Bakersfield to be home to a semi-pro soccer team

Bakersfield to be home to a semi-pro soccer team

They don’t have a home. They don’t have players. They do have plenty of ambition and love for soccer, and that might be just enough for the Pacific Side Futbol Club.

Playing in the ambitious United Premier Soccer League, Bakersfield’s entry into the league is being run by a pair of twentysomethings, who have high hopes of unifying Kern County’s soccer community.

“We want to set an experience on how a professional team should be run,” said Ivan Nichols, 26, one of the two co-founders of the team.

The team is holding tryouts July 22-23. Details are still being worked out, Nichols said.

Nichols, along with co-founder Chris Orozco, 29, brings plenty of coaching experience to the new team. Both were assistant coaches with the Fresno State women’s program. Both are Fresno State graduates, but they say Bakersfield is the right place for this team.

“There’s a lot of talent in the Central Valley, and the UPSL will give them the experience to get to the net level,” Nichols said. “And with the UPSL’s opportunity for Promotion and Relegation it will really bring a new edge to soccer in Bakersfield and around the United States.”

The team, which is considering Garces High School and the State Farm Sports Village for its home games, will play in the fall and spring leagues of the UPSL, Nichols told The UPSL started in 2011 in Los Angeles and has grown to feature leagues across the country.

“This might not look like a big move from the outside, but having a team in the Central Valley is a major key for us as we extend our reach in Central California. Pacific Side FC is led by ownership that was born and raised in the Central Valley, with an understanding of the unique elements at play in the soccer scene and how to best create a soccer club that’s right for Bakersfield. We’re excited to welcome Pacific Side FC to the UPSL and wish them the best as they prepare for the 2017 Fall Season.”

Nichols said Pacific Side FC players are not going to be paid salaries, but that club was looking to ease the burden of expenses of playing competitively. In addition to their management and coaching duties, Nichols and Orozco also expect to play for the team.

Bakersfield’s team will join the Western Conference, which features 36 California-based teams in two divisions. In a news release, the league said Pacific Side is still working to meet the league’s minimum standards, but it is expected the team will compete in the Champions Division.


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