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SF City Pre-Season Preview

by Gabe Zitrin

As they train, tinker, and strategize in advance of their second Premier Development League season, the players and coaches of San Francisco City FC are also using a packed and exciting pre-season schedule to prepare themselves for the rigors of the Western Conference. Seven games, against six local NCAA schools and one brand new semi-pro club, stand between SF City and their May 5th season opener at Glendora’s FC Golden State Force.

“It’s a tough schedule, it’s what we need,” said SF City Head Coach Paddy Coyne. “It’s going to force us to find our depth, play together as a team, make sure the chemistry’s there. We’ve got some matches back-to-back in the PDL to start off, so we can train for how that’s going to affect us, how we’re going to handle a quick turnaround.”

“It’s definitely a challenging month and a half,” said club President Jacques Pelham, “but that’s what we were looking to do. We went out basically looking for the games, looking for the opponents that Paddy needs to get the roster where he wants it, games the fans will like, that test the whole organization.”

After March 8th’s closed-door scrimmage with Sacramento Republic FC, SF City will launch their pre-season schedule on March 18th, on the road against newborn opponents Napa Valley 1839. Founded last December as members of the National Premier Soccer League, NV1839 will be playing their first-ever friendly match against outside competition when they host City at Napa’s Redwood School, before they move into Napa’s Memorial Stadium to open their first NPSL season a week later.

City’s competition gets a lot more seasoned from there on, as they take on the University of San Francisco Dons at Negoesco Stadium — SF City’s new home field — on April 1st. There won’t be many secrets left between these two sides, as a host of USF players have gone on to play for SF City. The Iron and Gold and the four-time NCAA champions have traded pre-season wins the past two years, with City winning 4-1 in 2015, and the Dons getting a measure of revenge with a 3-1 win last year.

“This is the one we have circled on the schedule, as far as the pre-season,” Coyne said. “It’s not just a friendly, it’s a showcase, it’s the big night of the year for football in San Francisco. The last two have been some of the most fun rivalry games I’ve been involved with, and you can really just feel tradition in the making when it’s City against USF.”

If USF are strong NCAA competition for SF City to face, then the back-to-back reigning NCAA Champions are as tough as it gets, as City visit the Stanford Cardinal at Steuber Rugby Stadium in Palo Alto on April 7. This game will also see some familiar faces on opposite sides of the ball, as City’s roster has some Stanford blood in its veins. The Cardinal counter with a squad with a few pieces missing from its recent championship runs, but all the tools they feel they need to mount a third one.

Just two days later, City head back to the Peninsula to face Belmont’s Notre Dame de Namur University on April 9. The Argonauts play in the Pacific West Conference in NCAA’s Division II, and will be more of a mystery to City than the familiar opponents of the previous two friendlies. With such a short turnaround time, there will be many City players on the field looking to make the most of their pre-season opportunity to earn playing time in the rapidly-approaching regular season.

Back in San Francisco, City will make a trip to Cox Stadium to face NCAA Division II’s San Francisco State University Gators on April 15. They go a little further afield to face the San Jose State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on April 22, before wrapping up an intense pre-season schedule against the Urban Knights of Academy of Art University, another Division II opponent, on April 29.

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SF City tie Sacramento Republic in first match of 2017

Match Report by Gabe Zitrin

Substitute Adnan Gabeljic’s last-second penalty brought them level, and San Francisco City FC enjoyed a solid start to their 2017 pre-season on Wednesday, with a 1-1 draw against USL side Sacramento Republic FC on a bright and windy day in the Central Valley.

The closed-door scrimmage at Sacramento’s Cosumnes River College marked the first match of SF City’s 2017, and head coach Paddy Coyne sent a largely veteran squad out to face a Sacramento team that mixed established starters with trialists and academy products. The home team took the lead nine minutes after the restart through Daniel Trickett-Smith, and surrendered it only with the game’s final kick of the ball after SF City’s Jose Mendoza was fouled while heading for goal.

“You can always train as much as you want,” Coyne said of the return to action, “but games are where you really see who’s fit, who’s sharp, who’s ready to go.” SF City center midfielder Danny Kirkland concurred, calling the day’s outing a “good test for us, good opposition, coming up here and playing against a pro team, a well-established team.”

Both sides struggled to create chances in the first half, with Sacramento’s team speed and SF City’s defensive skills snuffing out many half-chances before they’d begun. Kirkland and SF City center back Ben Brewster each made several vital interventions to short-circuit Sacramento attacks.

SF City managed the first real chance of the game 17 minutes in through winger Johannes Demarzi. The veteran found enough space for a cutting diagonal ball into the left channel aimed at the onrushing Carlos Carranza, whose one-time left-footed shot tested the reflexes of Sacramento goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek, who punched the ball over for an SF City corner. The hosts countered as the half went on with charging runs down the wings, and managed the best chance of the half in the 34th minute. SF City were lucky to escape unscathed after a corner kick from the right side bounced fortuitously to a Republic academy product on the far post, but the shot was scuffed inches wide.

The hosts would eventually break through in the 54th minute after a tough, physical play from forward Lamin Suma, who retained possession against two SF City defenders in the left channel, and forced enough space to put a lofted cross into the SF City box. Trickett-Smith was waiting at the far post and easily headed in past SF City’s Peter Swinkles for the lead.

With SF City chasing the game for some of the second half, play began to open up, and both teams created space for open shots from outside the box that went wide of their targets. SF City second-half substitution Dylan Murphy was a consistent threat to shoot from the perimeter, but was unable to equalize.

But SF City’s persistence would eventually pay off at the close of the game, after a quick one-two play in the box saw Mendoza get possession with a look at goal. Suma attempted to clear, but missed the ball and clipped Mendoza instead, and the referee pointed to the spot immediately. Gabeljic cooly finished low and to the right past Republic’s academy substitute goalkeeper to even the score. “In the second half we got our legs back, created a few more opportunities,” Coyne said. “I think the penalty was well deserved, it was coming.”

Not a moment too soon, as the next turn of events was the final whistle.

SF City have a ten-day break before their pre-season resumes, with a first look at brand new club Napa Valley 1839 on March 18 at Napa’s Redwood Middle School — this time open (and free) to fans. Kirkland, captain for the day, summed up the team’s overall mood after the match: “It’s nice to be back.”

Game Statistics:
Shots (on goal):
Republic FC 13 (4)
SF City FC 10 (6)

Fouls:
Republic FC 12
SF City FC 8

Saves:
Republic FC 5
SF City FC 3

Corner kicks:
Republic FC 2
SF City FC 1

Offside:
Republic FC 2
SF City FC 5

SF City Man of the Match:
Ben Brewster

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SF City to play back-to-back National Champions Stanford!!

Remember when Andrew Epstein made some final winning heroics in the 2016 College Cup Final!? Well now we’re playing Stanford, the back-to-back Division I National Champions in a preseason tune-up. SF City midfielders, Bryce Marion and Trevor Hyman are also two time National Champions with the Cardinal!

Join us on April 7th at 7pm live at the Steuber Rugby Stadium (adjacent to Laird C. Cagan Stadium) for this special preseason match!!

Also added to the calendar is an April 22nd match vs. San Jose State at 1pm.

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SF City partners with Street Soccer USA Park’s FIFA 17 Series!

SF City has been named as Presenting Sponsor of Street Soccer USA Park’s inaugural “FIFA 17” tournament series. The monthly competition will feature local players battling it out on the virtual fields of the highly popular video game.

Street Soccer USA Park, located at The Yard across from AT&T Park, will play host to the monthly competitions as players compete in a single elimination format to decide who will be named champion. SF City will provide all participants with tickets to a 2017 Home Game at Negoesco Stadium and as well as prizes for all semi-finalists, champions and runners-up.

Street Soccer USA Park’s General Manager Christian Martin stated, “We are very happy about this partnership because we know the work SF City FC is doing to unite San Francisco through soccer. These FIFA 17 tournaments will be a great way to bring members of the San Francisco soccer community together, whether your passion for the sport comes from playing out on the field or behind a game controller.”

“We are excited to continue our support of Street Soccer USA and the SSUSA Park’s ongoing efforts to serve the SF soccer community” said San Francisco City FC President Jacques Pelham. “The SSUSA Park is an amazing asset and we think this will be fun and entertaining way to help further SSUSA’s mission of using soccer for social good.”

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And They’re Back!

City Fans, please welcome back Manager Paddy Coyne and 1st Team Coach Shaun Ramsden!

The duo took over the reigns of SF City FC in the 2015 during the NorCal Premier League Summer session and have been with SF City ever since. In 2015, they guided SF City through a tough qualification process to get to the 1st Round of the U.S. Open Cup. For a first year club in the PDL, Coyne and Ramsden amassed a 6-6-2 record, finishing in 3rd place of the Central Pacific Division, narrowly missing a playoff berth.

Coyne, who has coached on 4 different continents and in 5 countries is delighted to be back stating, “I’m super excited for the upcoming season. We have some great players returning to the fold, as well as new talent to announce in the upcoming months. Our new stadium’s playing surface will suit our fast passing game and I’m sure the atmosphere will be very special with our wonderful support.”

With 20 years of coaching experience in the United States, Ramsden added, “Representing this City and the fans is something that makes me very proud. We learned so much about the league and its demands in our inaugural season. With more time to recruit, a new home venue, we are extremely excited and motivated to bring a winning mentality this summer.”

We look forward to having Paddy and Shaun leading our coaching staff in 2017!!

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Negoesco Stadium here we come!

SF City FC is delighted to announce that we’ll be playing our 2017 PDL season on the campus of the University of San Francisco at Negoesco Stadium. Nestled and tucked away at the corner of Parker and Golden Gate Avenue, it’s one of San Francisco’s only soccer specific stadiums.

Named after legendary USF Dons coach Steve Negoesco, the stadium was completed and opened in 1982. Negoesco was responsible for winning 5 National Championships at USF. Negoesco Stadium has hosted the likes of the MLS’ San Jose Earthquakes, L.A. Galaxy, China’s Shanghai Shenhua in addition to the Mexican and Senegalese Olympic National Teams in 2012. However, the last San Francisco based club that called Negoesco Stadium home was the San Francisco Seals. The Seals played at Negoesco from 1992-1997 and from 2006-2008 also as PDL franchise.

“We’re extremely excited to announce Negoesco Stadium at the University of San Francisco as our home stadium for 2017. The University of San Francisco has one of the deepest soccer traditions in the U.S. and a legacy of representing San Francisco at the highest levels of American soccer. We are honored to continue the tradition of San Francisco soccer alongside the USF Men’s and Women’s soccer programs at Negoesco and thank University staff, coaches, and administrators for partnering with SF City to present our 2017 Home Season at Negoesco Stadium,” said President Jacques Pelham.

In 2016, Negoesco Stadium received some notable upgrades. The pitch received a brand new AstroTurf playing surface. The new turf replaced the former artificial surface that had been in use for eight years, and features a “green” natural infill consisting of a pumice-like material specially formulated for soccer facilities. The stands were recently refurbished and new seats have been added.

SF City will play up to 7 home games at Negoesco Stadium including our preseason match vs. USF on April 1st at 7pm, which is just two months away!

Want to see SF City in action at all our home games? You can by becoming a Member for just $40 or Season Ticket holder for $60 (with a $10 gift card to our team store!!). Click here for more info!

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Announcing Our 2017 Preseason Schedule

Hey SF City Fans and Members!!

The wait is over! We know you want to see the Iron and Gold back on the pitch very soon. Well, you don’t have to wait much longer at all. We’ll be playing 5 matches in the lead up to our 2017 USL PDL season, which starts in May 2017. Not a Member or don’t have season tickets yet?!?! Click here for more!

  • Wednesday March 8 AT Sacramento Republic (Closed Door)
  • Saturday March 18 AT Napa Valley 1839
  • Saturday April 1 AT University of San Francisco
  • Sunday April 9 AT Notre Dame De Namur
  • Saturday April 15 AT San Francisco State University
*Game times TBD

“The balance of playing collegiate, semi-professional and professional clubs, will give us a good gauge of where we’re at and will test our new potential players in the best of soccer environments. Roll Fog!” said Manager Paddy Coyne.

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VOTE NOW FOR OUR 2017 SCARF DESIGN!

They say, vote early vote often…Voting is important. It is essential. Here at SF City FC we want your voice to be heard!!

Each year, our Members vote on multiple issues per year, plus a (9) person Board of Directors every October.

Members can take part in the special tradition of voting on our Member designed scarf until January 31st, 2017 at 12:01am.

To cast your vote, click here!!

If you’re not a Member already, do so for as low as $25 and click here!!

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5 Reasons to Become a Member in 2017!

It’s 2017 and we are getting into the groove as we’re about 5 months away from kickoff for the USL-PDL season! Here are 5 reasons why you should become a Member of SF City FC:

  1. Support your local club right here in SF at an affordable rate.
  2. Be part of a supporter-owned soccer culture in SF. Our fans have a real voice, vote on issues and continue to grow the club collaboratively as one. With over a thousand Members from over 15+ countries across the globe, you are helping us spread the word!
  3. Root for local talent in the Bay Area from our local colleges. Cal, Stanford, USF, St. Mary’s College, Santa Clara University, SF State and College of Marin were all represented with our club in 2016.
  4. Represent San Francisco. Help continue to put us on the map as a soccer city.
  5. If you sign up before February 28th, you’ll receive a $10 gift card to our team store!!

Starting at just $25 the time is now, don’t wait, sign-up today and become a Member by clicking here!