Year founded: 2016
2015 record: N/A
2015 playoffs: N/A
Key additions: Spurs Sports & Entertainment, Tim Holt (Director), Darren Powell (HC)
Key departures: N/A
Projected/ideal starting XI (4-3-3): Josh Ford; Max Gunderson, Stephen McCarthy, Sam McBride, Greg Cochrane; Michael Reed, Carlos Alvarez, Sebastien Thuriere; Manolo Sanchez, Jason Johnson, Shawn Chin
It's been a whirlwind of an off-season for San Antonio FC. Spurs Sports and Entertainment announced the founding of a USL team to replace the defunct NASL San Antonio Scorpions, less than four months away from the start of the 2016 season. They immediately went to work, bringing in former USL president Tim Holt to be the club's Managing Director / VP in SS&E, and acclaimed college and development coach Darren Powell to take the head coach role. In a small office less than 100 feet away from where SS&E's world famous NBA team was playing a game, Powell immediately went to work seeking players and staff.
With the pre-season coming to a close, Holt and Powell have formed a team poised to make a splash in USL this year. SAFC is undefeated in pre-season play, only conceding two goals thus far. The roster is a mixed bag of experience, with recent college graduates and players coming from MLS, USL, NASL, and international leagues. The Spurs brand-name along with the reputation carried by Holt and Powell have brought players seeking perfection, which is exactly what the head coach expects of them in return.
Why you should watch San Antonio FC in 2016: With MLS expansion being the goal from the start, Spurs Sports and Entertainment has no desire to field a mediocre team. Holt and Powell have constructed a team with a strong defense and explosive players on the attacking side of the ball. While we'll have to wait until April 3rd to see how they compete in league play, the roster looks built to make a run at the league's top clubs right out of the gate.
3 Players to watch
Manolo Sanchez: Coming off a season spent between New York Red Bulls & NYRB II, the striker brings loads of experience to the attack and has notched both assists and goals of his own this pre-season.
Greg Cochrane: Playing, in his words, "pretty much anywhere on the outside," Cochrane is a fast, aggressive player who boosts the level of play on both offense and defense.
Sebastien Thuriere: The 26-year-old midfielder has already been called up to play for Haiti in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers (and likely will be called for Copa America), news he says gets him even more focused on playing at the highest of his abilities for his club.
The 2016 season will be a success if... San Antonio brings home league hardware.
With MLS expansion always in the back of their minds, SAFC believes a key to bringing top-league play to the Alamo City is winning in the league they're in this year. Making a deep playoff run, if not winning it all, is important to both short-term and long-term goals. Outside of playing well, filling Toyota Field consistently and growing the supporters section feeds the goal of providing an authentic soccer experience and not pumping in canned music.