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California Grown: NASL's Cal United takes on OC challenge
by Paul Kennedy, August 8th, 2017 10:32PM
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TAGS:  nasl


The NASL, which went six seasons without a West Coast presence, suddenly has three teams in California. After the struggling San Francisco Deltas, who debuted this season, and an unnamed team in San Diego that will join the NASL in 2018, California United FC will begin play in 2018 in Orange County.
Mission: Pete Capriotti, Cal United's majority owner, says the club will be player- and community-oriented and give everyone an honest look. "We want to help players fulfill their dreams, " he says, "and we want local amateur clubs to benefit together with us in this combined endeavor."

GM Michael Collins, the former indoor star who earned a pair of caps with the U.S. national team: "A lot of really talented players go off the rails because the support's not there and life gets in the way. We want to find these players and give them a fair chance to re-calibrate their careers and ambitions at our club."

Cal United will work closely with the LA Wolves, the So Cal amateur powerhouse Capriotti has sponsored for the last two years. It has been coached this season by Eric Wynalda, who has has great success finding talented players in Southern California.

Market: Cal United has signed a letter of intent to play their home games at Cal State Fullerton's 10,000-seat Titan Stadium. There is already the LA Galaxy in Carson and LAFC, which will debut in Los Angeles in 2018. The USL's Orange County SC is Cal United's closest competitor.

In one form or another, the USL has been in Orange County since 2011 but teams have struggled to draw. The Blues failed to reach an average of 1,000 fans a game for their first four seasons. Teams have played at Fullerton dating back to the LA Salsa in 1993-94.

Orange County SC is averaging 2,735 fans but will move into its own soccer stadium, Orange County Great Park Championship Stadium in Irvine, next Tuesday.

Pro Soccer Crowds in Orange County (1994-2016):
3,341 LA Salsa (1994)
1,278 Orange County Zodiac (1997)
532 Orange County Zodiac (1998)
980 Orange County Zodiac (1999)
1,060 Orange County Waves (2000)
440 Los Angeles Blues (2011)
687 Los Angeles Blues (2012)
718 Los Angeles Blues (2013)
766 Orange County Blues FC (2014)
1,398 Orange County Blues FC (2015)
1,010 Orange County Blues FC (2016)

  1. Paul Berry
    commented on: August 9, 2017 at 1:31 p.m.
    There's nothing united about California other than proximity to the San Andreas Fault.
  1. Fire Paul Gardner Now
    commented on: August 9, 2017 at 5:10 p.m.
    Another pointless attempt by NASL to place itself in a market already well served by professional soccer teams. Doubt this team ever plays a game.
  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: August 9, 2017 at 7:56 p.m.
    You keep saying this same nonsense over and over--why so butthurt? Did you try out with the Cosmos but not get picked up? Inquiring minds want to know...
  1. Fire Paul Gardner Now
    commented on: August 10, 2017 at 9:23 a.m.
    NASL fans (usually it's Cosmos fans but I guess there are a handful of fans of these other teams) are the issue. They pretend this minor league is better than MLS, constantly trashing MLS and US Soccer while exaggerating the importance of the Cosmos. It just gets old. NASL isn't trying to grow the game, they are trying to piggyback on the success of MLS in certain markets.
  1. Fire Paul Gardner Now
    commented on: August 10, 2017 at 10:45 a.m.
    Will be really tough considering NASL is unlikely to exist next year.
  1. Fire Paul Gardner Now
    commented on: August 10, 2017 at 4:46 p.m.
    Based on the fact that it nearly went bust last season and that attendance is even worse this season. You have new expansion teams like SF drawing flies. Look at Atlanta - sold out every game with more than 40k each game. That's what happens when you have an expansion team in a league with a future.
  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: August 9, 2017 at 7:53 p.m.
    "the struggling San Francisco Deltas"...that's attendance-wise, right, not soccer-wise. The Deltas finished 2nd in the NASL spring season, are 2nd in the current fall season. Granted it's not brilliant play at every turn, but the Dos Santos has the team playing well enough.
  1. Craig Cummings
    commented on: August 10, 2017 at 9:24 p.m.
    PRO soccer just does not work in the OC. I remember reffing a Salsa game at Cal State Fullerton in 94 and it was pretty empty, as it will be next you too. I would love to see them do well, but I just do not see it working out. Go Galaxy. I will be at Stub Hub Sat vs NYFC.

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