SAN FRANCISCO — The biggest soccer club in San Francisco officially got bigger Saturday, as the SF Glens SC played their inaugural game in the USL PDL before a raucous partisan crowd at Boxer Stadium.
Though the Santa Cruz Breakers spoiled the hosts’ debut with a last-minute 1-0 victory, a sea of green regaled its new hometown heroes with a standing ovation after the final whistle.
“We’re just humbled with the response we had from the local community here in The City,” said Glens team president J. Ramon Estevez. “Obviously we wish the result was different, but I think we made a statement that the Glens are here to stay and the best is yet to come.”
Though the Glens are an expansion team in the PDL, the club was established in 1961 as an adult amateur team and later added a youth system, with the PDL team serving as the new top of the pyramid. With over 80 current teams and 1,300 active players, the tradition was on full display throughout the afternoon.
A group of former Glens from the past six decades walked on the field alongside the current players before the national anthem, which was sung by Molly McFadden—granddaughter of the club’s founder, Dr. Michael McFadden.
To further commemorate the occasion, PDL Director of Competition and Development Chris Madden flew in from USL headquarters in Tampa. In addition, San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed and District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai were joined by Irish Consul General Robert O’Driscoll in addressing the crowd before kickoff.
As for the game itself, San Francisco and Santa Cruz battled evenly during a first half where both teams aimed to draw first blood. Glens goalkeeper Kevin Peach used every bit of his 6-foot-6 inch frame to stretch out and bat away a Breakers attempt that curled toward net—an effort that was later named Carlsberg Play of the Game. On the other end, Glens captain Minh Vu took a touch in the box but lifted the ball just over the crossbar.
The game progressed scoreless into the second half, and the Glens began to gain an advantage in possession. Midfielder Yohannes Harish earned Renewable Rascals Man of the Match honors for spearheading the Glens in the attacking half with his creativity on the ball.
Unfortunately for the Glens, they could not convert those opportunities, and in the 90th minute, the Breakers’ Willy Miranda snuck behind the opposing back line on a counter-attack. The midfielder took a long ball and slipped a shot past Peach to shock the spectators and give Santa Cruz—which was also making its debut in the PDL—all three points on the road.
“We created a lot of chances in the final third, especially in the second half,” said Glens head coach Javier Ayala-Hil during his postgame Coaches’ Corner Presented by Soccerloco. “We were just a little bit off. Being the first game, the guys are still building their chemistry. … We just have to be aware of where we lose the ball in the counter-attack.”
The Glens will get a shot at immediate revenge this Saturday, when they travel to Santa Cruz for the Breakers’ home opener.
“The good thing is we get to play them again next and give it another go,” Ayala-Hil added.
As for the Glens’ next home game, they return to Boxer Stadium on Thursday, May 24 at 5:30 p.m. to face LA Galaxy’s Under-23 affiliate, the LA Galaxy SD Zest.
It will be College Night and SFUSD Night; all college students and SFUSD students/faculty will get free admission with ID. Single-game tickets are available on SFGlens.com for $10. All fans 17 and under are free all season with a Youth Season Pass, which can also be obtained on SFGlens.com for free.
You can learn more about our Match Day information (Parking, Directions, Beer and Wine Menu, etc.) HERE.
The pregame fanfare also included bagpiper Craig Farley and Balboa High School’s JROTC…At halftime, six of San Francisco’s recent boxing champions—LaRon Mitchell, Charlie Sheehy (represented by his mother Cindy), Jonathan Chicas, Martha Salazar, Ricardo Pinell, and Karim Mayfield—were honored on the field…Glens forward Stephen Cordova, who came on as a second-half substitute, had a busy day. He doubles as a coach for the SF Glens Evolution (SFGE) youth system and had to lead his players in the morning for a game before heading over to Boxer for his own. Living the "One Club" mantra indeed…Glens midfielder Adrian Medina, a product of the youth partnership between SFGE and Bay City FC, made his debut in the final minutes. Not yet 18 years old, the SF State-bound Medina is currently finishing his senior year at Leadership High School, a 10-minute walk from Boxer…The Glens’ adult amateur teams are still in existence today; in the past, they won two league titles in the historic SFSFL and earned two berths in the U.S. Amateur Cup final under the leadership of coach Sean Shannon, who was among the former Glens in attendance.
About the San Francisco Glens
Founded in 1961, the San Francisco Glens have been a mainstay of the San Francisco soccer landscape for decades, winning numerous titles in the historic San Francisco Soccer Football League and competing for national titles throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
The addition of the San Francisco Glens’ PDL team is the latest evidence of the club’s growth. Along with the Glens’ youth club, SF Glens Evolution—a U.S. Soccer Development Academy member and official North American partner of Celtic FC’s Academy—the Glens are the largest soccer club in San Francisco, providing all levels of competition to nearly 1,500 youth and adult soccer players.
About the USL Premier Development League
A part of the United Soccer Leagues, which also operates the Division II USL, the newly-announced USL Division III, and Super Y League, the USL Premier Development League (PDL) has served as the proven stepping-stone for aspiring professionals.
Over 70 percent of all MLS SuperDraft selections since 2010 have PDL experience, including a total of 66 alums chosen in 2018. Among the many players to have played in the PDL before making their professional debuts include Newcastle United FC defender DeAndre Yedlin, 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Tim Melia, 2017 MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara, and U.S. Men’s National Team members such as Darlington Nagbe, Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron, and the Bay Area’s own Nick Lima.