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 team from The City every Sunday.
This season, the Urban School of San Francisco decided to play a winter soccer schedule to improve their level of competition, moving away from a primarily fall-based schedule against smaller, independent high school teams.
Despite entering 2018-19 with a roster that lost 11 seniors to graduation, boys’ head coach Danny Cardoza has to like what he sees for the future with how his players have responded.
“We play a very possession-based, attacking style, and we haven’t changed that,” said Cardoza, who has previously captured Bay Counties League and North Coast Section titles in the past with the Blues. “Instead of sitting back, we opted to continue to go forward at teams because we think long-term, it’s going to be the most beneficial for our players.”
As a result, the season has come with its share of successes (a 3-3 draw with Lick-Wilmerding and regular-season sweep of Stuart Hall) and growing pains (wide losses to University and Marin Academy).
“There have been some negatives,” Cardoza said. “Those matches against University and Marin Academy showed they were able to exploit the spaces we gave them. That’s on me to figure how to prevent that from happening, but there’s been a lot of positive play from the boys.”
While the Blues feature a trio of talented underclassmen — goalkeeper Yotam Twersky, midfielder Roel Cahill-Rosqueta and winger Kol Bassuk, who all play club soccer in the San Francisco Glens’ youth system — Urban’s upperclassmen have led the way.
Senior midfielder Julien de Bord has been the glue holding the offense and defense together, while junior Ian Ryan has notched 10 goals from his position higher up the pitch in central attacking midfield.
“Even though we might not necessarily have the physicality of other teams, we come out looking to play hard and press,” said Ryan, who admires the box-to-box ability of Manchester United’s Paul Pogba. “We play possession, we play fast, and play fun.”
According to Cardoza, Urban is currently the No. 4 seed for the BCL playoffs and is firmly entrenched in the top 16 for NCS qualifying. If all falls into place for the steadily-improving Blues, they might just surprise some teams in the postseason.
“The competition’s harder, but it was the right move for the team,” Cahill-Rosqueta said. “Tackling adverse challenges earlier in the season is helping us now heading into the playoffs.”
MLS First-Round Pick Junqua Signs with Houston
Sam Junqua, a stalwart on the back line and midfield for the San Francisco Glens’ USL League Two team in 2018, signed his first Major League Soccer contract with the Houston Dynamo last week.
The Saratoga native and Cal alumnus made history last month when he became the Glens’ first player selected in the MLS SuperDraft, going eighth overall.
“I want to thank the Glens family for their continued support,” Junqua said of the City-based club, which also had three more players drafted by MLS teams. “I hope they’ll come out this season to Boxer Stadium to watch the next wave of Glens.”
The 2019 Glens’ roster is taking shape under new technical director Jimmy Conrad and head coach Javier Ayala-Hil, with the club holding open tryouts at Beach Chalet Soccer Fields in San Francisco on Feb. 24.
If you think you have what it takes to play in USL League Two, whose Bay Area alumni include reigning MLS Rookie of the Year Corey Baird and recent U.S. Men’s National Team call-up Nick Lima, log on to SFGlens.com to register for tryouts.
SAN FRANCISCO BOYS’ SOCCER TOP 10 (as of 1/30)
1. St. Ignatius
5. Sacred Heart Cathedral
SAN FRANCISCO GIRLS’ SOCCER TOP 10 (as of 1/30)
1. St. Ignatius
7. Sacred Heart Cathedral
SF GLENS SOCCER SPOTLIGHT: PREVIOUS FEATURES
Nov. 25: Can St. Ignatius repeat as NorCal champions?
Dec. 4: Giant-killer Leadership defends City title
Dec. 11: Changing of the guard at No. 1 Lowell
Dec. 16: University taking on all comers
Dec. 26: Sacred Heart Cathedral’s blue-collar attitude
Dec. 30: Pro Futsal coming to SF
Jan. 6: Mission’s boys led by humble heroes
Jan. 12: Junqua, Boateng selected in MLS SuperDraft first round
Jan. 20: Can Mission’s girls finally dethrone Lowell?
Jan. 27: Lick-Wilmerding on collision course with University