The Early Years
SFUSC, San Francisco United Soccer Club, was founded in 1985 when SFUSC took local San Francisco soccer players to the Gothia Cup, Hannover Germany, and the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland. This team won 12 games against 4 loses including upsets over the Donegal School Boys, Stranraer, and Celtics of Scotland. In 1989 SFUSC defeated Santos of Brasil (yes, Pele's team), and Nacional, the U18 National Champsions of Brasil, in their own stadiums. In 1990 SFUSC was the CYSA State Champs, the Regional IV champs, and played in the National Cup final. In 1990 tournament play, SFUSC won the prestigous USA Cup, then the largest and best known Interantional Cup in the United States. In 1991, SFUSC repeated the State championship and went to the Regional IV finals. In tournament play, SFUSC defeated Guadalajara Chivas for the championship of the International Friendship Cup of Denver Colorado.
The rise of SFUSC to the top ranks of the nations youth soccer clubs was meteoric and the fall was precipitous. In 1992, CYSA methodically dismantled the club, arguing they didn't regcognize the "rights" of clubs and that players were no longer permitted to cross district boundaries. A dramatic vote at the CYSA annual general meeting sealed SFUSC's fate when the 12 board members stood in unison to cast the deciding votes. With nowhere else to go, SFUSC's youth team entered the men's league. In their first year as a "men's team," SFUSC went to the California State Cup championship match. In the summer of 92, SFUSC entered the USISL, a national league, that included the best amateur teams in the United States.
The All Blacks
SFUSC called its first USISL team the All Blacks. That first summer of 92 was sobering. SFUSC won only 7 games and lost 7, but they got to play against the best men's teams in the country including the Dallas Rockets and the New Mexico Chilis. In the Winter of 1993 the All Blacks played an international match at USF against Admira Wacker, UEFA Cup Quaterfinalists. The All Blacks led the Austrian side 1-0 on the strength on Shane Watkin's goal for much of the game until the Austrians tied the game with 1 minute remaining in the match. The game ended in a tie, but the All Blacks had made a statement that forewarned opponents of great things to follow. In their first game of the 1993 season, the All Blacks upset the Blackhawks, loaded with some of the best talent in the United States, 2-1 at PAL stadium in San Jose. The SFUSC All Blacks won 15 games that season while losing only 3 and won the title of the Western Divison Champsions of the USISL. For 3 straight years, SFUSC's All Blacks were the Division Champions. For two of those years the team took Regional Honors and in 1995 the All Blacks played for the National Championship in Richmond Virginia.
In 1996 the SFUSC All Blacks changed their name to the Seals. The Seals continued the club's domination of the Western Region of the USISL for 1996 and 1997. In 1997 the Seals destroyed the Chinese National Champsions, the Dalian Wanda, 7-2 in international competition, then went on to win the D3 National Open Cup Championship and played DC United in the semi-finals for the General Open Cup National Championship. DC United squeaked by the Seals 2-1 and went on to the Finals. For their wins over the Kansas City Wizards and the San Jose Clash (Earthquakes) the Seals were called the "Team of the Year" by USA Today. The Seals played in the A-League for 1998 and 1999 with a roster that had been depleted of much of its talent by the MLS, foreign professional teams, and weathly A-League teams. At the end of the 1999 season, the franchise was sold.
SFUSC players have been successful at every level of competition. With few exceptions, SFUSC players went on to play college soccer and most of those players received scholarship support. If they didn't go to college some players went directly into professional soccer. SFUSC players have played in the English Premier League, the Bundesliga, and the Swiss First Division. Two players were captains of top level European professional soccer team. Many SFUSC players, including CJ Brown, Marquis White, Tim Weaver, Josh McKay, David Kramer, Joe Cannon, Mike McGinty and others, have played for MLS teams. CJ Brown, Alberto Cruz, David Kramer, Joe Enochs have played for the senior US National team.
In 2004 SFUSC returned to youth soccer. For the third time an SFUSC team played in the Gothia Cup. After qualifying within their bracket, the team moved on to the first round of the playoffs. The Holland Cup followed. SFUSC qualified for the consolation bracket and won the championship after 4 hard fought battles against European club teams.
In 2005 SFUSC entered 3 teams into the Y League, a youth league conceived as a response to the unconscionable behavior of CYSA adminstrators that destroyed SFUSC's youth teams 13 years earlier. In the summer of 2005, SFUSC sent a U13 and a U16 team to Sweden for the Gothia Cup. The U16s won their division. The U13s went to the semi-finals of the Gothia Consolation Cup, winning 7 games and losing only 2.
In 2006, the Seals PDL team returned to the Bay Area as a “For Profit” corporation related to SFUSC. The youth teams playing as the San Francisco United were renamed as the San Francisco Seals, Two teams were sent to the prestigious Milk Cup in Northern Ireland. sent a U17 and a U15 team to the prestigious Milk Cup Tournament in Northern Ireland. The U17 boys did quite well placing third in the Premier section Dunluce Trophy group.
The U17 team was put together from the Seals U17 Super Y team, and guest players that included former San Francisco United players Ryan Hirooka and Ryan Sheirich, and Robbie Tice who joined the team from the Vancouver Whitecaps in Canada. While in Ireland they added two local players; Gary Quinn and Howard Beverland, and one English player; Carl Charmen.
The U17 boys left for Ireland on July 22nd, with a one week stop in London. While in London they trained, played the Stevenage Academy U19 team defeating them 3-2, played a group of professional players who were "on the beach" waiting for contracts, and defeated them 4-2. Our U15 team went directly to Shannon, Ireland where they trained and played a couple of friendly matches as well.
The U17 boys finished with a 2-3-0 record, with a tough 0-1 loss in the last three minutes against Sheffield United, an 0-4 loss against the local County Antrim team, a 0-0 draw against the Malta national team that was lost in PK's, and finishing on a high note with a 2-1 win over the Lichtenstein national team, and a 5-3 win over Otago from New Zealand.
The U15 boys struggled and came away without a win, but they kept their heads up and played tough in every match.
With scouts everywhere, autograph seekers, and fantastic competition, the boys came home with memories enough for a lifetime!
For 2007, the club is being restructured to offer Girls teams in addition to the boys. The vision is to provide highly competitive teams that compete in Super Y League, but do not form in tact as CYSA clubs for Fall play. These teams will strive to be among the elite in youth soccer.
Players in the San Francisco Seals Academy will be groomed to play at the highest level of play that they desire. Our vision is to help them achieve those goals, whether they be to play in college, or at a professional level. We anticipate helping all players in the U16 and U17 player develop a player profile, and to promote them with the college’s that the Seals have a relationship with, and assist in contacting those colleges that the players are interested in attending. For players who wish to achieve play at a professional level, the Seals are actively working in England, Germany, Norway, Holland, and Switzerland to develop channels for our youth. Several have already received training and trial opportunities, and one of our boys is currently playing with the Youth Academy for a division three team in Germany.
The San Francisco Seals also have a marketing and development agreement with the California Victory, a new Division 1 professional team here in San Francisco that will play at Keezar Stadium in 2007. Our teams will work together to obtain sponsorships, offer fundraising opportunities, and develop players through training and playing together.
After a 5 year hiatus, the San Francisco Seals (previously called the San Francisco Bay Seals) are back. The Seals will play in the PDL, the Premier Developmental League, hosted by the United Soccer Leagues. The season will run from May to mid-August and consists of 16 regular season games.
The PDL was designed to fit into the niche made by NCAA rules which permit college soccer players to play outside the university during this period. The majority of players will come from the under 23 age group, but up to eight players on the roster can be over 23 years of age.
The Seals will play in the South Western division of the PDL which has 9 teams, which are all located in California between San Francisco and San Diego.
The Seals History
In 1997 the team gained national prominence by reaching the semi-finals of the US National Open Cup against DC United of Major League Soccer. On their way to that game, the Seals upset three teams considered their superiors: the Seattle Sounders (the previous year's Open Cup Champions and reigning A League Champions), the Kansas City Wizards and the San Jose Clash. After the Clash victory in the Quarterfinals of the US Open Cup, which the Seals won by a dramatic 2-1 come from behind win in the last 17 minutes of the game at Spartan stadium, the Seals were crowned America's "Team of the Year" by USA today. United States Soccer's website listed those two matches among the top 10 in the 100 year history of the US Open Cup. The rejuvenated Seals will be a trimmer version of its old self. Instead of playing in the high profile A-League, now the USL First Division, where budgets commonly exceed $1 million dollars, the Seals will operate on less than $70,000. Operations will be facilitated by a bevy of volunteers.
Players, by rule, cannot be paid, including professionals. Games will be played at local universities, high schools and other facilities that welcome their presence and make it affordable.
The following photograph shows the Seals U17B after their match in Stevenage, England