Semi-professional soccer league kicks off in Monterey County

The United Soccer League (USL) announced their newest team – Monterey Bay Football Club (FC)  – on Feb. 1, but that wasn’t the only good news. Monterey Bay FC press release reported they will be utilizing and renovating California State University, Monterey Bay’s (CSUMB) Freeman Stadium into a professional soccer stadium. 

The press release stated “the club is privately investing millions to upgrade an existing stadium and facilities on campus.” 

The upgrades on the Freeman Soccer Stadium are expected to start in Summer 2021. If all goes as planned, the stadium will be completed in 2022, just in time to start the new season. Additionally, the newly renovated stadium will be able to hold 6,000 people. 

Monterey Bay FC games will now be covered and broadcasted by ESPN, thanks to the partnership with the USL. Monterey Bay FC is now the third semi-pro soccer league in California. The other two leagues are the Oakland Roots Soccer Club (SC) and Sacramento Republic Football Club (FC). 

“We are excited at the opportunity to work with Monterey Bay FC and the USL in bringing world-class soccer to the Monterey Bay region,” said CSUMB President Eduardo M. Ochoa. “We look forward to hosting fans from Salinas Valley to Seaside to Santa Cruz and beyond.”

Monterey Bay FC said the development is expected to boost the region’s sports profile and attraction which will increase opportunities for CSUMB students, as well as popularity in the university’s athletics program.

CSUMB Athletics Director Kirby Garry stated the team congregating on CSUMB’s grounds will benefit students with sports training and competitions. 

“It will bring people together on our campus as a gathering place,” Garry said. “And game day will be fun and lively on a weekend night.”

CSUMB alumnus Pedro Ortiz works as the communications coordinator for the San Jose Earthquakes. He is glad to see Monterey Bay FC in a partnership with CSUMB as it could create a pipeline for students and players to become resources for one another.

“I’m excited for the school because it’ll create a strong partnership between the institution and the USL franchise,” Ortiz said. “As a fan and a Monterey County native, I’m super excited and overwhelmingly happy with this franchise and this investment in our community.” 

Allowing players to follow their dreams of pursuing professional soccer careers, Monterey Bay FC will not only benefit players, but CSUMB students looking to get into sports entertainment. 

“I left because I wanted to pursue sports,” Ortiz said. “But there wasn’t anything in Monterey Bay at the time … the USL team can create that new avenue for future companies and future franchises to do that.”

Monterey Bay FC stated  they are “excited to mine local talent in the Monterey Bay communities including Salinas, Watsonville and Santa Cruz areas, to name a few.” 

Info about tryouts will happen closer to the 2022 season. The USL Championship season happens from March to October with playoffs running through the middle of November.

Because of the pandemic, the 2021 season will kick-off around May 2022. The schedule for the season will be published in late 2021. The club will be holding public virtual events and listening sessions in coming months to help design its crest and colors. 

Follow Monterey Bay FC @MontereyBayFC on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Along with signing up for the Club Report/Newsletter at http://www.MontereyBayFC.com

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Devon,

    Great question! When creating this article, writers were not given information regarding this question. In the future CSUMB is planning to have open forum town hall meetings, and The Lutrinae may be given more information about the league during that time.

    -The Lutrinae’s editor-in-chief

  2. Have these organizers, especially CSUMB, been working with established clubs in local communities that already have semi-pro teams, and if so, how will this new effort support those clubs, especially as they are the major source of youth soccer opportunities?

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