California United Football Club: More Than a Name for SoCal’s New NASL Outfit

What’s in a name? A lot, if you’re California United Football Club. Meet NASL’s new side from SoCal who are taking aim at the grassroots to unite California’s passionate and expansive soccer base.

Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. (August 8, 2017) - The word United is so common in the soccer world that it’s lost much of its meaning.  But California United Football Club, one of the newest clubs in the North American Soccer League (NASL), has made it the watchword for their entire operation. The club, based in Orange County, intends to tap into the massive grassroots soccer fervor alive and thriving in Southern California. 

The aim is to exemplify the word United not just through performances on the field, but from the ground up – from scouting to player-relations, backroom operations, front office and fan base.

“It seems like everyone out there is doing things the same way,” said Pete Capriotti, California United FC’s majority owner. A fair and straight-talking businessman with roots in Orange County, Capriotti has a passion for the beautiful game and sees in it the potential for a groundswell in Southern California and beyond. “We’re not trying to be a legacy club. We’re going to do things differently, and that will all grow from how we treat our players, putting them at the heart of everything we do here and creating opportunities for them.”

“The more we thought about who we are and what we want to achieve, the more we kept coming back to that word: ‘United,’” said President and General Manager Michael Collins, who played an integral part in the decision-making process that led eventually and organically to the name California United Football Club. And while the United in the new club’s name is paramount, the California shouldn’t be overlooked. The organization is eager to represent and embody all the Golden State’s essential qualities. A place where big dreams come true, the individual pursuit of excellence is held in high esteem and unbridled freedom creates the kind of opportunities that sharpen the cutting edge, California is a perfect place for an ambitious and forward-thinking club like Cal Utd.

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The grand plan for California United FC, which will unveil its official logo and branding in the coming weeks, is to energize the soccer base in Southern California, creating a unique professional environment where the players come first. Among the club’s aims is an intense focus on player development and scouting, and building a bridge to the professional ranks for local talent who too often fall through the cracks and end up on the outside looking in.

“A lot of really talented players go off the rails because the support’s not there and life gets in the way,” added Collins, a former midfielder who blazed a trail through the American indoor and outdoor scene in the 1980s and 90s, earning a pair of caps with the U.S. National Team. “We want to find these players and give them a fair chance to recalibrate their careers and ambitions at our club.”

Cal Utd will work closely with their ever-growing network of local soccer clubs like the LA Wolves, the amateur powerhouse Capriotti has sponsored for the last two years, with the goal to identify players outside the traditional structure of the American soccer pyramid.

“We believe in promotion and relegation because it means the cream rises to the top,” said Capriotti, making it crystal clear that what Cal Utd hopes to be is well adrift of business as usual. “Absent of this system we have to do things differently to achieve similar results. This is why we want to create an organization with an open-door policy to the soccer community. We are taking our efforts to the base where soccer culture is vibrant, and truly resides. We’ll be the player-centric and community-oriented option, and we’ll give everyone an honest look. We want to help players fulfill their dreams, and we want local amateur clubs to benefit together with us in this combined endeavor.”

The hope is that with players like this in a top-class, day-to-day environment, Cal Utd can blossom into something more than just a professional sports team. Its aim is to be a club in the truest sense of the word.

“Our focus will be firmly on servicing the grassroots and giving access to the pro ranks,” said Collins. “There are too many stories of good players being overlooked and we want to stop this from happening at such a tragic rate. The best way to do this is to truly partner with the base, and that’s what Cal Utd will do. We’ll all be in the club together, unified by a common pursuit to find the best players and build the best team.”

Cal Utd has signed a letter of intent to play their home games at Cal State Fullerton’s 10,000-seat Titan Stadium. The venue boasts a natural grass playing-surface and has hosted numerous FIFA-sanctioned international friendlies. It ranks among the top soccer-specific stadiums on the West Coast.

With a name, philosophy and ambition now firmly in place, Cal Utd is gearing up to compete in the NASL, which comprises the official second-tier of professional soccer in America. The club will play its first league game in the Spring Season of 2018. Cal Utd joins the San Francisco Deltas and the league’s newest team in San Diego, which is part-owned by Eden Hazard and Demba Ba, in the league’s new contingent of California clubs.

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