San Diego’s own 1904 FC is bringing full-field, ninety-minute professional soccer to SDCCU stadium this Saturday, September 14th. 1904 FC is financially backed by experienced international soccer superstars Eden Hazard and Demba Ba.
The new professional club competes in the new National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) which has scheduled its league according to the international football calendar that runs from fall to spring. NISA’s calendar will align with more prominent professional soccer leagues around the world.
1904’s inaugural match in NISA’s first week of action was a 2-0 loss on Sept 7th to theL.A. Force in NISA’s Challenge Cup at Rio Hondo Community College stadium.
San Diego’s newest soccer club is full of young and eager players who are determined to make an impact in professional and international soccer. Players like Moe Ernesto Espinoza, a San Diego county native who has experience in USMNT’s youth system and the Tijuana’s Xolos youth academy, tried-out in August alongside 150 other hopefuls.
1904’s founder, GM, and head coach Alex Gontran has sculpted his roster down to 25 men who will represent America’s Finest City in the third tier of the U.S Soccer Federation’s professional pyramid. In a quote to the San Diego Union-Tribune Gontran stated his assessment of the squad “They are willing to learn, they are very open, and we have a lot to teach. I think it’s a good combination.”
San Diego’s newest pro team is unique in the fact that 1904 FC controls its roster. In the NISA, players sign contracts with teams. Decisions to move and pick up players on the professional market are left up to the team itself. The MLS operates differently, as a single-entity league, players’ sign contracts with the MLS league. An international player transfer in the MLS is controlled by the league instead of a particular team. The transfer fees go to the MLS, and its acquisition rules determine which team a player represents. Adversely, the NISA is an open league where player transfer fees go directly to the individual club that is giving up a player. Customarily in non-U.S. markets, individual clubs operate independently of the league they play in.
1904 FC wants to showcase the benefits of clubs having financial freedom. Gontran explains his plan for a symbiotic relationship with 1904’s players, “I told them, ‘Take your chance, one or two years. If you are good enough, we can help you to leave to a bigger club, or if the club is growing, we can give you a better salary.’ ” The NISA aligns itself with the other professional soccer leagues all over the world by embracing an open system without salary caps or ties to a parent corporation.
The NISA is a ten club league with teams from across the USA. The new league’s launch will provide opportunities for young players to showcase their skills regularly in a system that wants to produce talent, grow a brand, and promote “the world’s game.”
1904’s co-founder Hazard explains his perspective on the new league’s formation to ESPN “We were the very first club to join NISA, and we have co-founded it. We have a big say in the direction of the league because we have a lot of experience with leagues around the world.”
1904 FC is a chance for San Diegan’s to taste authentic professional soccer and develop a true club from the ground up. In their beginnings, club’s like Barcelona and Chelsea FC were once small independent organizations like 1904 FC but eventually grew into institutions. On September 14, 2019, 1904 FC will kick-off its first-ever match on home soil against California’s United Strikers FC out of Orange County. They will play at SDCCU Stadium in the heart of San Diego’s Mission Valley at 7 pm.
Tickets range from $14 to $29 and $5 for anyone under 18. San Diegans now have an opportunity to embrace a true namesake 19”S”04”D.”
Tony Fantano is a native and current resident San Diegan who is all about pushing the city of San Diego to its full potential nationally and internationally. Tony earned a Bachelor’s in broadcasting and journalism from San Francisco State, where he learned the importance of civic pride. Tony wants to inspire readers everywhere to be their greatest and help each other pursue personal and civic prominence.