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.