FC Santa Clarita
|Full name||FC Santa Clarita|
|Founded||2006 (as Lancaster Rattlers)|
|Stadium||Canyon High School Stadium
Santa Clarita, California
|Head Coach||Jose Meza|
|League||National Premier Soccer League|
|2013||3rd, Southern Division
|Website||Club home page|
FC Santa Clarita is an American soccer team based in Santa Clarita, California, United States. The team plays in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), a national amateur league at the fourth tier of the American soccer pyramid, in the Southern Division of the West Region.
Originally founded in 2006 as the Lancaster Rattlers, the team played in the USL Premier Development League (PDL), before re-branding in 2011 and joining the NPSL.
The Lancaster Rattlers entered the USL Premier Development League in 2007 as the first ever soccer franchise from the Antelope Valley area of Southern California. They played their first competitive game on April 28, 2007, a 2-1 loss to fellow expansion franchise, Ventura County Fusion, and this unfortunately set the standard for a disappointing first season. Four straight losses - including a 5-1 hammering by Bakersfield Brigade - left the Rattlers languishing at the bottom of the table. Head coach Steve McKenzie was replaced half way through the season by Gary Brunner, the boss's son, but the change resulted in limited success; their first victory (2-1 over the San Francisco Seals) was the single bright spot of a summer which saw them lose eight of their next nine games, scoring 15 goals but conceding an astonishing 32. A difficult first season ended with the Rattlers managing a 2-2 draw against Los Angeles Storm, but finishing dead last in the division, six points adrift of their closest rivals, and second-worst in the entire PDL (only Cocoa Expos had a worse record). Martin Galvan was top scorer.
2008 wasn't much better for the team from Antelope Valley; they started the season with third new head coach, Costas Skouras, but the on-field products remained poor. After a 2-2 tie with Bakersfield Brigade in their opening fixture, the Rattlers went on to lose seven straight games, including a 5-0 hammering by Los Angeles Legends, a 4-2 loss to San Fernando Valley Quakes, and a 4-1 home defeat to Fresno Fuego. The Rattlers finally picked up their first win in a see-saw game against Orange County Blue Star which saw them emerge on the right side of a 4-2 scoreline, and they followed this up with a 2-1 win on the road against Bakersfield Brigade - the first time in franchise history that the Rattlers had enjoyed back-to-back victories. However, this proved to be the year's single bright spot. Coach Skouras was replaced mid-season by Javier Gallegos - the second time the Rattlers made a coaching change during their campaign - but they failed to win another game, ending their year with three ties and three losses, including 4-0 thrashing by Ventura County Fusion. The Rattlers finished the year dead last in the division for the second time, four points adrift of their closest rivals, Southern California Seahorses. Mauricio Harrie was top scorer, with three goals.
Lancaster had their best season to date in 2009. Under new head coach David Lopez - their fifth in three years - the Rattlers showed slow and steady improvement as the season progressed. The year began well with a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Legends thanks to a pair of goals from Mauricio Harrie, but quickly turned sour as the Antelope Valley side failed to win any of their next eight games. They let a four-goal lead slip in their agonizing 5-5 tie with Fresno Fuego at the end of May, and suffered several heavy defeats, including a 3-0 loss away to the Hollywood United Hitmen and 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Los Angeles Legends, who clearly wanted revenge for their defeat earlier in the season. However, sometime in the middle of June, something happened to the Lancaster team, and they began 'rattling' off win after win. They beat Ogden Outlaws 4-3 in a seesaw game in which Richard Galvan scored an 84th minute winner, comfortably knocked off Bakersfield Brigade 3-0 at home, fought back to tie 2-2 with Ventura County Fusion having gone behind twice, and pummelled Ogden for a second time, winning 5-2 on the road in the penultimate game of the season with two more goals from Mauricio Harrie. The rocky early part of the season meant that the best the Rattlers could do was 7th place in the division - but this was a significant improvement over previous years. Harrie was the team's top scorer with an impressive nine goals, and the fact that Moises Alvarez, Jose Garay, Christian Hernandez and Miguel Ibarra all score five or more goals each highlights their improved fortunes in front of goal.
In August 2011, the team moved to Santa Clarita, California and became the FC Santa Clarita Storm.
In the 2012 season, the team finished in 2nd Place in the Southwest Conference with an 8-3-3 record. The highlight was defeating the San Diego Flash 4-3 on July 7, denying the Flash an undefeated season. They lost to the Bay Area Ambassadors in the West Division Semi-Final 3-2.
Notable former players
- See also: All-time Lancaster Rattlers roster
This list of notable former players comprises players who went on to play professional soccer after playing for the team in the Premier Development League, or those who previously played professionally before joining the team.
|Year||Division||League||Regular Season||Playoffs||Open Cup|
|2007||4||USL PDL||10th, Southwest||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2008||4||USL PDL||10th, Southwest||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2009||4||USL PDL||7th, Southwest||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2010||4||USL PDL||7th, Southwest||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2011||4||NPSL||5th, Southwest||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2012||4||NPSL||2nd, Southwest||West Division Semifinals||Did not qualify|
|2013||4||NPSL||3rd, West-Southern||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
- Steve Mackenzie (2007)
- Gary Brunner (2007)
- Costa Skouras (2008)
- Javier Gallegos (2008)
- David Lopez (2009)
- Jarrod Cline (2010-2011)
- Jose Meza (2012–present)
- Stadium at Palmdale High School; Palmdale, California (2007)
- Stadium at Pete Knight High School; Palmdale, California (2008)
- Brent Newcomb Stadium at Antelope Valley High School; Lancaster, California (2009-2011)
- Stadium at Hart High School; Santa Clarita, California (2012)
- Stadium at Valencia High School; Santa Clarita, California (2012)
- Stadium at Canyon High School; Santa Clarita, California (2012)
Attendance stats are calculated by averaging each team's self-reported home attendances from the historical match archive at http://www.uslsoccer.com/history/index_E.html.
- 2007: 238
- 2008: 155
- 2009: 225
- 2010: 129