Last Updated: January 11, 2015

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

Report from Seals Manchester Camp

January 11, 2015
Originally published January 13, 2008
Part of the Seals mission statement is to provide players the opportunity to play at the hightest level they can achieve.  Towards that goal, the Seals are having a camp in Manchester England, and everyone is having a great time.
After three days at the Seals Manchester Camp we already have some results to report, but first some background: The weather here has swamped grass fields all over the region. Everyone is seaching for all weather fields. We are competing with professional, semi-professional and local teams for available slots and the costs are quite high. It's been a difficult situation and we've had to scramble.

There are currently 16 players in camp with more to come. It's been an interesting blend of US, English, French and others. The sessions have been very lively and the guys bonded quickly. Of course, their living situation in slighly remote bunkhouse at the Burrs Activity Centre (see has made living quite a challenge and accelerated the bonding process. The space is cramped, they cook their own meals and they have to coordinate travel to town. The only luxury is a pub, quaintly called the Brown Cow, located within a few yards of the bunkhouse. It's warm, friendly and features a large screen plamsa TV. The manager is a total football nut and all the games are shown. Jet lag is still an active factor as guys battle against the biological clocks to get sleep when their brain thinks it's daytime and oriented for field play when their brain is telling them to sleep.

After locating an all weather pitch about 6 miles from here, we trained on Tuesday and Wednesday on 1/3 of the field. That's about all you'll find under the conditions. The sessions were lively and the players are very enthusiastic. On Thursday, we played Hopwood Hall College mens team, where Paul Aigbogun is head coach for the women's program. Paul has been a Seals coach for the past two seasons and has helped greatly to set up the camp. Also, Hopwood is the college from where three Seals U20 players hail and they were all ready for our match against them on Thursday. The match was somewhat influenced by the weather which was, as usual, wet, but also on this day, very windy. The Seals were the aggressor from the get-go but the lads from Hopwood held up well for the first half. It was heartening to see a newly formed group of players play show a strong attacking style with some nice passing sequences and some quality possession time. However, the Seals effort was influenced by the need to tryout players and substitutions for the first half were disruptive. After 45 minutes the Seals failed to come up with any goals in spite of the agression and the well structured Hopwood College team came up with a goal after a defensive breakdown.

The second half started as the first half ended with the Seals looking a bit shakey after going down a goal. However, as the original side who started the match was restored on the field the game changed dramatically. Carl Lomax, a local player who would like to play for the Seals in 2008, opened up Seals scoring with a deft turn on the Hopwood defender and slotted the ball. He would do the same thing a few minutes later after a Hopwood equalizer. By the time the score was equalized the starting group was back on the field and the Seals upped the intensity to a new level. The attack broke down the locked in defense with goals coming from Araia Berhane, Jason Lindsey and Francisco Camacho. All the goals were from close range as the Hopwood defense was pushed into their own 18 for much of the time.
Player News:
Carlos Diaz, the 20 year old player from Napa, who has played for the Seals for the past two seasons has trained all week with the Blackpool first team (Blackpool plays in the Championship) and even played in a match against Bolton behind closed doors. Carlos came over a few days earlier to prepare for the tryout which was pre-arranged to the start of the camp. News will follow.

Chris Harris, an East Bay player who played for the US National Team, will arrive on Saturday. Chris is still 17 years old. He attended Seals training sessions at USF in December and so impressed us that we spoke with local pro representatives. They are looking forward to seeing Chris who is still a candidate for professional academies. News will follow.

Kevin Gravelot has been a surprise in a couple ways. Kevin is a french player who found us through the internet and requested a tryout. He's quickly picking up the language and can now say "wazzup" We're learning a few French words as well. He paid his way to England from Paris and has perfored very well in the first two camp sessions. He is suprisingly skilled, clever, quick and has very good open field speed. A pro representative was out to watch the Hopwood game just because of our comments on Kevin's first two sessions. However, Kevin didn't perform nearly as effectively on a full field. It was an interesting observation showing that what happens on small fields may not apply to the larger. He'll get another opportunity.

Rawley Masaniai has been a standout in camp sesssions and the game. Rawley was probably the most influential player on the pitch against Hopwood because of his tremendous range and his improving ability to distribute the ball. Rawley has earned a tryout with a professional side and we will update later.

Andy Taylor, a local player from Liverpool who grew up playing with Rooney of Man U, was a pleasant surpise on the large field. Andy wasn't nearly as impressive on the smaller training field but when game time came vs. Hopwood he was consistently strong as a central defender which isn't even his first position. His efforts have earned him an invitation to the Seals team this coming Spring.

Carl Lomax, who hails from Bury, was another standout among the British lads (we're modifying our dictionary on a daily basis). Carl comes from quite the football family with two close relatives playing at the EPL and Championship level. His clean and simple play, his ability to hold the ball and turn on defenders, as well as his finishing have earned him an invitation to play with the Seals for 2008. He's a roofer in real life and we know there's plenty roofing to be done in San Francisco. More to follow on this story as we look to arrange for Carl's move to SF for the 2008 season.

The Seals train today at 2:30 PM, tomorrow Saturday at 12:00 Noon, to be followed by a trip to Liverpool to watch Everton - Man City, on Sunday at 12:00 Noon to be followed by a trip to the Bolton - Blackburn game at the Reebok stadium, and Monday (time tba) which may be followed by a quick departure to London because we have obtained tickets to the Chelsea-Tottenham match, courtesy of Lorrie Fair (thank you Lorrie). Lorrie is Chelsea's representative to the United States program for developoment of their image and brand in our country.

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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