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Introducing our team Physician, Dr. James Chen!

SF City is extremely lucky to work with Dr. James Chen, our team physician for 2015 and 2016. We wanted to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Chen and his staff, including athletic trainer Christine Gayoso, for caring for SF City players before, during, and after matches. We sat down to interview Dr. Chen who’s skill, care, and generosity has been extremely important to SF City during our successful 2015 and as we expand for 2016: 

Why did you become involved in San Francisco City Football Club?

I always wished there was a professional soccer team in Northern California. I grew up in Sacramento which is a hotbed of soccer but never had its own successful team. I remember from competitive soccer as a youth that the best bay area teams were not from the city. I hope that SF City can help develop talent in the city. I am so excited to be a part of a supporter-owned organization that has a very bright future and has built up an impressive fan base in a short time.

How has your experience been with SF City FC so far?

It’s been exciting to be a part of a grassroots team that is growing rapidly. I’ve been able to care for the players on the sidelines and in my clinic and I can say that the team has brought together a large pool of quality players. The fan base is intensely loyal and Kezar Stadium has its own storied history as well. It’s been fantastic to be on this journey with the club.

When did you start becoming a soccer fan?

I began playing soccer when I was six. I played on a competitive traveling team and then at Jesuit High School in Sacramento. I played in the Olympic Development Program and then at Swarthmore College. As a spectator, I’ve been to two world cups (France and Korea/Japan) and continue to dream of a US Men’s National Team winning it all. So I feel like I have been a fan my entire life. Helping out SF City as team physician was an easy decision for me.

How did you decide to go into Orthopedic Surgery?

I enjoy working with my hands and working around athletes because they are extremely motivated to get better. Orthopaedics is one of the most satisfying medical specialties because I have the opportunity to return someone to a high level of function and performance. I get to deal with a variety of problems such as fixing broken bones, replacing worn out joints, and reconstructing ligaments and soft tissues. Orthopaedic Surgeons in general have the highest career satisfaction rates among doctors and so I feel very fortunate to have chosen this specialty.

What are your favorite surgeries to perform?

I have expertise in minimally invasive surgery done arthroscopically. I really enjoy performing ligament reconstruction such as ACL surgery or meniscus surgery through two or three 4 millimeter holes. In the shoulder I enjoy arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery and stabilization surgeries of the labrum, which is a gasket around the shoulder socket. In all of these types of surgeries the patient has a loose ligament or unstable joint and after the surgery has a stable joint and can return to explosive sports.

What do you do in your free time?

I live and work in San Francisco and I have four young children. I enjoy as much time as I can with my family. I still play soccer, tennis, basketball, and ski.


James L Chen, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist with Advanced Orthoapedics & Sports Medicine in San Francisco. Dr. Chen earned his medical degree from the University of California Davis. He completed his residency at the University of Hawaii Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu. He completed his sports medicine, arthroscopy and shoulder fellowship at the University of California San Francisco, where he is an Assistant Clinical Professor. He is the Fellowship Director for the San Francisco Sports Medicine Fellowship.