With 12 new clubs coming into the fold, NorCal Premier Soccer is pleased to announce the latest round of expansion of entities into Northern California’s top youth soccer organization.
Joining NorCal Premier are Ajax East Bay, Alliance Soccer Academy, Audax Soccer Club, FC Corning, Pacifica United, Ravenswood Junior SC, Rayados Yuba City FC, Revolution SC, FC Royale, Rush Soccer Peninsula, Santos FC, and Sonoma County Premier.
“We are very excited to invite the new clubs into NorCal Premier Soccer for 2019,” said NorCal Premier Soccer President Benjamin Ziemer. “Over the years, our new club acceptance process has evolved into a vigorous review which sees about 50 percent of the applicants not accepted.
“Prior to acceptance, these clubs enter into an extensive application process which includes a peer review, a club visit by a NorCal Premier soccer core staff member, interviews with their key leadership team — both on and off the field, and finally a presentation to the RAC of their area,” Ziemer added. “The committee reviews player pool size, field availability, and the number of clubs in the area before making a recommendation to the NorCal Premier Board of Directors, who then review every application and new club committee recommendation before voting to accept the clubs, on a one-year probationary basis, into NorCal Premier.
“We know club soccer is the primary vehicle to offer the world’s game and we are excited to see soccer clubs grow in Northern California,” Ziemer continued. “While some clubs have been around for years while participating in other organizations, others are new clubs formed in areas previously without club soccer in their communities. The recreational base of players, previously only playing a few months a year of organized soccer, offers an opportunity for all clubs, new and existing, to continue to grow their membership base if they so desire.
“As these new clubs enter into NorCal Premier Soccer, they will find their way into the club soccer pyramid,” Ziemer concluded. “Some have the vision of becoming a feeder club, promoting their players to the clubs striving to develop players into the higher levels of US Soccer, including national teams, professional teams, and college teams, while others might wish over the long haul strive to become an NPL or even US Development Academy Club.
“We wish these clubs the best of luck as they enter into NorCal Premier Soccer.”
Ajax East Bay Soccer Club
Founded in 2011 and acting out of Brentwood, Ajax East Bay Soccer Club are known for the distinctive purple uniforms and currently include 11 boys teams and four girls teams in their competitive program in addition to operating a large recreational program.
“It’s a great honor to be included in the community of NorCal Premier Soccer,” said President Jorge Villasenor. “It provides us an opportunity to give the best soccer experience for our community and members.
“We are a smaller club but work very hard for our members and are willing to put in the work and go the extra mile in order to develop players to their maximum potential,” he added.
Alliance Soccer Academy
Founded in 2010, Woodland-based Alliance Soccer Academy is finally making the jump to NorCal Premier Soccer after having that as a stated goal for many years.
“There is prestige attached to being a member of NorCal Premier Soccer, but I think the most concrete effect for us is the competition,” said Alliance DOC Chip McKenna. “We believe that playing within NorCal will both increase the level of competition our teams will face and increase the consistency of that competition.”
Another goal for Alliance is to help improve the quality of coaching at its club — after all, better coaches make better players.
“I look forward to the coaching education NorCal supports,” McKenna said. “As a club, we hope to become recognizable not only by our uniforms, but also by our style and level of play. That starts with a coaching staff that are educated in the latest techniques and are committed to developing players throughout the club, not just in their own teams.”
Audax Soccer Club
“Be Bold. Be Strong. Be Audax.”
Those are the final words of the mission statement written by Audax Soccer Club co-founders Savio Carrijo and Rafael Soares, both of whom have coached at various levels in the Bay Area since 2003.
Now the Morgan Hill-based club has garnered entry to NorCal Premier Soccer with the goal of teaching what the club calls all four aspects of the game: technique, tactics, and physical and psychological behavior.
“We are beyond excited to be able to give the Audax players the opportunity to play in the best league in Northern California,” Carrijo said. “Our main goal is to continue developing players…being part of a strong and competitive league such as NorCal will give our players the chance to play with other local teams and have the exposure to a competitive environment, helping with their growth and development as players.”
As NorCal Premier Soccer pursues expanding its membership, one of the more underserved areas as of late has been clubs towards the Northernmost end of the state, making FC Corning’s entry a boon to youth soccer in that area.
Coming from a small town near Redding, FC Corning have anything but a small-town mentality as they prepare for their first season with NorCal.
“It’s an honor and privilege to have been accepted into NorCal, specifically as we come from a small town and are now given the opportunity to compete at a high level,” said FC Corning’s Tina Saavedra. “Our aspirations as a club are to develop our teams to be able to compete against the Elite Clubs in Northern California.”
Currently featuring roughly 150 players from the U9 to U18 age groups, Pacifica United’s stated mission mission is to provide youngsters the opportunity to play organized soccer in a rewarding and competitive environment.
Founded 17 years ago, United began with just four teams, but has expanded all the way up to the current amount of 15 with hopes to continue to increase the size of the club.
“I feel for our club to grow, we needed to look at how our coaching was structured and how that directly affected player development,” said President Michael Paris Trayler. “Through NorCal’s coaching development opportunities, this will help strengthen our club and lead to better player development.”
“At the end of the day, it’s about helping these kids be the best they can be on and off the pitch,” Trayler added.
Ravenswood Junior’s SC
Founded in just 2015, Ravenswood Junior’s SC are a relatively new and small club based out of East Palo Alto, but that doesn’t mean that Ravenswood don’t harbor a great amount of ambition as one of the only clubs in a traditionally underserved part of California.
“Our aspiration as a club is to be more developmental and to be as organized as a club can be while holding our standards to a high level,” said President Horacio Barrera. “As a club we also want to educate our coaches, players, and parents.
“This means open doors for the whole East Palo Alto community.”
Rayados Yuba City FC
An official soccer school of famed Mexican club Club de Futbol Rayados of Monterrey, Rayados Yuba City FC aims to import the traditions of the four-time Liga MX champions right here to Northern California.
Sporting a club philosophy of “in life and on the field,” Rayados Yuba City hopes to develop as many professional players as possible, but knows that development in life is just as important as not everyone can make it at that level.
“Being accepted into NorCal Premier Soccer means so much because NorCal is a very big and known soccer organization,” said Rayados President Salvador Arevalo. “We are just so proud and happy to be a part of it.
“Our aspirations to further our development through NorCal are to accelerate and add to the knowledge of all our soccer players in the area,” Arevalo added. “We will also be working on having our players be professional in life and on the field as well.”
Founded in 1995, Revolution SC are the latest Central Californian club to make the jump to NorCal Premier Soccer as the Fresno-area entity prepares to begin play in NorCal early this year.
Doing their best to keep club registration fees low, Revolution SC attempts to include players in their program regardless of family income.
“Being accepted into NorCal is a big inspiration to our coaches and players because they desire a higher level of soccer to play and are working hard to prepare for this new perspective of competitive soccer,” said Chris Hernandez of Revolution SC. “We have always been a club that focuses on providing a place to play soccer for at-risk youth and low-income families and we’ve developed into a club that is successful at competing at the highest levels. Being in NorCal, we now have a chance to prove we can strive further for success.
“Our goal is to not just develop players to play at a higher level, but also to educate coaches and parents,” Hernandez added. “We want to become a place that our youth grows up in and our community can look up to and rely on for their guidance towards athletic success. Whether we have two teams or twenty, we are focusing on building quality players with a desire for success.”
Created with the goal of providing soccer to any youth player regardless of family income, San Francisco-based club FC Royale preaches a “taught not bought” mentality that speaks close to the heart of co-founder Alexis Cuellar.
It was in Turlock where Cuellar’s passion for helping underserved children play soccer was developed as she was a part of a family with four children that often struggled to pay for top-level soccer.
“Alexis will always maintain that pay-to-play may not go away, but FC Royale will never turn a kid away from a team due to finances,” said FC Royale Director of Coaching David Noii. “Every bit of assistance will be provided to make sure players have a home to play futbol!”
Rush Soccer Peninsula
Starting with just one team in 2010, called FC Strikers, the club recently joined with Rush Soccer, a national advisor, to help bring soccer for kids who just want to play to the Peninsula.
The club preaches the core values of accountability, advice, empathy, enjoyment, humility, leadership, passion, respect, safety, tenacity, and unity, using these 11 pillars to create the bedrock of a pyramid that begins at the developmental level and ends, hopefully for some players, at the professional level.
“We can now provide the best path for athletes that are excelling in their own age bracket,” said President Eric Misa. “Nationally, (joining NorCal Premier Soccer) aligns our program with other Rush Soccer branches around the United States, enabling us to participate in the same programs/tournaments/leagues that best challenge our young athletes.”
Modeled after the legendary Brazilian club that has produced the likes of Pele, Neymar, and Robinho, Santos F.C. bring a South American flair to the San Francisco area, headed by Director of Coaching Paulo De Souza, who is a former Santos player himself.
“Our main aspiration is to implement the same concepts applied by by Santos F.C. Soccer development programs, but adopt concepts and procedures that are provided by NorCal throughout many of its development programs,” De Souza said. “With this approach we expect to achieve a unique way of playing and coaching that will bring more freedom and creativity to the game.”
“Being accepted into NorCal makes us really feel like we belong,” De Souza added. “It’s a dream come true.”
Sonoma County Premier
One of the few truly new clubs to join NorCal Premier Soccer are Sonoma County Premier, a North Bay-area club that recently amicably split from established club North Coast FC.
“It was a proud day when we were accepted,” said Scott Clifton. “It has been a lot of fun and hard work to put together a program that can continue to grow soccer in the community.”
The stated goal of Sonoma County Premier is to focus on the area of Windsor and bring another competitive club to the area.
“Our club is focused on getting better, not bigger, meaning that our focus is to improve the player’s experience first before we grow the program,” Clifton said. “We want to be on the forefront of player development and experience, which we know will grow our prestige as a NorCal club.”