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2017 AGM Report

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Thank you to all SF City Members who took part in this year’s Annual General Meeting. There were several important items discussed this year. Members Board Chair Joachim Steinberg delivered a fascinating presentation on the US soccer landscape, and its implications for SF City. Members’ Organization CEO Mike Gonos conducted a short lesson in SF City’s unique organizational structure, so new members could grasp how our team functions. Club President Jacques Pelham presented his annual State of Club address, providing an assessment of our successful 2017 season.

The biggest event at the meeting was the election of our 2018 Members Board of Directors. Thanks also go to Election Commissioner Allison Bridges, and her assistant, long-time member Clinton Becker, who ensured the election ran smoothly and efficiently.

Congratulations to our 2018 Board Members:

  • Joachim Steinberg
  • Peter Bogdis
  • Mike Gonos
  • Eric Schaefer
  • Brendan Browne
  • Wendy Guzman
  • Alexander Lovell
  • Mark DeVito
  • Kirk White

Upcoming initiatives and events were also discussed. Among these are our participation in the 2017 Light The Night Walk for Leukemia & Lymphoma, as well as plans for our FREE youth soccer clinics.

2018 is already looking like a pivotal year in the growth of our club!

Meet the SF City FC 2018 Members Board of Directors Candidates!

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SF City FC supporters, these club members have stepped up and volunteered to serve on the 2018 Board of Directors:

Kirk White, Joachim Steinberg, Eric Schaefer, Dominic Perrett, Michael Massocca, Alexander Lovell, Wendy Guzman, Michael Gonos, Willy Fouts, Olavo Dourado, Mark DeVito, Brendan Browne, Pete Bogdis, Alexia Bogdis

The SF City FC Members Organization represents the interests of the fans of our club, protecting their rights and advising and assisting the club in its mission of growing football in our City. The board is composed of nine members, all of whom are elected on a yearly basis.

All SF City FC members in good standing are invited to our Annual General Meeting on Saturday, 4:00PM October 14th, at Sports Basement, 1590 Bryant Street, San Francisco, to cast their vote for who will represent them on the board.

SF City FC is extremely grateful to all the candidates for volunteering their time and talents to the cause!

Absentee Voting:

Can’t be in San Francisco for the meeting? Members may apply for an absentee ballot and instructions by email to the club secretary.


Alexia Bogdis

I believe individuals and organizations are duty bound to support each other and their community. Everything is interconnected. Those with gifts should share them with others, and there is enough prosperity to share so everyone benefits. Whether that means volunteering at the Food Bank, mentoring youth, beautifying the community or lifting someone’s spirits we all have something to give. The Northsiders’ commitment to serving the community is unparalleled. I participated in the Light the Night last year. Getting to carry the white light of a survivor is something I actually can’t describe in words. I’m working on some ideas around youth mentoring which is a great need in our community. I love the fact that  SFCFC  isn’t just a consumer of the sport but feels the responsibility and desire to be a positive force in the community.

I will represent the voice of the people well!

Pete Bogdis

It’s been an honor for me to represent the members on the board this year. I look forward to continuing and growing the good work we’ve accomplished in 2017. Next year is shaping up to be a crucial time for our club, and I believe that the membership is in good, steady, and focused hands with our current board members. The members of SF City have built a solid, community focused foundation, and the future direction of our club is in all of our hands. Roll Fog.

Brendan Browne

Dear SF City FC Members,
My name is Brendan Browne, and I am running for re-election to the 2018 Board of Directors. I have very much enjoyed representing you all for the past two years. In that time, the club has seen an increase in membership, as well as an increase in community service participation and overall positive local impact. I strongly believe that the unique model of this club will allow it to thrive for years to come, and I want to continue to play a leadership role in seeing that this happens. If I am re-elected, I promise to represent all of the membership to my best ability. I remain available to contact via email at Brendan@sfcityfc.com if you have any questions. Thank you and Roll Fog!

Mark DeVito

My name is Mark DeVito, and I would like to be considered for the SFCFC Board for 2018.   I currently sit on the board for The Bay Bridged, a local non profit, and have held board seats for other non-profits in the past. I am a local business owner with a large network of outreach and social contacts, as well as a huge fan of SFCFC.  My strengths include a passion for soccer, a passion for community outreach, and an ability to get large groups together for fundraisers and community service projects.  Oh yeah, one of my businesses is a brewery, so I can provide beer for meetings!

Olavo Dourado

No statement

Willy Fouts

“Football explains the world.” If I had to describe the beautiful game in one sentence, that would be it.

Soccer is a form of communication that speaks to anybody. Given that the world is getting smaller and smaller, the growth and popularity of the game in this country is inevitable. The quality that showcases itself on the pitch, ultimately begins at the grassroots level. The same way a basketball is so effortlessly dribbled down the street, so to will a soccer ball. It’s up to the members, to instill this passion in the community.

Michael Gonos

I believe in this club and its mission, and have faithfully served it for the past four years. SF City is truly my life’s work. Its mission is more than just winning trophies, but, as I’ve said many times before, to do good through the game. I served first as part of the planning committee that built the foundations of the team, and upon its board of director for the past three years. I helped draft the by-laws of the club, and am a founding member of the club’s supporters firm, the Northsiders. For the past two years, I have had the honor both of serving on the Community Service team and as the CEO of the Members Organization.

What’s far more important than my personal hope that you will allow me to serve again is that we all dedicate ourselves to the great tasks ahead of us. We have seen clearly that our club is taking the right path, that of being embedded in our community.  To take our club to the next level, we must not only continue on this path, but take the definitive steps of expanding our commitment to local youth soccer and educational programs, improving our relations with local fan groups, and increase our outreach in underserved communities here in the City. I not only ask for the opportunity to continue working to achieve these goals. I ask all members to come forward and volunteer what they can of their time and abilities to help make this club a success.

Wendy Guzman

Hello,
This past year I have been honored to serve on the board. I am excited at the possibility to continue to be a part of such an important movement alongside brilliant like-minded individuals, who care about bridging sports and community.  It is with great enthusiasm that I bring to the table access to resources and community contacts, and a unique persepective as a native San Franciscan.

Thank you for your consideration.

Alexander Lovell

I am thrilled to run for re-election to the SFCFC board and continue the momentum we built during my first term creating a unified strategy for our philanthropic projects and community involvement.

I am an experienced fundraiser, event organizer, and connector. In the past year, I have organized fundraising teams and events with Easter Seals, Habitat for Humanity, and Cycle for Survival raising a total of nearly $10,000. I know players and coaches in the PDL, NASL, and MLS from my days as a player. I want to connect the existing board members with key influencers around the Bay Area to carve out a great spot for SFCFC. Additionally, I am comfortable working as treasurer and would be happy to administer Salesforce to organize membership and expansion. I am a Director at Salesforce and have completed admin training courses.

Most importantly, I’m a soccer fanatic. You can find me most weekends at Maggie’s, singing songs after a win or crying into my beer after another Arsenal stumble. I cleaned out my bank account to go to the World Cup in Brazil. I was also a mediocre player at top-league local clubs and first team all-county in high school. Basically, I live for soccer and am obsessed with the opportunity to build up a San Francisco club with true spirit. SFCFC is that club and I couldn’t be more excited to continue my journey serving on the club’s board.

Michael Massocca

Hi, my name is Michael Massocca and I want to share with you why I would be a good fit for SFCity’s board.  I am a resourceful person who likes to look at tasks in the big picture.  I do not think inside the box and try to be open minded and explore new possibilities whether they be going out of my way to help the team or turn a negative into a positive the whole way through.  I want to help the team any way I can whether its striking deals with locally owned companies to sponsor us during game days or provide us with food for tailgates, ect.  Even if I do not make it on I just feel the need to chip in and at least try to provide feedback to the team any way I can.

Dominic Perrett

It’s been a real honor serving on the SF City FC Board for the last year. I’ve been truly amazed at how much hard work, dedication and commitment the Board brings to our club.

During my first year, I’ve been focused on two core areas:

  1. Driving the vision of supporter-owned football. As you all know, SF City FC is one of only a handful of supporter-owned clubs in the US. I’ve been working behind the scenes to develop relationships with the small but growing group of clubs that are also trailblazers in this model of supporter ownership. Our ultimate goal is to build a network of like-minded clubs that is working together to achieve this vision
  2. Working with the Board to drive tangible improvements for the club. It was really exciting helping to launch and analyze the 2017 member survey. I think these kind of tools are extremely valuable in improving our club, not just for the current members, but also in expanding our reach and fan base over the coming years

SF City is uniquely well positioned to build upon our bedrock of local support and bring the vision of supporter-owned football to a broader audience in both the Bay Area and the rest of the US.

I would love to be a part of this exciting journey for another year!

Eric Schaefer

If someone had suggested to me in May of 2015 that I would be travelling more than five hundred miles to cheer on an amateur soccer club scheduled to play at a suburban Las Vegas high school I would have been skeptical, to say the least. In May of 2016, however, I found myself proudly wearing the scarf of a club in its first PDL game and doing exactly that. For 2017 I found myself serving as treasurer for the Membership organization.

I have screamed my voice raw for this club in the stands at Kezar then Negoesco and have been proud to lend my voice to this club in the boardroom. This coming year will bring the excitement of SF City’s third season in the PDL. It will also bring continuing uncertainty in the professional soccer pyramid, the search for a permanent home stadium, and the necessity of expanding our club’s investment footing and it’s casual fan base while keeping its driving values strong. A supporter-owned enterprise of any kind requires the commitment of its supporters to advance. I am ready to take my commitment to the next level and bring my passion and new perspective to advancing the club’s community outreach, sharpening its unique brand, and aggressively expanding its membership.

My name is Eric Schaefer. I am a Bay Area native, small business owner, homebrewer, (relatively new) football lover, and I wish to be one of your representatives on the San Francisco City Football Club Member Board of Directors.

Joachim Steinberg

My name is Joachim “Jake” Steinberg. I’m a current board member, a lifetime member of SF City, and a Northsider. As the current chair of the board, I have had the honor of representing SF City’s membership for two years and would like to continue as we approach a crucial time in the club’s history.

Over the past two years, I led the members’ board negotiations for the operating agreement and served as the members’ representative to the LLC board. I’ve also developed community service partnerships for the club, helped drive our efforts to create this year’s special pride jersey, and worked with both the ops team and the members’ board to improve our fan experience and atmosphere.

My professional background is in law, although I was also an elementary school teacher before becoming an attorney. I’m a passionate soccer fan who has attended nearly every SF City home match (and a fair number of away matches) in the past three years. If you have any questions for me, you can reach me anytime at joachim@sfcityfc.com

Kirk White

I would like to formally be a candidate for the board.  For the past year, I have been working with board member, Mike Gonos, on a few projects including community events.  I feel ready to take the step to be a board member, and help this team reach the heights of soccer and the San Francisco community.

SF CITY FC ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2017

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SF City fans, it’s that time of year again. Our Annual General Meeting is going on at 4:00PM, Saturday, October 14th, at the Grotto at Sports Basement, 1590 Bryant Street, San Francisco.  This is the most important day of the off-season, when you can help decide the future of your team.

You will have the power to choose the 2018 Board of Directors, who will represent your interests as members of the club. You can hear from our Coaching Staff and Club President as to the state of SF City and our plans for the future. You will be able to ask questions and make your opinions known to the senior management of the team. SF City Players will also be there to meet with you!

RAFFLE – We’ll be raffling off SF City gear and gifts! Be sure to get a ticket when you arrive.

20% SPORTS BASEMENT DISCOUNT – Be sure to do some shopping when you get to Sports Basement! Mention SF City, and you will get a 20% discount on all purchases*

FUN FOR KIDS – There will be games and activities, plus a meet & greet with SF CITY PLAYERS!

REFRESHMENTS – We’ll have free soft drinks, pizza, beer, and snacks!

Q & A WITH CLUB LEADERSHIP – We’re hosting a town hall style Q&A with representatives of the management, members board, investors.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECTION – Meet the candidates and cast your vote for the 2018 Board of Directors.  Members in good standing over the age of 21 may also run for a seat on the board. Interested SF City members may apply after September 12th. More info on the application process coming soon!

*Discount offer valid on Oct 14th 2017, only at Sports Basement Bryant Street location. Not applicable to labor, rental items, and 2017 bike or 2017 racket models.

Member Profile – Alexia Bogdis

PhotoGrid_1503715616684By SF City

This time, we’ll be hearing from Alexia Bogdis, teacher and leukemia survivor. We asked her about her personal story, how she got involved with SF City, her battle with leukemia and her relationship with the Northsiders, and her concepts about what a supporter owned team can do for the community.

I was born at Kaiser Hospital on Geary Street, and raised in Burlingame, where I currently reside. I attended College of San Mateo, Berkeley, Notre Dame de Namur, and SF State…a real local!

I have always had an awareness of the various soccer teams in the area because of my family.  I learned of SF City FC through the supporters group, the Northsiders.  My brother is an avid football fan and had been talking about SF City and the Northsiders since 2014.  I was stricken with acute leukemia and was hospitalized for many months over the year while receiving chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. One day my brother brought a huge banner to my room that said “We Stand With Alexia” signed by members of the team and the Northsiders. On subsequent stays at UCSF my room overlooked Kezar, and I could see the games on Sundays. I’d text my brother and he’d say “I’m waving the — flag up front” and I’d know where he was immediately. One of the first things I did while recovering was help paint a tifo, and it grew from there. At my first game, Charles Wollin was kind enough to seat me in the announcers booth when I was not strong enough to be in the bleachers. It’s now a family thing. Even our 83 year-old mom goes to games proudly wearing her scarf.

Supporter Ownership means actively and mindfully “consuming” the entertainment and excitement of the game. It means connecting to the individuals who comprise the team, and supporting both the players and the organization and the community in meaningful ways. I’ve never seen a relationship between players and fans like this. The supporters have a voice in the direction of the team. The corporate sponsors and investors are working with the supporters to produce an organization that serves the community and builds a love of the sport not just selling a “product” for their own material gain.

I was never an athlete and have never been a team sport player, but I’m a professional fan. Ha ha! I absolutely love baseball, of course the Giants, and have gone to games my whole life. I also used to go to every 49ers game. When I travel I always try to get to a ball game. I started attending soccer games when I was eight; my brother’s AYSO games. My sister and I would sit on blankets and another team mom got us Pom-poms so we could be the “cheerleaders”. I love watching golf too. And I’m a mellow but fierce SFCFC supporter.

I believe individuals and organizations are duty bound to support each other and their community. Everything is interconnected. Those with gifts should share them with others, and there is enough prosperity to share so everyone benefits. Whether that means volunteering at the Food Bank, mentoring youth, beautifying the community or lifting someone’s spirits we all have something to give. The Northsiders’ commitment to serving the community is unparalleled. I participated in the Light the Night event with them. Getting to carry the white light of a survivor is something I actually can’t describe in words. I’m working on some ideas around youth mentoring which is a great need in our community. I love the fact that again the group isn’t just a consumer of the sport but feels the responsibility and desire to be a positive force in the community.

I currently work at a non-public school in San Francisco that serves students in elementary and high school. I’ve taught almost all the grades in public school as well as special education. Now I am an administrator so I get to interact with students on a different level. I love to walk, hike, attend yoga classes, go to the gym, am interested in art, clean eating (with decadent treats like champagne and French fries!) and even some TV shows. Recently I’ve become a moviegoer and have done more travel in an attempt to see old friends and new places.

My battle with Leukemia: this topic gets me teary immediately… one day I was super fit, strong and healthy. I had a couple of moments in March 2015 when I felt lightheaded, and I thought it was stress…I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with strep throat, so I went to Walgreens to pick up my medicine…and my life changed forever. I passed out in the store, was taken to Peninsula Hospital and within an hour was told I had Acute leukemia(AML). It was a year and a half process of chemo and ultimately a stem cell transplant from an anonymous donor. Neither of my siblings was a match. I spent a total of about 100 days in the hospital and 4 months initially recovering, another eight months after that. That’s a lot of time for reflection and coming to terms with my demons. Immediately upon diagnosis I was transferred to UCSF, the best healthcare facility I could have hoped for. My family and friends were key in my fight. As I said, my brother rallied supporters from all over the world, many through his soccer connections. My room was covered with letters of support, I felt like I was a warrior and I had everyone behind me giving me strength when I had none. I am careful to never say I kicked cancer’s ass. I won the battle. I respect the strength of the enemy and I know the power of positive thinking, active participation in treatment, faith and support, grit and determination, grace and gratitude. I’m always mindful of those who did not have the outcome I have. It tears me up.

I see youth soccer as an activity that focuses on self-control, striving to improve, physical fitness and working with others towards a common goal.  I’m currently working with students who have emotional and behavioral issues. There’s one in particular who is quite good at the sport, and plays in a mid-peninsula Sunday league. His goal is to play in PDL and eventually on a pro team. He is lucky his father supports him in this. He was headed down a bad path and his goals and participation in soccer have saved him. We have seen him improve his academic performance, become an active participant in his education, and become a role model to younger peers. One incentive for him that I was able to provide was the possibility of meeting some of the players, playing with them or talking to them, and I want to get him some gear from the team store. It’s really motivating to him.  He’s starting to think about SFCFC instead of the Dragons!

I like the idea of reaching out to youth who may not have the opportunity to go to colleges we typically think of as feeder schools, to tap into their talents and offer them a chance to fulfill their dreams while grabbing some great talent.

Where I see the club in 10 years: we will all be old! The players will change but the legends will remain. I hope the fan base expands, for the sport in general. I think the intimate feeling of the Supporters will always be part of the organization as long as the vision of the founders continues.

SF City Falls 1-0 to Burlingame in Season Finale

By Gabe Zitrin

Matt Wiesenfarth’s hot streak against San Francisco City FC continued to the final day of the season, as his clever second half goal lifted Burlingame Dragons to a 1-0 win over ten man SF City in both teams’ Premier Development League finale at Negoesco Stadium on Saturday. Neither team finished in the top two spots in the PDL Southwest Division, with SF City coming up inches short of a postseason berth for the second straight year.

In a jagged, back-and-forth game under sunny skies, SF City found its share of chances on the afternoon and controlled much of the play, but was unable to pierce Nico Corti’s goal, and finishes out the year with a slender defeat in the latest chapter of a rivalry that reliably produces hard-nosed play, frenetic fan behavior, and the occasional red card.

SF City largely limited Burlingame to half-chances in a scoreless opening frame, locking down the wings to prevent a repeat of their larger loss on the Peninsula earlier in the year. The home side managed mostly half-chances themselves, from Davi Ramos’ ostentatious attempt to lob Corti that went inches high in the opening ten minutes to his free kick that Corti tipped away inches in front of a charging Christian De Luna in the 25th.

As the game progressed the chances became more dangerous for both sides, with Stanford Cardinal players on either side trading well-worked shots that couldn’t stretch their opposing goalkeepers – SF City’s Foster Langsdorf, after a beautiful interplay between Ramos and Danny Kirkland, and Burlingame’s Amir Bashti, whose spin move just before halftime won him space for an open shot that SF City’s Taylor Bailey easily smothered.

The visitors came out of the locker room for the second half on the front foot, and after Bailey’s diving save on a headed free kick in the 48th minute, they went ahead for good on the ensuing corner kick. Tanner Beason’s corner found Wiesenfarth at the near post, and the former UC Davis player — who scored five against SF City in their two previous meetings this year — spun a back-heeled flick that found the far top corner.

SF City had almost all of the chances from that point on but couldn’t manage a repeat of their last-minute equalizer against the Dragons at the previous Negoesco meeting. Langsdorf found SF City and Stanford teammate Bryce Marion in the 66th, and Marion worked space for a shot that forced a full-extension save from Corti. Langsdorf’s hustle saw him take the ball of a central defender and drive down the right channel in the 81st, but with no time to wait for support he pulled his shot wide left.

Just moments later, Langsdorf was shown his second yellow card of the match after a challenge on the offensive end, and with the ranks thinned, SF City didn’t manage as many threats in the final minutes of play.

In their first year at the more intimate Negoesco, SF City’s game-day experience quickly earned a reputation as one of the PDL’s most exciting. The season’s final match was emblematic of a 2017 campaign characterized by one-goal margins, frantic late-game flurries, testy physical battles, and some of the loudest, most exuberant fans in amateur soccer.

Coach Coyne Looks Back, Forward as Season Ends

feature1-3By Gabe Zitrin

As he prepared for the team’s final regular season game of 2017, San Francisco City FC head coach Paddy Coyne spoke with sfcityfc.com about how a strong but not-quite-spectacular season points to a bright future. The club ends its season on Saturday at 1pm at Negoesco Stadium against local arch-rivals Burlingame Dragons. Although SF City was eliminated from playoff contention as the regular season entered the final week, Coyne has come away from the campaign with a positive outlook on the past and the future.

“So many guys went out there and really wanted to show something, guys who want to go on and play at the next level. We had great play from veteran guys who brought a lot of experience. As the year went on, playing together as a team, we started to see some results.”

After the flurry of becoming a PDL team and fielding the squad immediately, Coyne says the 2017 season offered more resources to conduct the business of a professional organization. “So much was great about the second year that was different,” he said. “The first year we found out we were in the league maybe in March [two months from kickoff]. We didn’t have the kind of time, the kind of preparation that we had this year. We had a lot more to look at to figure out what worked and what didn’t from the first year. This year we had, I think, an 11-game preseason. I went to about 40 college games, recruiting was totally different from last year. So we were trying out things tactically, we had the local players, college players, guys who were excited about playing. We were playing three at the back for most of that, and most of the guys hadn’t really played that, so we had time to get used to the system, and we did well with that in the season.”

Playing at tightly-packed Negoesco Stadium instead of cavernous Kezar might have made a difference, too. “It’s a great environment, with the fans, with the Northsiders, it’s so intimate, it’s a really great place to play. And we play on turf. We play on turf at practice, so just having that turf as a field to play on is good, we can play our passing the way we practice. You know, going from that to grass at Kezar, you’d just see it really slowed things down. And just being on a college campus for all these guys, it’s a natural environment for a lot of them.”

All PDL clubs struggle to maintain team play with the constant changes in the game day rosters throughout the season, but Coyne says the way SF City is constructed was a key to its success in weathering that storm, and will remain so going forward. “In my ideal world, there’d be a few of the guys who’d go on to the next level, and then we’d have our pipeline of college guys who are going to be there for us, and then there are the local players that we use. We’ve got those to draw from where a lot of teams, they have to struggle to get some of that going. That whole melting pot has the ingredients that make us special.”

Sounds like a very San Francisco way to build a soccer team.

SF City Comes Back, and More, to Down OCSC 6-2

IMG_2672By Gabe Zitrin, photo by Alaina Preston

Backed against the wall, finding themselves down 2-0 at home, San Francisco City Football Club responded with a massive second-half outburst to down Orange County SC Under-23 by a 6-2 score line at Negoesco Stadium on Sunday.

Captain Danny Kirkland scored a hat trick’s worth of penalty kicks, with Kamron Crow, Bryce Kaminski and Robert Hines adding second half goals to turn a two-goal home deficit into victory for the second time this year.

SF City’s scoring threats began almost at the opening whistle, but despite half-chances in the early going from two of their Stanford contingent, Foster Langsdorf and Bryce Marion, it was the visitors who went ahead against the run of play after 12 minutes. OC captain Shinya Kadono made a charging run down the right channel and put a leading pass straight into the path of Alcantara, who finished neatly past SF City goalkeeper Taylor Bailey.

SF City continued to dominate the chances created, with back-to-back shots from Kirkland and Davi Ramos being cleared off the line by the defense in the 22nd minute, and Hines and Ramos coming inches away in the 23rd. So SF City’s fans were doubly shocked to see the visitors score the second goal of the game in the 25th minute, after Christian De Luna was adjudged to have fouled his man on a ball across the penalty box and Alex Sanchez converted neatly from the penalty spot.

But turnabout is fair play, and what was shaping up to be a long day for SF City got a lot shorter just before the break. A quick one-two between Hines and Bobby Edwards in the OC box put Hines in on goal and forced a foul from behind. Kirkland made his spot kick easily to reduce the halftime deficit to a less-intimidating one.

Coming out of the locker room, SF City dominated, first equalizing from the penalty spot in the 50th after Langsdorf juked past keeper Patrick Harding and forced him into a takedown, and when the referee raised a yellow card and pointed to the spot, Kirkland obligingly tied the score. It took only six minutes after that for SF City to take a lead they would not relinquish, as Ramos found Langsdorf on the right wing, who sent a screaming low cross that was hammered home by second half substitute Kamron Crow. And just a minute later, the home side found a two-goal lead of their own after Manny Padilla’s charging run forced yet another penalty box foul, and Kirkland completed his hat trick.

Now playing quickly and confidently with the deficit fading in the rearview mirror, SF City methodically worked two more second half goals from the run of play to give the home crowd their money’s worth – Hines’ slick move past a defender to fire home from the left side, and late sub Bryce Kaminski’s tenacious work to win the ball inches from goal and fire home from point blank range.

Playing with the disappointment of having been eliminated from Premier Development League playoff contention by the FC Golden State Force and Fresno Fuego wins the previous evening, SF City still needed to win to keep their hopes of a U.S. Open Cup berth alive by locking up third place in the Southwest Division, and with one regular season game left to play, they stand every chance of reaching one of the at-large qualification spots. That last game comes at home on Saturday, July 15 at 1pm, against peninsula archrivals Burlingame Dragons in front of the Negoesco home crowd.

SF City tops FC Golden State Force 2-1

IMG_2186By Gabe Zitrin, photo by Alaina Preston

Facing the runaway Southwest Division leaders needing at least a draw to keep their playoff hopes realistic, San Francisco City FC electrified the home crowd with their third straight Premier Development League win, 2-1 over FC Golden State Force at Negoesco Stadium. Bryce Kaminski and Manny Padilla put SF City ahead, and the Iron and Gold sustained Pedro Fonseca’s catch-up strike and a barrage of late pressure to hold on for the win and take control of their own playoff destiny. The game also saw SF City’s players debut the team’s alternate Pride jerseys, and the game-worn shirts will be auctioned off on sfcityfc.com through the end of the season to benefit the AIDS Legal Referral Panel.

Playing against a fast, physical team that had defeated them to open the season in Glendora, SF City started brightly with the obvious intent to match the physicality of the division leaders and use their own speed on the wings to stretch the field. Gerardo Mendoza was the biggest early threat, nearly getting onto crosses from Bryce Marion and Padilla in the early going to keep SF City on the front foot. The visitors responded by creating chances of their own born of some of their nine corner kicks. Center back Abraham Placito may have had the Force’s best look at goal in the first half when he rifled an open header off one such corner a couple of feet over the bar.

SF City captain Danny Kirkland’s free kicks were repeatedly threatening in the first half, and after one such kick was caught by Force goalkeeper Jose Miranda inches from the charging Kaminsky, the next one put the hosts ahead. Great work from Mendoza in the 42nd minute forced a foul at the right edge of the FC Golden State box, and Kirkland rifled a low free kick into the mixer where Kaminsky got just enough of a touch on the ball to deflect it in.

“The idea was to put it on target,” Kirkland said of his free kick, “from that short range you’re just hoping somebody gets a touch, whether it be our player or one of them. You give yourself a chance, and hopefully someone touches it over the line, and that’s exactly what Bryce did.”

Coming out of the locker room with the lead, SF City carried their energy into the second half and had what would prove to be an insurmountable lead after a beautiful exchange in the 54th minute. Padilla took a Mendoza pass near the top of the FC Golden State box, lofted a ball in to Ramos, and cut to the left in perfect time to receive Ramos’ chested return pass. He finished clinically with the left foot, doubling the lead and sending the fans crazy again.

“A lot of times me and Manny are trying to combine,” Ramos said, “back at USF playing together, and we’d done this together already at SF City, but unfortunately it never ended up in the goal. It finally ended up there, and I think we deserved it.”

But no strangers this season to having to frantically defend late one-goal leads at home, SF City would find themselves having to do it again after Fonseca’s excellent individual effort in the 69th minute. The second-half substitute took the ball at the left corner of the SF City box, juked out his first defender to create space to shoot with his right foot, and hit a laser beam of a shot that seemed to curve in several directions on its way to the top far corner, giving Keenan Weekes no chance to save.

Now back in the game, FC Golden State played with renewed energy and dominated the possession for the rest of the game. Despite not managing any more shots on goal, they forced a number of desperate clearances in the final 20 minutes and fired close several times, highlighted by Mark Verso’s free kick that rocketed just over the bar five minutes from time.

The win puts SF City in playoff position in second place in the PDL Southwest Division, three points closer to the leaders and with control of their own playoff chances regardless of anyone else’s results. Their next task is a challenging road match against fellow postseason hopefuls Fresno Fuego on July 1 before they finish the regular season with two home games in a final push for 2017 playoff soccer.

Head Coach Paddy Coyne Eyes Home Stretch

12779043_1218606251502647_4940345337482298661_oBy Gabe Zitrin

With four games left to play, and the team either in or out of a playoff spot depending on the day and how one values “games in hand”, San Francisco City FC head coach Paddy Coyne has no off days. He spoke with sfcityfc.com about the frenetic final push as the squad prepares to host FC Golden State Force at Negoesco Stadium on Sunday, June 25 at 1pm.

“We’re good to go,” he said of taking on the Premier Development League’s Southwest Division leaders, who defeated SF City in Glendora, California, to open the season. “The roster’s full, all our college guys will be with us by this week. We know how Golden State play, they’ve got great individual players, they’ve got some great attacking threats, so we’ve got to play well defensively, and we’ve got to take our chances, because we will get chances. We got plenty of chances last time even though we lost.”

As with every PDL team, SF City’s roster has seen plenty of changes throughout the year as the players balance school, work, and personal commitments with their PDL duties. For Coyne the battle between roster consistency and the use of fresh talent is just part of the game. “It’s a tough balance,” he says, “but I was recruiting guys seven months ago for this team, and we knew we were going to have some different additions. So with that mix, having the influx of players coming in, always keeps the competitive juices going for the guys.”

The availability of more talent serves another purpose: depth has been critical for SF City FC in a season that has seen them play on back to back days or twice in three days on road trips to Southern California. But with the right balance of lineup changes, they’ve picked up enough points on those trips to keep them near the top of the standings. On their latest trip they defeated Southern California Seahorses 1-0 in La Mirada, California, and two days later beat Orange County SC U-23 2-0 in Norco.

“Going down to LA, stuck in a van for 12 hours and having to play 90 minutes of football on Friday, that was tough,” Coyne says. “And then Sunday, it was 115 degrees or something. It was so hot. But, I mean, we won both games, the guys were up for it.” Besides a massive endurance test, the schedule also left the team with a Saturday in Los Angeles to kill, and the perfect way to do it: a Major League Soccer game. “We took the team to see the LA Galaxy, the Galaxy hosted us, gave us 22 tickets, they were really good hosts. I bumped into [USA head coach] Bruce Arena, too. That’s always great, it was a nice conversation.”

With momentum carrying over from the successful trip South, Coyne is excited to play three of the last four games in front of the raucous home crowd and the fourth in front of an equally raucous crowd in Fresno. “With the games behind us, we’re comfortable now playing at home, we get the speed of the turf, we’ve got our fans behind us, the guys go out there really pumped. And Fresno, the crowd down there is just, the atmosphere is incredible. The guys love going out there.”

But there’s a clear message he wants to send going into the final stretch of games, especially against the Division leaders: “It’s about peaking at the right time. The playoffs? It’s in our hands, our destiny. We’re the ones who get to decide whether we’re going or not.” The home stretch begins Sunday afternoon at USF, and concludes there with a derby against local rivals Burlingame Dragons on July 15. Any goal in any match between then and now could be the difference.

Leading Scorer Ramos Reflects on Past and Future

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By Gabe Zitrin, photo by Alaina Preston

Since its founding, San Francisco has been a place where people come to pursue what hasn’t worked out elsewhere quite the way they’d hoped, and the number of them who put down roots here is a testament to the success they find. The City hands down tales of miners and musicians, but its legacy of athletes’ dreams leading them here is just as strong.

Davi Ramos’ path to San Francisco was a winding one, and as he’s just 22 no one can say where it will end, but 2017 has been a success so far as he leads San Francisco City FC in scoring as they’ve pushed into playoff position in the Premier Development League Southwest Division midway through the season. With five goals in SF City’s last five games, his emergence has been among the most noticeable parts of the Iron and Gold’s run of form. He sat down with sfcityfc.com to talk about the long path to his exciting month, and where it might lead.

The University of San Francisco forward began his journey in his native Sao Paolo, Brazil, a fan of the historic Sao Paolo FC. At 16, noting that friends and teammates were finding unexpected playing opportunities in the United States, he tried out for one of the companies that can help place high school- and college- age Brazilian players with American schools, and soon found himself in Fayetteville, North Carolina, joining the state’s rapidly expanding soccer scene as a high school junior. “Soccerwise, it’s much more fast-paced, the game, less technical, more physical,” Ramos said of what he found there. “You need to think fast, you need to play fast. A lot of Brazilians that come over here, that’s one of the main things that they have trouble with. The time on the ball is not the time you have in Brazil.”

Two State Championships and a NSCAA High School Scholar All-American nod later, Ramos had a number of options for continuing on in the NCAA, eventually declining to pursue opportunities at North Carolina, Memphis, and Michigan State to head to Raleigh and the North Carolina State Wolfpack. At NC State he enjoyed a lot of playing time as a freshman but ran into his first major speed bump: the coaching staff wanted to see him playing more with his back to goal as a hold-up forward.

“It was really good to play in the ACC, a lot of guys that I played against are now playing in MLS, so it’s nice to see them do big things,” he says, but “I didn’t really like playing as a 9, and the style the coach played didn’t really fit the style I played.” SF City fans will surely notice that they haven’t seen him deployed in that role for head coach Paddy Coyne, who allows Ramos more freedom to create chances for himself on the ball. “After the Fall, I was already saying, should I leave, should I not? I had a talk with the coaches and told them I wanted to see how Spring went. In the Spring I decided that it was the best thing for me to leave, because of the style of play.”

With the success he’d had as a freshman, even in a position that wasn’t ideal, Ramos could have looked anywhere for a transfer, but like so many others, his dreams drew him West. “I just decided to come to California. I’d been already three years in North Carolina and wanted a change, so I emailed a lot of schools in California with my [NCAA] release papers, and I had my video, and got offers from a couple of them. Eddie Soto had just left UCLA and he was the brand new coach here, so I had the chance to be in the first incoming class for him.”

USF’s location proved to be a benefit, too. “The people in San Francisco are really different,” Ramos says of the experience. “They’re really accepting, they don’t judge you, you can be whatever you want to be.” But Ramos’ first year at USF, as a sophomore, also brought major speed bump number two: a dislocated kneecap and partially torn patellar tendon. But after missing just seven games, he was able to finish out the season on a high note, scoring in his first two games back. He also found his first opportunity in the PDL later in his USF career, but it might surprise some SF City fans that when he first became familiar with SF City is was as an opponent with the rival Burlingame Dragons.

After graduating from USF in December following a strong senior season, Ramos played his first professional soccer with América Pernambuco in Brazil, but with the rapid expansion of the PDL and the increasing quality of play, he wanted back into the league, and had an idea which club he’d enjoy playing for. “I talked to Christian De Luna, I lived with him, and he talked to Paddy, and Paddy was really interested. I felt like he really wanted me here and that I could help the team.”

And where does he want his time and success at SF City to take him? “I want to play as a professional. That’s all I want. I’ve always wanted it.” His last five games have to have helped him in that pursuit, and the rest of the SF City season will see him running just as hard after his lifelong dream.