University head coach Deejae Johnson coaches during a 2-1 loss to West Campus in the NorCal Division III final on March 10, 2018. (Courtesy / Noel Danseco)

University head coach Deejae Johnson coaches during a 2-1 loss to West Campus in the NorCal Division III final on March 10, 2018. (Courtesy / Noel Danseco)

SF Glens Soccer Spotlight: University taking on all comers

By Ryan Maquiñana
Special to S.F. Examiner

The San Francisco Glens Soccer Club of USL League Two are proud to partner with the Examiner in featuring a different boys’ or girls’ high school soccer team every Sunday. 

The path of least resistance is a foreign concept to the University High School boys’ soccer team.

Though it would be more convenient to pad their win totals with easy games before entering league play, the Red Devils have set up a non-conference gauntlet that has featured marquee matchups with a trio of preseason top-10 teams — St. Ignatius, Sacred Heart Cathedral and Mission.

“We try to schedule as many challenging games early,” said head coach Deejae Johnson. “It’s also a great showcase for soccer in The City.”

University held its own but was unable to escape the aforementioned stretch fully unscathed, picking up a 1-1 draw against the Wildcats, a gutsy 2-1 victory over the Irish, and a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of a determined Bears team on Wednesday.

Based on Johnson’s unwaveringly calm demeanor, though, his team is right on schedule.

“In soccer, anything can happen. You can dominate a game and lose, or sneak a win at the end. We don’t try to get too hung up on the results,” Johnson said. “Ultimately, we want to be the best version of ourselves so we can compete in whatever competitions we’re in.”

These early trials are a major reason why, during Johnson’s tenure, the Red Devils have won 11 league titles, three North Coast Section crowns, and last season, runner-up honors in NorCal Division III.

“Every year you have the challenge of allowing for the new group to establish their own identity,” said Johnson, who once played with the San Francisco Bay Seals of the old USL A-League. “When guys step into new positions or roles, some easily step into that moment, and others need time to figure it out.”

Case in point: Star midfielders Marco da Cunha and Nico Petry-Mitchel left a gap in midfield following their graduation. As a result, Johnson has been forced to summon Max Edelstein and Zeke Ume-Ukeje from their usual spots as forward and winger — respectively — to fill the void.

“Max is so smart on the field that he’s picked things up so quickly,” said senior captain Henry Gorelik, who anchors the back line. “He can score, but also knows how to create chances. He’s the heart and soul of our offense.”

Edelstein has already committed to Colgate and will be tasked with replacing graduating Raiders forward Abdel Sanogo, who also saw minutes for the San Francisco Glens’ USL League Two team this past summer.

According to teammates, Ume-Ukeje is the hardest worker on the team and a “jack of all trades” due to his speed and agility.

“It’s different from the wing, but I like being in the middle of the action all the time,” Ume-Ukeje said. “There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with my new position as far as moving box-to-box and taking care of the ball, and being a linking piece from the defense to the offense.”

The Red Devils hope the new midfield pairing jells before January. After competing independently for two years, University has rejoined the Bay Counties League with new objectives in mind.

“I want to win the BCL in our first year back and return to NorCal, but we’re looking to win an NCS title,” Gorelik said. “My sophomore year, we lost the NCS final by penalties, and last year, we lost in the semifinals. This time we’re looking to get over the hump and bring that trophy back to University, too.”

The SF Glens are entering their second USL2 season at Boxer Stadium, featuring the best college talent in the Bay Area and ex-U.S. National Team captain Jimmy Conrad as new technical director. Learn more at or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @SFGlensSC. 

1. St. Ignatius
2. Mission
3. University
4. Lick-Wilmerding
5. Leadership
6. Urban
7. Sacred Heart Cathedral
8. Lowell
9. Stuart Hall
10. Washington

1. Lowell
2. Mission
3. Sacred Heart Cathedral
4. Urban
5. St. Ignatius
6. Washington
7. Leadership
8. Balboa
9. University
10. LincolnDeejae JohnsonHigh school sportsprep soccerPrep Sportssan francisco high school sportssan francisco prep sportssan francisco prepsSF GlensSF prepsUniversity High School

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF moves into purple tier, triggering curfew and business shutdowns

San Francisco moved into the state’s purple COVID-19 tier Saturday, requiring The… Continue reading

San Francisco lacks housing data that would let it track rental vacancies and prices. New legislation is seeking to change that.<ins> (Photo by Joel Angel Jurez/2016 Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Landlords blast proposal to require annual report on rentals as invasion of privacy

Housing inventory could give city better data on housing vacancies, affordability

University of San Francisco head coach Todd Golden coaches his team on defense during a 2019 gameat War Memorial Gymnasium on the campus of the University of San Francisco. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Stunner in Bubbleville: USF upsets fourth-ranked Virginia

Less than 48 hours removed from a loss to a feeble UMass… Continue reading

Health care workers would be the first group in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images/TNS)
Hope on the way: Here’s what to know about California’s COVID-19 vaccine plan

The first batch of doses could hit the state as soon as early December

The Big Game was played Friday at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. (Shutterstock)
Stanford blocks extra point to stun Cal, win 123rd Big Game 24-23

The 123rd edition of the Big Game featured a number of firsts.… Continue reading

Most Read