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This Week in Seals History!

This Week in Seals History republishes articles from our archives.  We hope you enjoy a bit of history!

Seals Remain Unbeaten with 1-1 Draw vs Blue Star
by Paul Sheirich
Originally Published May 19, 2008

The Seals needed a win Saturday night to stay viable in their bid to participate in the U.S. Open Cup.  Nobody knew that better than the players and coaches.  But a draw against the Blue Star put that effectively out of reach, with one qualifier match left to play.
As the game got underway, it didn’t appear as though it would end in a draw. 
The Blue Star started the game with the ball, but the Seals appeared to gain an edge early.  The attack came swift and looked dynamic as the combination up top with Steven Cordova and Carlos Diaz made slashing and swift runs that split the defense.
Getting into the attack from the back, was Yousef Samy, who quickly moved up the sideline, beat the defense, and got off a dangerous cross. 
Despite the consistent attacking pressure, the first half saw the Seals get off only two shots.  One was on the mark.
The Seals attack came from the midfield and up both flanks.  Dimitrius Omphroy, Eric Lafon, Victor Cortez, and Francisco Camacho, all were active on both sides of the ball, and placed pressure on the Blue Star with every possession.
Nothing was coming easy for the Blue Stars, but they kept coming.
Forward Jeff Clark showed his power and strength several times throughout the match, as the Blue Star player demonstrated how he scored four goals against the So. Cal. Seahorses earlier last week.
The only problem for Clark was the Seals defense. 
All across the back line, the defense stood tough.  It didn’t matter if it was Yousef Samy, Doug Carr, Rich Halvorsen, or Shea Whelan, nothing was coming easy for the Blue Star.  Every penetration seemed to be shut down as the Seals defense stole the ball and sent it back up the field, or they knocked it away with solid and physical play. 
The Blue Star did make the most of their chances though, and nearly every shot opportunity they had in the first half was on goal – not tough to handle, but on goal as they forced Seals keeper Dan Benton to make three of his five saves in the first half.
In the 19th minute, the Seals struck.  Omphroy laid a perfect pass up top for Cordova, who slammed the ball past Blue Star keeper Kris Minton and into the back of the net.  Cordova then thrilled the crowd of 340 fans with a cartwheel and back flip!
The Seals lead didn’t last long though, and as often happens in this great game of soccer, the Blue Star came right back with a goal of their own in the 22nd minute.  Forward Oscar Aguero knocked in the ball, and the score was 1-1.
Then next 70 minutes of play was solid by both teams, but fans, players, and coaches alike felt the Seals were going to pull this one out.  The attack was particularly strong in the latter minutes of the match.  Kellan Wilson came on shortly into the second half, and immediately had a one-on-one situation with Minton.  Wilson’s shot needed a spectacular save, and Minton provided one as he fell to his left and managed to get his fingers on the ball just enough to deflect it inches wide.  The ensuing corner was cleared by the Blue Star defense.  Minton finished the night with three saves.
Near the end of the match the Seals got a similar save from keeper Benton, as he preserved the tie with an outstretched foot as he dove.  Benton finished the night with five saves. 
The Seals currently have earned 4 points in U.S. Open Cup play.  The San Jose Frogs lead the bid for a berth with 10 points, and the Los Angeles Legends (formally knows as the LA Storm) are in second place with 7 points.  The Legends have one more qualifier to play, and will need to win decisively against the San Fernando Valley Quakes as they will need to win on goal differential to take the berth outright.
The fans gave the Seals a great reception at the end of Saturday’s match, as they appreciated the full 90 minute effort.  The game for them was a great event.  Half time music from the Agent Deadlies was fully enjoyed by everyone, the kids enjoyed getting autographs and talking with the players after the game, and everyone seemed hungry as the food line never seemed to dwindle all evening!
Never-the-less, the Seals kept up their tradition of offering food to the visiting team at the end of the match, and one of our fans went out the game with a $50 gift certificate for food and drink from our latest sponsor, the Pig & Whistle Restaurant and Bar, who are providing a $50 gift certificate this season for every home game.
Next up is the Ventura County Fusion, who come to town this Saturday, May 24th at Negoesco Stadium.  Game time is 8:00 pm.
Participants in the SF Cup Memorial Day weekend youth soccer tournament, their coaches, parents and families will receive a $4.00 discount with coupon or their tournament program.  One coupon or tournament program will be sufficient for all members in your party.
Youth teams interested in being Ball Kids at our home games this season are encouraged to contact the Seals at 510.786.8795, for more information.
Fans are reminded to check our website schedule page for schedule changes.

The Earthquakes bring the PDL Back to Northern California

April 26, 2014

by Paul Sheirich

The United Soccer League (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) is back in Northern California with the entry of the San Jose Earthquakes, and will participate in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference.  The Quakes looks to the PDL team to help bridge the gap between the first team and the Academy.
The Earthquake Academy has teams at the U14, U16, and U18 levels.  “There is an obvious need for us to bridge the gap that exists between the first team and the Academy,” said Chris Leitch, the Earthquakes Academy technical Director and coach of the Earthquakes U-14 squad.  “The PDL team will provide us with a way to replace the Reserve team, and allows us a way to continue to work with the college level players.” 

The PDL team will play their home games at CSU Stanislaus in Turlock, and coached by CSU Stanislaus men’s soccer head coach Dana Taylor. “The Valley gives us a tremendous opportunity to tap into talent that exists throughout the Central Valley,” said Taylor.  However, players for the new team will not be restricted to just Central Valley California.  “In addition to reaching out to the Central Valley for players, we are also inviting players from all over the country,” added Leitch. “We have relationships with many coaches around the country who know we are continually looking for players, and this network provides us with some great prospects.”

Coach Taylor has a proven track record of developing and elevating the play of teams and players.  Since joining the CSU Warriors in 2009, he has led the team to a 52-30-11 record, and elevated the program to a No. 1 national ranking in NCAA Division II for attendance.  “Putting a winning team on the field clearly contributes to improving attendance, but there is really strong support for soccer throughout the area, and we work with the community to help bring the fans to the game,” noted Taylor.

Prior to joining CSU Stanislaus Taylor was head coach for 10 years at Oregon State.  Alan Gordon, current forward for the Earthquakes, was one of the players Taylor helped develop.  His players received All American honors four times, All-Conference honors 46 times, and All-Region 11 times.  Overall in his 10 years at Oregon he helped develop an impressive 19 players reach the professional ranks. 

Putting together a competitive PDL team can be a challenge.  Sunday, April 13th was one of the first opportunities for Taylor to get a look at his team play, as they played Santa Clara University’s men’s team to a 0-0 draw.  “I haven’t had a chance to work with the players and have any formal training sessions,” said Taylor.  “Many of our players aren’t available until after May 1st due to NCAA rules.”

With no training sessions ahead of play with SCU Broncos, the obvious question was; “How did you think the team played?”

“Well, the first 15 to 20 minutes was not very good.  We weren’t connecting the passes, our runs weren’t there, and we clearly didn’t look like a team.  But the guys responded well to some pointed coaching and at the half we got a great chance to make adjustments and give the guys a better idea of the style of play we are looking for,” said Taylor.  “The second half was better, and at the end of the day we kept them out of the goal.  That’s a positive.”

SJ Earthquakes PDL on the AttackTaylor is working closely with the Earthquakes first team coaching staff.  The PDL team style of play will mirror that of the Earthquakes MLS team.  “We absolutely want our PDL team to play the same style we have our first team playing,” Leitch stated.  “It doesn’t make sense to have the players getting familiar with a formation we never use at the professional level.  We wouldn’t be able to adequately determine a player’s readiness to move up otherwise.”

The Fresno Fuego have had a strong following in the valley for years, and we here at think there is a great opportunity for a rivalry to form.  Some of the most passionate matches the SF Seals played were with the Fuego.  The Earthquakes help bring the PDL play to a new level in the Central Valley, and Northern California.  We’ve seen other sports do well in the Central Valley with their feeder baseball teams with great attendance, and Sacramento’s Republic FC USL Pro soccer team debuted this year. 

Take a day, or make it a weekend, and head out to Turlock and take in some PDL soccer (SJ Earthquake PDL Schedule).  Evaluate the players for yourself.  See who you think will be the next MLS star, and keep an eye on the Earthquakes PDL team.


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