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Meet the New NorCal Clubs: Part 2

After a long application process designed to make sure that each entity is up to the highest standards, NorCal Premier Soccer accepted 19 new clubs into the fold, starting with the fall 2020 season.

Joining NorCal Premier will be Alum Rock Youth Soccer League, AYSO East Bay, AYSO Silicon Valley, East Palo Alto United Soccer Club, Escuela Oficial Richmond-Rayados, Hollister Tremors Youth Soccer, Infinity Sports Club, Konocti Premier Soccer Club, Legends Soccer Club Sacramento, Madera United Futbol Club, Northern Nevada Soccer Club, North Valley Youth Soccer League, River Islands Futbol Club, Sierra United Soccer Club, Stockton TLJ FC, Silicon Valley Eagles, Turlock PSG, West Coast Soccer Club Tracy, and West Sacramento Soccer Club.

But who are these new clubs and what are their values? Over the next three days, NorCal will introduce its membership to the newest clubs it will be competing against. To view Part 1, click here.

Let’s meet the clubs:

Infinity Sports Club

Playing their games out of Gilroy and San Martin, Infinity Sports Club have been around for more than two decades as a multi-sports club.

Though Infinity originally started out as a field hockey team, the club added soccer in 2001 and now features six girls teams and one boys team.

“At Infinity Sports Club we strive to create an environment in which our young boys and girls can have fun, feel safe and challenged while learning important life lessons through sport,” said Infinity Director of Coaching Ted Thomas. “Using developmentally appropriate curriculum delivered by qualified coaches through year round competition, players learn principles of Joy, Mindfulness, Competition, Compassion and Inclusion. Establishing a local club where children can learn these essential concepts while contributing to their community, and maintain an organization that the community can be proud of.”

“We are super excited to join NorCal,” Thomas added. “We are full of gratitude to all that helped in the process of becoming our own Club and gaining membership to NorCal, the process is lengthy and detailed, for great reason, NorCal is an organization that expects the best and we will continue to work collaboratively and contribute to our community the best we can, as positive role models.”

Konocti Premier Soccer Club

All the way up north in Lakeport, Konocti Premier Soccer Club are the brand new competitive branch of Konocti Youth Soccer League, a recreational youth league that has existed in Lake County since 1999.

The club plans to field four-to-six competitive teams starting in the fall of this year after only being able to offer recreational level soccer in the past due to the club’s rural and relatively-remote location.

“In the past our kids had to commute to other clubs, some as far away as Santa Rosa (90 minutes) to play at the competitive level,” said Konocti Director of Coaching Wayne Yanke. “We are eager to offer that opportunity locally and start our own traditions as we build the club. Nestled on the shores of beautiful Clear Lake — the oldest and largest natural lake contiguously in the State of California — with a striking view of Mt. Konocti in the distance, we have wonderful natural beauty and small town charm to enhance game day experiences for our visiting teams. Our players enjoy living and playing here and look forward to sharing it with others.”

“We are honored and so excited to join NorCal Premier for the betterment of our players and community,” Yanke said. “The opportunities afforded to us through membership will allow us to develop our soccer program in ways that will enhance our passion and love for the game.”

Legends Soccer Club Sacramento

Running their operation out of McClellan, Legends Soccer Club Sacramento brings seven teams to NorCal Premier Soccer starting this fall.

The club began in 2015 when Legends SC President Andrew Ponomar and Director of Coaching Masoud Gardizi were out training with their sons, only to be approached by a player asking if he could join the fun.

From there, everything snowballed as Legends SC was born.

“Within three months, we had over 15 boys, varying in age, playing with us on Saturday mornings for two hours,” Gardizi said. “All the boys were from the same area and were from immigrant families that had recently settled in north Sacramento. The boys were hungry for formal training and would walk to the field from their tiny apartments miles away, rain or shine, cold or hot, and practice hard. Some of them had bicycles and a couple would take the buses when available.”

“None of the boys and their families could afford paying to join a team in a club to play,” Gardizi said. “Many of them were very talented and hard working. They improved quickly despite practicing once a week. Our crew of 15 increased to about 30 in another three months and now we literally had a U12 and a U16 team.”

The club now features roughly 120 total players, with an estimated 35-to-40 percent coming from immigrant or refugee families.

“Our goal is to grow our players into successful members of the society, especially those who are new here,” Ponomar said. “For them to have opportunities like playing for their respective high schools, or tryout for colleges, and pro-level soccer are dreams that they didn’t have a short time ago.”

Madera United Futbol Club

Partnering with the Madera Unified School District, Madera United Futbol Club first came onto the scene in 2018 with the stated goal of uniting the youth soccer community in Madera.

Now joining NorCal Premier Soccer, the volunteer-run club features five different teams that play at two different venues in the Madera school system.

“It has been our main goal, since day one, to be able to become part of NorCal Premier. This is a huge accomplishment for our community and means so much to our board, coaches, and players.” said Director of Coaching Myra Alvarez “NorCal will provide us with an opportunity to advance our coaching education and also set a platform for our club players to perform at a higher level of play. So it’s with great honor that we accept this privilege of being accepted into NorCal.”

Added President Brian Bitter: “We are very excited to be accepted into NorCal Premier. The resources and levels of competition will allow us to provide local players and coaches with the best possible opportunity to reach their full potential. Madera  United will strive to be a club the local soccer community can be proud to be a part of.”

Northern Nevada Soccer Club

Hailing from the Reno/Sparks area in Nevada, Northern Nevada Soccer Club is the latest in a series of Nevada clubs to join the NorCal family.

Founded in 2005 with just two teams, Northern Nevada has developed into a 30-team club run by volunteer members with a club motto of “one more kid in the field means one less kid out in the streets.”

Working with a mostly rural and low-income base, NNSC also gives everyone the opportunity to play until they no longer wish to as the club runs a series of adult leagues that contain roughly 70 teams.

“Our goal as a club is to provide further education to our coaches, referees, players, and parents,” said Technical Director Yuliana Parada. “To be able to provide not just Latino boys the opportunity to play competitive level soccer and educate them at the college level, but for our Latina girls community as well (is our goal).”

“It’s been an honor for our club to be accepted into NorCal Premier Soccer and we know that acceptance brings great competition,” said Director of Coaching Leisha Martinez. “NorCal provides a chance for our teams to compete at a high level and have exposure to every level of play.”

North Valley Youth Soccer League

Joining NorCal from North San Jose this fall will be North Valley Youth Soccer League, a volunteer-run club that has been around for nearly 50 years.

NVYSL brings roughly 50 teams to NorCal, nearly evenly split between the recreational and competitive levels.

“Our goal is to grow larger and stronger in both our rec and comp leagues while maintaining our vision of making soccer fun,” said President Eric Misenhimer.

“It is quite the honor to be selected  to be a member of NorCal Premier Soccer,” added Director of Coaching Fred Espinoza. “North Valley has been working to achieve this level and hopes to provide talented competition to the league. Being accepted is just the first step. We will continue to grow and become a valuable asset to NorCal Premier Soccer.”