KEZAR STADIUM — San Francisco City Football Club closed out their inaugural season in the Premier Development League with a thrilling 4-0 victory over their rival, the Burlingame Dragons, last week.
Ending a season with a win for a 6-6-2 record and third place in the division isn’t always reason to celebrate, but SF City FC president Jacques Pelham says the group met expectations.
“We’ve had a long season at home and just never could get going in terms of scoring goals,” Pelham said. “But we come out here and put four on the board against Burlingame, who are a great team and our rival, and put on a great show for the fans. It’s very satisfying.”
At the start of the season, SF City had dreams of making the playoffs and maybe winning a championship in their first season, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Head coach Paddy Coyne said the biggest challenge facing the coaching staff this season was keeping their players, most of them spending their college offseason competing in the PDL, at their best.
“A lot of kids are coming off an intense college season, and injuries were a big roadblock,” Coyne said. “We had a lot of injuries with our striker [position], so we haven’t been able to score too many goals this year. But today we had David Garrod come out, and he played really, really well.”
Coyne and his team hoped to build a team rich with local talent, and borrowing Garrod and his University of San Francisco teammate Danny Kirkland helped fulfill that goal.
To promote membership, the team relied heavily on its supporters group The Northsiders.
The group solidified a rivalry with the neighboring Burlingame Dragons. During an away match with the Dragons early in the season, the home team sent their mascot to pester the Northsiders, who responded by briefly removing the dragon’s plush green head. The Dragons did not approve.
The same fans have themselves done the bulk of promotional work for the club. Instead of billboards and commercials, the club relies heavily on word-of-mouth from their current supporters to increase membership, and it appears to be working.
“Last year we were at about 300 members total, and then this year we’re at 670 members right now,” Steven Kenyon said, the team’s vice president of community development. “We’ve over doubled our membership since last year, that’s a great success for the club and everyone involved.”