San Diego’s New Pro Soccer Team Kicks Off
Welcoming San Diego’s new professional soccer team 1904 FC.
This weekend, the San Diego 1904 FC has its home opener and hosts California United Strikers on Saturday, Sep 14 • 7:04 PM at SDCCU Stadium (Formerly Qualcomm Stadium) Click for Tickets
San Diego, America’s 8th largest city, has always been a passionate hub of soccer fans and bordering Tijuana, Mexico, residents of both countries flock across the international border to watch soccer with ease. The glorious Pacific Ocean graces the city and the average temperature is in the mid-sixties. Although it could be a sleepy resort town, San Diego is a thriving city with an energetic sports culture and a deep passion for the game of soccer.
Part of an international metropolitan area filled with 4.9 million people, San Diego has been a hotbed of youth soccer with tens of thousands of youth soccer players for decades and yet it has not had a professional soccer team — since the 1980s.
“1904 FC is the first professional soccer team in San Diego in over three decades.”Alex Gontran, Head Coach of San Diego’s 1904 FC
Great soccer is not new to San Diego.
‘The city takes great pride in the professional indoor team, the San Diego Sockers who have won the title of National Champions 14 time as well as
1904 FC will compete in the new professional soccer league the new National Independent Soccer Association (NISA).
1904 FC’s Home Opener is Sep 14 • 7:04 PM at SDCCU Stadium
With so many youth soccer players and a fan base willing to travel across the border to watch great soccer, there have never been enough opportunities for talented young, want-to-be professional soccer players in Southern California to break into the ranks of pro sports.
Now, 1904 FC is changing this and providing several talented players with pro contracts, allowing them to own their dreams of becoming professionals.
To spearhead this team, 1904 FC announced Alex Gontran as head coach just ahead of the inaugural season.
“We want everyone to come to our first home game on September 14.”Alex Gontran, head coach of 1904 FC
“We are very excited to finally bring professional soccer to San Diego. We have worked hard to bring local and international talent on board. We have a young, hungry team which will fight for this city,” said Alex Gontran, Head Coach for 1904 FC.
Obviously, proud to be part of America’s Finest City, Gontran said, “San Diego is one of the best cities in the USA and has many talented players. We can train every day, even in January and this gives us a real advantage. We have the opportunity to work harder and every day, so we can be better than teams in other cities.”
Gontran is a Frenchman who left coaching in Paris to come to the USA and now calls San Diego his home. A part-owner with Demba Ba and Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard in San Diego’s 1904 FC, Gontran is a certified coach with the French Football Federation. Internationally acclaimed for developing players, he has coached Hatem Ben Arfa, Marvin Martin, and Demba Ba, among others.
Gontran, age 44, is one of 1904 FC’s initial investors and is responsible for bringing the club to San Diego in 2017 when it originally tried to launch in the now-defunct NASL.
With his own dreams of being a big-time professional, Gontran’s professional soccer career ended because of a back injury when he was signed with Ligue 1’s FC Nantes at the age of 17 years of age. Gontran became a licensed agent and a leading coach who wanted his own club. Partnering with his friend, Demba Ba, and becoming a core part of 1904 FC made sense.
“The game in America is growing and it is important for players to have different opportunities.”Warren Barton, former defender for the England National Team and soccer studio analyst for FOX Sports
“There is nothing like living the dream of being a professional soccer player,” said Warren Barton, a former defender for the England National Team who played for 18 years in the English Premier League is now a soccer studio analyst for FOX Sports. “It is not about the money, it is all about the opportunity to play.”
While no one is getting rich playing in the NISA, 90% of the players in the MLS and USL are not getting rich either living the dream of being a pro.
What is important is that the sport of soccer is growing in America and talented players are given the chance to gain important playing minutes on a professional level.
“1904 has opened a new pathway to earn a roster spot on a pro team in the USA.”Warren Barton is a former English National team player and a soccer studio analyst for FOX Sports
“At 1904 FC, we are building a team for the city, and for me, that is very important, it is a club for the city of San Diego,” said Gontran. “NISA is just beginning, but we have very big goals and we are committed to developing our talented players.”
“In the future, I would like to see Promotion and Relegation between leagues based on a team’s performances,” said Gontran. “It is very most important that NISA is so affordable — there are no franchise fees. This lets us focus on the players.”
Competing in the new National Independent Soccer Association (NISA), 1904 FC plays in the third-division professional league sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).
Working with My Cujoo, the NISA matches can be seen live.
Images courtesy of 1904 FC