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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!

Frankie Beauchamp enjoys a football trial with Werder Breman

October 18, 2010

Originally published October 24, 2010

By Tom Simpson
 Frankie Beauchamp, an 18 year old footballer from the San Francisco Seals youth program, has just returned from a two week trial with Werder Bremen.  Werder Bremen is not your average European football club. In the past 10 years Werder Bremen has qualified for the Champions League 5 times and in 2004 won both the Bundesliga and the German Cup in 2004. The tryout was made possible by Mark Rohrer who plays with Frankie in the local San Francisco men’s league.  Mark, spoke with Thomas Schaff, the head coach of Werder Breman, and Frankie was off to Germany.

Frankie’s tryout began with Werder Bremen’s second team so the coaches could check him out.  After the first session,  Frankie got a call to train with the first team, a pattern that repeated itself until his return home at the end of the trial. For nearly two weeks Frankie mixed it up with the likes of some of the best known names in the game, including Torsten Frings, the captain of the German National Team, Mikael Silvestre of Manchester United fame and member of the French National Team, and Claudio Pizzaro of the Peruvian National Team who has divided his time with Bayern Munich and Chelsea over the past seven years.  The interesting thing is:  Frankie didn’t  have a clue who they were and when he found out he understated his surprise, “I could tell they’re pretty good.”  Frankie’s ignorance was a blissful opportunity to compare himself with the best of the game and he came to the personal conclusion that he matched up just fine.

Frankie said the high point of the trip came that night after the first session when Thomas Schaff, the head coach of Werder Bremen, asked him back to train with the first team.  “That was the greatest moment of the trip,” reported Frankie.  Most American players might call such an opportunity “the greatest moment of my career” or even “my life” since one can count the number of American 18 year olds who got trials in the Bundesliga on one hand.  However Frankie was not overly impressed.  They were just soccer players. “When I trained with the first team I realized I could play with them. I scored a number of goals in the scrimmage sessions.  We played a lot of nine v nine games and I scored my goals on corner kicks.” He sounded like he had just returned from a training session with his San Francisco Seals U21 team.

The head coach, Thomas Schaff, is a highly respected coach in the German Bundesliga who has been with Werder Bremen for the whole of his career as a youth player, senior player and coach.  He told Frankie that he has the talent to play at “this” level but wants him to build his “core strength,” referring to his upper body in particular.  Frankie is still growing.  He’s 6’3” and only 170 lbs.  He’s grown almost 12 inches in the last few years and has been hampered by Osgood Schlatter’s syndrome, a painful inflammation below his knee that is common in growing soccer players.  That’s all gone now and Frankie has suddenly blossomed physically.  His Seals coach is Shani Simpson, an ex-professional player who played for the San Francisco Seals and had brief contracts with various MLS clubs.  He is also Frankie’s step-father.  “Frankie plays clean and simple soccer,” said Shani.  The Werder Bremen coach told Frankie the same thing.  “And he also knows when and how to go forward. When he physically matures I think Frankie can play at any level he puts his mind to,” added coach Simpson.

Apparently Thomas Schaff thinks so to.  He wants Frankie to return to Germany to check on his progress once he builds his strength.  Frankie’s story reminds us that when you’re an 18 year old soccer player some amazing things can happen in unexpected places with unexpected people in a very short period of time.

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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