The 209

In early 2020, our very own Cody Golbad started a community driven clothing brand called The 2o9 in an effort to improve his local neighborhoods. We sat down with Cody to see how this project has grown.

Tell us a little about the 2o9.

“The 2o9 is community minded non-profit whose mission and vision is to create both recreational and educational opportunities within the 209 area code.”

What inspired you to start The 2o9?

 “Being born, raised and bred in beautiful Merced, CA, I grew up experiencing a serious lack of quality playing facilities within the area. Even though we made do with what we had at the time, I truly believe this particular vehicle for change can help develop the vast amounts of talents and skilled young individuals already present in our communities. Playing pick up around Merced growing up, I was lucky enough to build relationships which have continued to flourish to this day. Our mission is to continue to provide local youth with the opportunity to network and build those relationships which will pay major dividends for the rest of their lives.”

2o9 apparel

What inspired the logo for The 2o9?

“We created our logo with where we came from in mind. The 2o9 is the roots for the metaphorical trees we aspire to plant within our local communities. Our projects will help provide shade for those who are in most need.” 

What projects do you have lined up?

 “Our first project we are working on is the 2o9 recreational/educational facility in Merced. The recreational facility will host outdoor futsal leagues, tournaments and youth clinics for local sports clubs and the like. In Phase Two of our construction, we are looking to incorporate our educational academies and after school programs for local youth to gain experience and resources for growth through their teen and young adult lives.”

Proposed Recreational facility in Merced

We noticed that The 2o9 also produces a podcast; what topics do you cover?

 “On The2o9 Podcast, I speak on a variety of subjects from psychology to self-improvement to financial literacy to providing updates on our projects and growth. Feel free to listen to an episode and subscribe on Apple and Spotify Podcasts.”

Who are some of the people that inspire you?

 “We are inspired by a wide variety of individuals from the sports, music and business worlds. The firsts that always come to mind are Muhammad Ali, Kobe Bryant, and entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle. These individuals embody the values in which our non-profit is built upon, more specifically, the aspiration to empower others to become the best versions of themselves. They also had the vision to create influence which goes past way beyond the scope of just themselves.”

Golbad in action for AC

What do you hope The 2o9 accomplishes in the future?

“The 2o9 will create our recreational and educational facilities in the city of Merced, with the vision to grow all throughout our valley. It is only a matter of time. We plan for our facilities and educational academies to have generational impact, influencing countless generations to come within our valley. As an organization, we are in this for “The Marathon” and understand that nothing great happens overnight. Day by day, we get closer to achieving our goals as a company.”

Where can people find more information regarding The 2o9?

“You can follow us on all the social media platforms. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @the2o9us. Also, subscribe to our YouTube Channel and Podcast named The2o9 on Apple and Spotify Podcasts. To continue to follow our progress and learn even more about us, visit our website to read the blog, learn more about our projects and shop our community-minded merchandise. Peace and love from the 2o9.”


Roots come to town for AC’s first match of 2020

TURLOCK, CA – This Saturday, Academica welcome professional side The Oakland Roots to Turlock for their first match of 2020. AC comes into this match after a successful 2019 season where they made and won their first playoff match as well as qualified for the 2019 US Open Cup. The Black and Gold welcome back a large number of returners and will look to make this 2020 season another success. Head Coach Sergio Sousa is coming back for his 3rd season at the helm and welcomes his assistant coaches Sergio Sr. and Tevin Jones. 

The Roots are beginning their second season as a club, looking to build off their inaugural 2019 fall season. Jordan Ferrell is beginning his first season as head coach for the Roots after serving as assistant coach the previous season. Ferrell has Valley roots after coaching at Delta college and the Sacramento Republic Academy. The organization has made some big name signings in its time, recently adding several ex-MLS players to this year’s team. Tristan Bowmen, Matt Fondy were added over the winter break while they retained Jack McInerney and Benji Joya after their first season in NISA.

This match comes as the first of two preseason games that Academica has scheduled before the Golden Gate Conference kicks off on February 29th. AC travels to Sonoma to take on the Sol before hosting its first home league match of the year as FC Davis comes to Turlock on March 7th. FC Davis is the reigning Golden Gate champion but were defeated in the first round of playoffs last season by AC. The Black and Gold will be looking to keep their excellent record against Davis as they have yet to suffer a defeat by the Lions in the past two seasons.

Saturday’s match against the Roots kicks off at 3 pm at Academica Field. Tickets available at


Season Preview

TURLOCK, CA – Yesterday the Black and Gold announced their 2020 full season schedule. Let’s take a quick preview of what this year will have in store for the boys.

 For the second time in a row, AC would be starting their season with a preseason friendly against a full professional team as the Oakland Roots are making the trip over the Altamont. Oakland is coming off their very first season as a club where they finished last in their National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) conference but were a success off the pitch as they averaged close to 5000 fans at their home matches. The Roots have retooled in this offseason and look especially dangerous as they have signed two former MLS players in Tristan Bowen and Matt Fondy. The Roots are also led by Valley native Jordan Ferrell who is taking his first head coaching job this season.

Looking at league play for Academica, the Golden Gate Conference has somewhat shifted. This season will see 7 teams compete for the championship as San Ramon FC and Oakland Stompers have not returned. The conference has added the Oakland Roots development squad named “Project 51O” to help make up the difference. Academica will open up its 2020 NPSL season with an away trip to Sonoma to take on the Sol, a place where Academica has yet to be defeated. AC will host its home opener the following weekend as FC Davis comes down to Turlock to look for revenge for their playoff loss to the Black and Gold last year. This season looks to be one of the toughest so far as teams like FC Davis and El Farolito look to return as strong as ever and others like Napa Valley 1839 benefitting from an off season that saw them make the jump to the professional level with the NPSL Members Cup last fall. 

Head Coach Sergio Sousa is also eager to begin the season, “I am looking forward to the season kicking off. Training sessions have been intense. We have a young, energetic and talented squad that we believe is well equipped to go on to compete in another long NPSL season. The Golden Gate Conference is tough. We are excited to be able to again represent and highlight the Central Valley’s best talent against such good competition. We look forward to playing in front of our fans again, as well. The boys have been pushing hard in training to ensure that all of those who support us have games marked on their calendars deep into the postseason.”

Another change this season is the addition of a conference tournament at the end of the season to determine who will represent the conference in regional playoffs. The top four teams of the Golden Gate conference will face off at the end of the season to decide who will take on the winners of the rest of the NPSL for the National Championship. This should add more excitement leading up to the tail end of the league. The conference tournament would begin June 20th with playoffs starting July 11th.

Individual and season ticket packages for all home matches are now available online at


Tryouts 2020

Turlock, CA – Last Saturday marked the start of Academica’s 2020 NPSL season as the club held open tryouts at Academica Field. The two-day event had over 60 players coming from as far as the Bay area. Players were looking to impress the staff in order to join AC’s 3rd season in the NPSL. While some were familiar faces most were new to the coaches and made sure to make a good first impression.

“We are always excited for tryouts since we get to see the best the area has to offer. While we have a pretty good idea of the local soccer landscape, we always find a surprise at this event”, said Club President Simon Bettencourt. “It’s also great to get the guys together after a break since the fall.”

Attendees were put through their paces as the first day of tryouts saw new players show off their fitness and technical capabilities. The level of competition was high as players knew that coaches were keeping a close eye on them. Head Coach Sergio Sousa enjoyed what he saw, “Try-outs were a success for us once again. This past weekend, we were able to identify and bring in some great young talents that are definitely going to help us moving forward. It’s great to see how much local talent we are connecting with  here at Academica. A bulk of the players who came out this past weekend were new faces and I believe that is something that we can be proud of. I’m excited to get going and to work with everybody as we prepare for our upcoming NPSL season.”

Head Coach Sergio Sousa addresses players after a session.

These tryouts were held to determine who would represent the Black and Gold heading into the 2020 NPSL season, scheduled to kickoff at the end of February. Academica would compete in the notoriously tough Golden Gate Conference where it made playoffs and advanced to the Western Region Semi-Final, falling to FC Arizona 3-2 after extra-time. 

Academica’s 2020 schedule is set to release on Jan 20th with season tickets already available through the team’s online store at