San Francisco Seals (soccer)
|Full name||San Francisco Seals|
|Chairman|| Tom Simpson
|League||USL Premier Development League|
|2008||4th, Southwest Division|
|Website||[Seals Website Club home page]|
San Francisco Seals was an American soccer team based in San Francisco, California, United States. Founded in 1992, the team played in the USL Premier Development League (PDL), the fourth tier of the American Soccer Pyramid, until 2008, when the franchise left the league.
Starting in 2009, the Seals run two teams (U20 and U23) and provide the training and game experience to high school and college players, and work with others who aspire to play professionally.
The San Francisco United Soccer Club (SFUSC) was first organized as a youth soccer club in 1985. Drawing on talented players from throughout the Bay Area, SFUSC soon became a "super club" and a dominant force in California state youth soccer. In 1990 SFUSC won the California Youth Soccer Associations (CYSA) state championship. It then continued on to take the Region IV title which put it into the National Cup final. However, the rise of the "super clubs" such as SFUSC and the La Jolla (San Diego) Nomads sparked a counter reaction from smaller California youth teams and in 1992 CYSA implemented rules to prevent these clubs from forming or competing. Faced with this opposition, the SFUSC decided to forsake the traditional path to amateur success, through the state competitions, and enter a team in the U.S. Interregional Soccer League (USISL), the forerunner of today's United Soccer Leagues.
In 1992, the SFSCU formed its team, known as the San Francisco All-Blacks based on its all black uniform, and entered it in the USISL. While the first year went poorly, the team continued to improve in the face of stiff national-level competition. In 1994, the All Blacks, now known as San Francisco United, took first place in the Pacific Conference. In 1996, the club changed the team's name to the San Francisco Bay Seals. In 1998, the Seals moved up to the A-League. In 2000, SFSCU sold the team to new ownership, which renamed the team the Bay Area Seals. However, the Seals lasted only to the end of the 2000 season before folding.
The Seals were division champions three times, in 1994, 1995 and 1997. In 1997, the Seals made an incredible and historic run to the semi finals of the US Open Cup. After winning the D3 US Open Cup, the Seals knocked out the Seattle Sounders. They then took out two Major League Soccer clubs. First came the Kansas City Wiz in the round of 16, and then the San Jose Clash in the quarter finals at the Clash's home field, Spartan Stadium. The Seals' Cinderella run through higher division clubs came to an end in the semi-finals when they lost 2-1 to D.C. United.
Resurrection in the PDL
Then, in 2006, after a six-year gap, the original club owners resurrected the team, this time as a franchise in the PDL as the San Francisco Seals. Their first year back in competition was fairly decent - four wins in their first six games, including a comprehensive 3-1 over California Gold - left the team well in contention for the playoffs as the second half of the campaign began. However, a disappointing run of results in the latter half of 2007, including a winless streak of 5 games from mid-June to early July saw the team slip down the table, eventually finishing 6th. The end of the season was enlivened by a staggering 8-1 victory over California Gold that featured a brace by Luke Sassano. Jose Diaz and Peruvian striker John Colan were the team's top scorers, notching 13 goals between them, while Shani Simpson contributed 4 assists.
2007 was a similar seesaw season of disappointing inconsistency for the Seals, when victory following defeat following victory following defeat all year long - this despite the presence of former Manchester City defender Danny Warrender marshalling the back line. The Seals did enjoy a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Orange County Blue Star in July, but failed to overcome their Bay Area rivals San Jose Frogs in their two-game series, losing 2-0 in San Jose in June, and losing 2-0 at home in their season finale. The Seals eventually finished a comfortable mid-table 6th; Anton Peterlin and Keith Ratzberg were joint top scorers with 3 goals each, while Richard Halvorsen registered 3 assists.
The Seals began 2008 in fine form, picking up four wins in their first six games, including 3-2 opening day victory over Fresno Fuego that featured a brace from Kellan Wilson, and a come-from-behind victory over Orange County Blue Star which again saw Wilson increase his goal tally by two. They only just missed out on qualifying for the US Open Cup, beaten by a similarly fast-starting Los Angeles Legends, but suffered a down-turn in form in June, picking up just one win (2-0 away to Southern California Seahorses) and suffering a desperate last-minute loss away at Los Angeles Legends. It was this inconsistency which ultimately cost the Seals a place in the post-season; after three back to back wins in July, including a nailbiting 3-2 win over Lancaster Rattlers, nerves set in; a 3-0 final day loss to San Jose Frogs when a win was required proved to be the ultimate nail in the coffin. They eventually finished the season in 4th, just two points out of the playoffs. Kellan Wilson and Peter Lovell were joint top scorers with six goals each.
Notable former players
- Espen Baardsen
- C. J. Brown
- Efrain Burgos, Jr.
- Troy Dayak
- Jose Carlos Diaz
- Joe Enochs
- Matt Fitzgerald
- Stefan Frei
- Kevin Long
- Rawlston Masaniai
- Steve Purdy
- Brandon McDonald
- Anton Peterlin
- Steve Purdy
- Chris Rodd
- Luke Sassano
- Marquis White
- Corey Woolfolk
- Tuka Tisam
- Dimitry Shamootin
|Year||Team Name||Division||League||Regular Season||Playoffs||Open Cup|
|1992||San Francisco All Blacks||N/A||USISL||3rd, Pacific||Did not qualify||Did not enter|
|1993||San Francisco All Blacks||N/A||USISL||3rd, Pacific||Divisional Finals||Did not enter|
|1994||San Francisco United All Blacks||3||USISL||1st, Pacific||Divisional Semifinals||Did not enter|
|1995||San Francisco United All Blacks||N/A||USISL Premier League||1st, Pacific||3rd Place||Did not qualify|
|1996||San Francisco Bay Seals||4||USISL Premier League||2nd, Western Northern||Final||Did not qualify|
|1997||San Francisco Bay Seals||3||USISL D-3 Pro League||1st, West||Semifinals||Semifinals|
|1998||San Francisco Bay Seals||2||USISL A-League||6th, Pacific||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|1999||San Francisco Bay Seals||2||USL A-League||6th, Pacific||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2000||Bay Area Seals||2||USL A-League||5th, Pacific||Conference Quarterfinals||Did not qualify|
|2006||San Francisco Seals||4||USL PDL||4th, Southwest||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2007||San Francisco Seals||4||USL PDL||6th, Southwest||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2008||San Francisco Seals||4||USL PDL||4th, Southwest||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
- USISL D3 Pro League Western Conference Champions 1997
- US Open Cup Semi-Finalists 1997
- USISL Premier League Regular Season Champions 1995
- USISL Premier League Pacific Conference Champions 1995
- USISL Pacific Conference Champions 1994
- Paul Aigbogun (2006–2008)
- Negoesco Stadium, San Francisco, California (2006–2008)
- Stadium at the College of Alameda, Alameda, California 1 game (2006)
- Stadium on Treasure Island, San Francisco, California 1 game (2006)
- Stadium at Livermore High School, Livermore, California 1 game (2006)
- Stadium at San Marin High School, Novato, California 1 game (2007)
- Stadium at Clayton Valley High School, Concord, California 1 game (2007)
- Stadium at Chabot College, Hayward, California 1 game (2008)
- 2008: 157
- 2007: 180
- 2006: 172