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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 AcademicaSC.com.

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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 AcademicaSC.com.

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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 AcademicaSC.com.