”

De Luna says playing against current and former teammates kick’s everyone’s competitive drive into a higher gear.I’m still close to a lot of the [USF] guys and I know they are really excited to be playing against some USF alumni. There is definitely a lot of smack talking, but it’s all in good fun. I definitely can’t wait to teach the young USF boys a thing or two.”

Not surprisingly, the USF players have much the same idea.

Captain Danny Kirkland on Saturday’s Bay City Derby

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To find the origin of one of the most identifiable players in San Francisco soccer, who has captained not one but two of its best-known teams, you might not think to look 5,000 miles East-Northeast of Negoesco Stadium. But that’s where the path to San Francisco soccer greatness began for San Francisco City FC captain and former University of San Francisco Dons captain Danny Kirkland, who reflected on the path that brought him to this point as he prepares to lead his current squad against his former one in the third Bay City Derby at Negoesco on Saturday.

“I come from a small town called Chesterfield, less than 10 miles outside of Sheffield,” Kirkland told me. “It’s a much smaller community where everybody knows everybody and it’s football-mad. Growing up, all kids want to do is become a professional footballer – it’s a lifestyle.”

The same was true of Kirkland, a central midfielder known for his powerful and accurate left foot and quick decision-making on the ball. He joined the youth system of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club in England’s second division, but took a different path as he reached his prime playing years. Wednesday’s Academy Director had played in the US, and suggested that university soccer in the States might be Kirkland’s best move — especially in one of the most beautiful cities in the US or anywhere else. “All I knew is that I wanted to play in California,” Kirkland says. “I signed my [National Letter of Intent] without even visiting San Francisco – I knew it was the place to be.”

And he’s never had cause to second-guess that decision. “Looking back now,” he says, “I was extremely lucky to be able to live and play in San Francisco. The experience of training day in, day out in a city as great as this one isn’t an opportunity that comes around all that often.” Not that the changeover went off without a hitch: “It took a while for me to adjust – to everything. The style of football was completely different to what I was used to, the culture, and also moving from a relatively small town to a vibrant city, it took time to settle in. It’s much faster pace here and obviously technologically more advanced.”

Technologically? “Uber isn’t a thing in Chesterfield!”

Ride-sharing services aside (he declined to say whether he considers Uber’s presence a good thing or a bad), there’s been no adjustment period needed for Kirkland to form a close bond with the fans of San Francisco. He’s been a clear fan favorite since first suiting up for the Iron and Gold, and the feeling is mutual. “The SF City fans and the Northsiders are incredible – passionate, dedicated, loyal people and some of the best fans I’ve ever played for. Soccer has grown immensely since I arrived here almost six years ago and I imagine it will continue to become more and more popular, especially considering the number of children in the City that are all involved in the sport.”

Trialing and then playing at SF City after his final year with the Dons, alongside fellow USF alum and current Los Angeles Galaxy defender Dave Romney, Kirkland instantly found that the club fit his vision of the game. “We were involved in the Open Cup run and I really believed in what the club was trying to do. There is such a community feel around the place, between the players, staff and fans.”

As he prepares to face the Dons on Saturday, perhaps no one else involved in the game has as deep a connection to SF City’s opponent or to the Bay City Derby as an institution. But the past is the past, and Kirkland knows where his loyalties lie. “I had four great years at USF and a lot of memories there so of course it will be nice to be back,” he says, “It’s crazy to think that the current seniors were just freshmen during my last season. But I’m an SF City player now, so naturally I want a win for us. If I was out injured, I’d be stood watching the game with the Northsiders!”

Bay City Derby Has San Francisco Buzzing

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A battle between brothers on a hilltop amid the rolling fog — in just its third year, the Bay City Derby between the University of San Francisco Dons and San Francisco City FC has already captured the imaginations of the soccer community as the year’s showcase evening for the beautiful game in San Francisco. The teams’ shared status as San Francisco soccer institutions and commitment to growing the game in the City have transformed their annual friendly into a full-scale celebration on turf.

Along with the two teams’ long histories and their roots in San Francisco culture, there is a growing familiarity and overlap between the players and fan bases of USF and SF City. SF City boasts a number of current and former Dons players, including Christian de Luna, Ludwing Vargas, and captain Danny Kirkland, and Dons Jordan Hughes, Matt Orr, and Bryce Kaminski are set to join SF City as well when the NCAA season ends. For good measure, SF City color commentator Joe Dugan is also a former Don, having played under legendary coach Steve Negoesco.

With such deep ties between the two clubs, players and fans alike have fond memories of the two previous editions of the Derby — the Iron and Gold’s 4-1 win in 2015, and the Dons’ 3-1 triumph in 2016 — and are primed and ready for Saturday’s rubber game. The winner takes the lead in the series, and the loser begins a long year waiting for a chance to make amends.

Another new twist in the 2017 version of the Bay City Derby is that the venue, Negoesco Stadium, is now the home stadium for both teams playing. San Francisco City FC joins USF at the field at the foot of Lone Mountain for their 2017 slate of games, so for one night fans of both clubs can get all their cheering done at the same time. For everyone associated with USF and SF City, in uniform and out, the excitement for this game runs as high as its mountain setting.

Coming Soon: New Retail and Office Space!

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We are thrilled to announce that we will soon be moving to our new retail and office space at The Yard at Mission Rock, at 100 Terry A. Francois Boulevard.

Our new home base sits right on McCovey Cove, at the South end of the 3rd Street bridge — across from AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, steps from the Anchor Beer Garden and Street Soccer USA Park. It will carry all your favorite SF City FC merchandise, function as the club’s administrative headquarters, and host special fan, youth, and Member events that we couldn’t be more excited to participate in.

We look forward to having our official opening on Sunday, April 23rd, in conjunction with our Jersey Unveiling and Season Kick-Off celebration.

San Francisco City win 2-1 away at Napa Valley 1839 FC

17342836_1596180350411900_8384359746983210971_nBy Gabe Zitrin

Given a rare opportunity to witness and participate in Bay Area soccer history, San Francisco City FC rose to the occasion Saturday with a 2-1 away win over Napa Valley 1839 FC. NV1839, playing their first match ever against outside competition, scored their first goal in team history three minutes in through Bryan Marin, but SF City calmly erased the deficit and secured the lead before the half, and held on stoutly to go home winners.

The Napa community was well-represented at the Redwood Middle School field for their team’s first public appearance, before the season opens next week at Napa’s Memorial Stadium. And the local fans didn’t have to wait long for something to celebrate, with Marin’s spectacular display kicking off the game. The left winger collected the ball on the sideline near midfield, beat the SF City back line with a tremendous burst of speed, and with no help anywhere nearby, finished from a tight angle past SF City’s Peter Winkels.

SF City were knocked back on their heels but recovered their composure quickly, and their skill in winning possession and space got them level nine minutes later. Left winger Bobby Edwards, a constant threat throughout his shift, beat his man off a turnover and drove into the box, forcing a hard foul from Napa Valley’s central defense and earning a penalty kick. SF City captain Danny Kirkland calmly converted low and to the right past goalkeeper Roberto Llamas to make the score 1-1.

For the rest of the half, SF City continually forced turnovers in threatening spots – midfielder Ashley Watson won the ball in the 25th and drove in on goal himself, firing inches high, but NV1839 wasn’t so lucky in the 37th when SF City forward Chris Kennedy won the ball 30 yards from goal with Llamas a hair off his line. Kennedy quickly got off a shot that left the keeper no chance to recover, giving SF City a 2-1 lead.

The second half whistle brought a break in the clouds that would last the rest of the afternoon. Facing an entire squad of debutants, SF City Head Coach Paddy Coyne used the pre-season environment to trot out a few of his own, with immediate dividends. Jamal Bernardez took over the right wing at the half and nearly helped double the lead in the 61st with a beautiful lofted ball over the top to a streaking Kennedy. Kennedy tried to chip the goalkeeper for his second of the day, but Llamas’ flying leap was enough to block the shot.

SF City’s defense kept NV1839’s chances to a bare minimum throughout the second half, denying them the passing lanes they’d seen earlier, and the home team’s only real chance to equalize came in the 82nd minute. A long free kick from the right side seemed to threaten the SF City box, but a foul was called even as SF City keeper Taylor Bailey made an athletic leaping grab to highlight his 15-minute debut performance. SF City were able to close out the game with little trouble to claim their first win of the young pre-season, taking home a little bit of history in the process.

SF City return home to prepare for the highlight of their preseason on April 1, a rivalry match against the USF Dons at Negoesco Stadium, while NV1839 open their season on March 25 at home against CD Aguiluchos.

SF City Man of the Match:
Bobby Edwards