San Francisco City FC

San Francisco City Football Club, commonly abbreviated to SF City, is a supporter-owned amateur soccer club located in San Francisco, California that competes in USL League Two.[1]

San Francisco City FC
Full nameSan Francisco City Football Club
Nickname(s)SF City, The Iron & Gold
Founded2001 (2001)
StadiumKezar Stadium
Capacity10,000
OwnerSan Francisco City FC Members Organization
(nonprofit, supporter owned) (51%)
CoachEvan Sassano
LeagueUSL League Two
20196th, Southwest Division
Playoffs: DNQ
WebsiteClub website

Founded in 2001, SF City plays its home matches at Kezar Stadium.[2] The club has also hosted home matches at Negoesco Stadium, Cox Stadium, Raymond Kimbell Playground, and Crocker-Amazon Park.[3]

In 2016, SF City qualified for its second U.S. Open Cup, the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the U.S., after winning two preliminary qualifiers and receiving a bye into the first round of the tournament.[4]

History

San Francisco City Football Club was founded in 2001 by Jonathan Wright, and entered the San Francisco Soccer Football League beginning with the 2002 season. After a decade in the competition, the club won back-to-back promotions to reach the SFSFL Premier Division in 2012. On the heels of the club's SFSFL success, and with enthusiasm for soccer mounting in the buildup to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, former SF City player and current club president Jacques Pelham began discussions with members of the San Francisco Football Supporters Association and the San Francisco chapter of The American Outlaws about building a grassroots, supporter-owned professional soccer club in the city.[5]

The club began offering membership in August 2014, but a bid to join the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) for the spring 2015 campaign was blocked by San Francisco Stompers FC, who claimed territorial exclusivity in the league. SF City filed a grievance with US Soccer contesting the Stompers' claim. An independent arbiter eventually sided with SF City, but by the time the decision was made the club had already agreed to join the US Club Soccer NorCal Premier Soccer League.[6]

In early 2015, with administration staff in place and membership on the rise, SF City approached dominant NorCal Premier Soccer League side Ticket Arsenal FC about merging its on-the-pitch player talent, which included many former NCAA Division 1 players and some former Major League Soccer prospects, with SF City's organizational and supporter infrastructure. The merger was executed on the eve of the semifinal of the regional US Open Cup qualifying tournament.[7]

The new-look SF City went on to defeat Redwood City-based Juventus Soccer Academy 7–1, then toppled Modesto-based Stanislaus Academica 3–0 in the final hosted at San Francisco State’s Cox Stadium, setting up a date in the preliminary round of the US Open Cup with Thousand Oaks-based amateur powerhouse Cal FC.[8] SF City became the first team from San Francisco to qualify for the competition since the 2007 California Victory, and the first amateur San Francisco side to qualify since the reintroduction of professional clubs to the tournament in 1995.[9] The April 25 play-in match between SF City and Cal FC set a US Open Cup preliminary round attendance record, with 1,519 spectators in the stands of the newly refurbished Kezar Stadium.[10] SF City eventually fell 2–1, exiting the competition after two controversial second half penalties awarded to Cal FC made the difference in a tightly contested match.[11]

In March 2015, San Francisco City confirmed via its official Twitter feed that it was looking into becoming an expansion club of the North American Soccer League.[12][13]

Year-by-year

Year Division League Regular Season Playoffs Open Cup
2016 4 USL PDL 3rd, Central Pacific Did not qualify First Round
2017 4 USL PDL 3rd, Southwest Did not qualify Did not qualify
2018 4 USL PDL 6th, Southwest Did not qualify 2nd Round
2019 4 USL League Two 6th, Southwest Did not qualify Did not qualify

Ownership and operations

SF City is a 51% supporter-owned club, with members paying annual dues in return for home match season tickets and voting rights in club matters,[14] including the election of its supervising board.[15]

Club president Jacques Pelham, club founder Jonathan Wright, and VP of Community Development Steven Kenyon control SF City's minority share and perform club operations.[6] Charles Wollin serves as SF City’s director of media and as the broadcaster/commentator for their games.[16]

In 2016, SF City announced a new round of minority investors, including Alex Bard, CEO at Campaign Monitor, previously EVP at Salesforce; Mitch Lowe, Active angel investor and advisor, previously Co-founder & COO at Redbox; Gary Benitt, General Partner at Social Leverage, previously Co-Founder & COO at Desk.com; Ethan Kurzweil,Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners; Scot Chisholm, CEO & Co-founder at Classy; Andy Jones, a 15-year veteran in the financial services industry;[17] Andrew Housser, Co-founder and Co-CEO of Freedom Financial Network; and András Petery, a mobile tech media executive and investor who led mobile partnerships at Yahoo and founded Enable Venture Partners.[18]

SF City is coached by Evan Sassano, who assumed leadership in February of 2019.[19]

Supporters

The supporters of SF City are known collectively as "El Lado Norte" or "The Northsiders," as they would gather in the north stand at Kezar Stadium during matches. In addition to standing, singing, chanting, waving flags, and displaying tifos during matches, Northsiders frequently gather to socialize, watch away matches, and perform community service.

Kit sponsors

SF City's current kit sponsors are FreedomPlus, Campaign Monitor (an email marketing agency), and Street Soccer USA.[20]

References

  1. "SF City FC joins Premier Development League". SFGate. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  2. "SF CITY TO PLAY IN HISTORIC KEZAR STADIUM & ANNOUNCES 2015 SPRING SCHEDULE". Goal Nation. March 11, 2015. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  3. "U.S. Open Cup Qualifying comes to Cox Stadium". Golden Date Express. January 27, 2015. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  4. "San Francisco City, Harpo's FC get byes into 2016 US Open Cup as qualifying final round unveiled". TheCup.us. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  5. "New Club on the Block: SF City FC!". FootySF. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  6. Rosano, Nicholas. "US Open Cup: San Francisco City FC bring supporter-owned soccer to the City by the Bay". MLS Soccer. Retrieved April 25, 2015.
  7. Ream, Evan. "Meet The Underdogs: Fan-owned San Francisco City brings US Open Cup, professional aspirations back to city". The Cup.us. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  8. "SF City FC tops Stanislaus United to earn berth in 2015 U.S. Open Cup". SB Nation. January 31, 2015. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  9. Barbeau, Mark. "Footy SF — Bay Area Soccer Round-up". SFGate. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  10. ""Play In" Round Winners Advance to U.S. Open Cup First Round". US Soccer. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  11. Jonas, Robert. "2015 U.S. Open Cup play-in match: Cal FC scores two penalty kicks to top SFCFC 2–1 at Kezar Stadium". Center Line Soccer. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  12. Chu, Evan. "Can the NASL Succeed in San Francisco?". Quakes Fan. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  13. Grainda, Mark. "What's next for the NASL and MLS Expansion?". Massive Report. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  14. Chang, e. "Nascent SF Soccer Club Gains Some Respect, Will Face Off With USF This Weekend". SFist. Archived from the original on March 2, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  15. Black, Alan. "San Francisco City Football Club". The Beautiful Blog. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  16. Caruso, Blaze. "SAN FRANCISCO CITY FC AIMS TO MAKE LOCAL SOCCER THRIVE". S Fog Horn. Archived from the original on June 3, 2016. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  17. Zimmerman, Douglas. "SF City FC announces new investor group". SFGate. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  18. "ANDRÁS PETERY AND ANDREW HOUSSER JOIN FOUNDING INVESTOR GROUP!". SF City FC. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  19. http://sfcityfc.com/blog/2019/2/13/city-welcomes-evan-sassano
  20. "San Francisco City FC Announce Jersey Sponsors". SB Nation. March 20, 2015. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
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