USL announces conference alignment for 2017 season

Here is the conference alignment for the upcoming 2017 USL Season

Western Conference Eastern Conference
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC Bethlehem Steel FC
LA Galaxy II Charleston Battery
OKC Energy FC Charlotte Independence
Orange County Blues FC FC Cincinnati
Phoenix Rising FC Harrisburg City Islanders
Portland Timbers 2 Louisville City FC
Real Monarchs SLC New York Red Bulls II
Reno 1868 FC Orlando City B
Rio Grande Valley FC Ottawa Fury FC
Sacramento Republic FC Pittsburgh Riverhounds
San Antonio FC Richmond Kickers
Seattle Sounders FC 2 Rochester Rhinos
Swope Park Rangers Saint Louis FC
Tulsa Roughnecks FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 Toronto FC II

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LAFC and Orange County Blues FC announce partnership

Los Angeles Football Club and the USL’s Orange County Blues FC announced a new partnership that will expand player development and create a loan system between the two franchises.

LAFC is set to join MLS in 2018. lafc

“We are incredibly excited about this partnership, which will contribute significantly towards our goals of building a competitive roster in 2018 and growing the game here in Southern California,” LAFC Executive VP of Soccer Operations John Thorrington. “In the OC Blues, we have a fantastic partner with an owner and staff who closely align with our vision to bring world-class professional soccer to Southern California.”

The deal will provide LAFC the ability to loan players to the Blues as soon as the 2017 season.

“We are thrilled to launch this exciting new era in Orange County soccer with our LAFC affiliation,” Orange County GM and Executive VP of Soccer Operations Oliver Wyss. “This partnership will significantly enhance the quality of our first team and strengthen the bonds between the two clubs. Together we will expand opportunities for coaching education and focus on all aspects of player development.”

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USL: Orange County Blues FC advances to semifinals

The eighth-seeded Orange County Blues upset top seeded Sacramento Republic, 5-4 on penalty kicks in the first round of the USL Western Conference playoffs Saturday night.

The Blues will again be on the road in the next round, Oct. 9 against the fourth-seeded Swope Park Rangers.


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USL: Orange County Blues’ Trevin Caesar earns POTW honors

Trevin Caesar (Orange County Blues FC) was selected USL Player of the Week after he scored a pair of late goals (87th and 89th minutes) Saturday in a 4-0 victory over Colorado trevinSprings Switchbacks FC,

The victory helped the Blues clinch a spot in the upcoming USL playoffs on the final day of the regular season.

The Blues will face top-seeded Sacramento Republic FC in the Western Conference quarterfinals, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.


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USL: Galaxy II and Orange County Blues FC qualify for playoffs

LA Galaxy II finished fifth in the USL Western Conference and will face the Swope Park Rangers at Children’s Mercy Victory Field, uslFriday, Sept. 30 at 5:30 p.m. in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs.

Galaxy II finished fifth in the conference.

Orange County Blues FC qualified on the final day of the regular season and will face top-seeded Sacramento Republic FC, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. OC Blues finished eighth.

Here are the Western Conference pairings

No. 8 Orange County Blues FC at No. 1 Sacramento Republic FC

No. 7 OKCEnergy FC at No. 2 Rio Grande Valley FC

No. 6 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1 at No. 3 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

No. 5 Galaxy II at No. 4 Swope Park Rangers

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James Keston becomes new owner of Orange County Blues FC

Orange County Blues FC of the United Soccer League (USL) has been sold to L.A-based businessman James Keston, the league announced Thursday.

Keston is the Chief Investment Officer of LARO Properties, an investment company.

“We are thrilled to welcome James Keston to the USL and reaffirm one of our key

James Keston

James Keston

tenets of finding local and committed ownership,” USL Chief Executive Officer Alec Papadakis said. “James is part of an established Los Angeles family who has passion for soccer and has some very exciting initiatives planned for the team.”

Previous owner Ali Mansouri will remain as a minority investor. Mansouri founded the club in 1998 and became owner in 2010.

“This is a realization of a lifelong dream,” Keston said by phone. “I have a number of plans, starting with a compete rebranding and we will be seeking fan input, a redesign of the logo and improving stadium requirements.”

The OC Blues have played their home games at Anteater Stadium on the campus of UC Irvine since 2014.

“We want to have a fan and game experience that’s greatly enhanced and make the fans feel part of their local team,” Keston said. “The current owner has done a great job and has taken the team to a certain point.

“Our plan is to build out the rest of the team staff, double or triple the front office staff, bring in more sales and marketing and make sure every one knows that Orange County has a local team. The amount of kids and fans playing in Orange County is unparallel to anywhere and we want to be the one team that’s speaking for Orange County.”

All of this work begins once the season is over. The Blues are currently in ninth place in the Western Conference. Last year, the club reached the Western Conference semifinals.

Keston said there are plans to develop an academy system to identify the top talent in Orange County.

“Our focus is winning USL championships and creating a professional environment and give an opportunity to the talented youth to play soccer with men and develop their game,” Keston said. “We understand our place within the (soccer) chain. We’re going to take a look at everything and make a lot of important decisions.”

LARO Properties specializes in investments in real estate, private equity funds, hedge funds, direct equity investments and publicly traded securities. Keston has also served as Chief Restructuring Officer for Larwin Company, during which he led negotiations with banks and creditors on behalf of the company in successfully resolving a distressed portfolio of over $150 million in outstanding loans.

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