Good-bye, "USL San Antonio"
For the better part of two months, the Spurs, Sports and Entertainment USL franchise was generically named "USL San Antonio". The city and the fans waited patiently...sort of...for the name of their new team. On a chilly Thursday night, the future of soccer in San Antonio was finally unveiled.
Hello, San Antonio FC!
San Antonio FC it is! The name is in traditional form that is instantly recognizable. Most clubs around the world have the town or city name followed by "United" or "FC" in the name. It's very popular in Europe especially. The logo is pretty great, though it does include the spur from the NBA's Spurs logo on the right side of the badge. The spur directly relates the club to the parent organization, the San Antonio Spurs. The five stripes stand for the five branches of the U.S. military, which is fitting since we live in Military City U.S.A.; they also remind us that SAFC is the fifth franchise under the SS&E umbrella. The thin line surrounding the badge is in the shape of an "S" - "a subtle nod to our hometown heritage and how it unites us".
In addition to the brand reveal, four new team players were announced. Of the four, two were former San Antonio Scorpions players. Goal keeper, Matt Cardone, and midfielder, Rafael Castillo will be staying put in the Alamo City. Castillo had been with the Scorpions since 2014 and famously scored a bicycle kick to lead the way for the 2014 NASL title win; the first in the city's history. Cardone is a local product from Trinity University who got some playing time in the middle of last years NASL season before Daniel Fernandes came on board. He, along with fellow alum Victor Araujo and UIW product Max Gunderson are local talent that head coach Powell has stated he wants to target for SAFC. The club now has six players on the roster, three have local ties while two are known to fans after playing with the Scorpions.
The USL season starts on the road for the Alamo City boys as they face Seattle Sounders 2 in Seattle on April 3. San Antonio plays their first home game the following week at Toyota Field on April 9th when they take on Swope Park Rangers.
The yet-to-be-named San Antonio USL team, owned by the Spurs Sports & Entertainment group, will formally be announced on Thursday as a USL expansion franchise by the league and will reveal the teams first head coach in club history. Reports coming from Paul Tenorio of the Orlando Sentinel say San Antonio's first head coach will be former Orlando City SC academy coach, Darren Powell.
Powell was the head coach of the Elon University Men's Soccer team for 9 years. During his tenure there he led the team to two Southern Conference championships and three conference tournament championships. His last three years also included consecutive trips to the NCAA Division I tournament, reaching the 2nd Round in 2013. He left Elon to join Orlando City SC in April of 2014 to help coach in their U.S. Soccer Development Academy. A few of his former Elon players who are in MLS include GK Clint Irwin of the Colorado Rapids and D Steven Kinney, who just recently had his option declined by the Chicago Fire.
Powell will definitely have his hands full in his first season with San Antonio. The USL season begins in just over 2 & 1/2 months and the club has yet to announce the name and crest, let alone any players. His work with youth in Orlando and young players in college will be an asset that San Antonio needs to leverage.
We would like to welcome Coach Powell to San Antonio! We're excited for this new era of soccer in the Alamo City to begin!
San Antonio FC & the USL
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