Oakland Soul host Academica SC at Merritt College at 2:00 p.m. Pacific on Sunday, May 28. The match will be available on the Soul website: https://www.oaklandsoulsc.com/stream/. Soul are looking to continue their perfect start to the season.
[Cover Photo Credit: Jon Comeaux, RootsBlog]
Academica SC will be familiar to the dozen Roots fans who made the drive down for pre-season in 2021. The club is based in Turlock, and per their wikipedia page, their field has a capacity of “over 600 seated fans.” The club was founded in 1972, making them older than the 1974-1988 incarnation of the San Jose Earthquakes, and was formed by Portuguese immigrants at a local Catholic parish. The senior men’s team competed in NPSL for awhile, and with the formation of the women’s team as a member of USL W League, the men’s team made the jump this past offseason to USL League Two.
An unfortunate thing I am afraid I am going to keep running into with the USL W season is that Academica either does not publish much about their women’s team, or makes it very difficult to find it. They are a small operation overall, and possibly their men’s team PR is a labor of love rather than, y’know, a paid employee, but it’s frustrating when I have very little to go on except the last four results. See below re players to watch.
There isn’t much defense for this (or being fielded), but SF Glens are at least doing this to everyone, with a 5-0-0 record and a +23 GD in four games. Likewise, Stockton Cargo actually seem okay, holding their own against Oakland and California Storm and beating Marin FC. Still, someone has to be last in a league and through four games you’d pick Academica (Marin FC got their first win/non-loss on May 27).
|5/13||vs. Olympic Club||W||1||0|
|6/1||vs. Stockton Cargo|||||||
|6/4||vs. California Storm|||||||
|6/8||at California Storm|||||||
|6/11||at SF Glens|||||||
|6/18||vs. Pleasanton RAGE|||||||
|6/21||at Olympic Club|||||||
|6/25||at Marin FC Sirens|||||||
|7/2||vs. SF Glens|||||||
Kaytlin Brinkman was awesome throughout and scored the game’s only goal on what was not really her biggest opportunity. They made sure to say several times that she is an “East Bay-native,” which is true, she’s from Antioch, and that’s awesome. Relatedly, I am friends with this guy through my wife who is Hayward born and raised and hates Antioch like Austin Powers’ dad hates the Dutch and it is one of my favorite regional prejudices. Brinkman should have made it 2-0, but couldn’t beat the keeper from close range, and then Jordan Geis (who I thought made a huge impact when she came on) was close to being able to put in the rebound, but overran it and couldn’t get a shot.
Players to Watch
Only two players have actually scored for Academica: Jenna Villanueva and Jaedyn Sanders. There’s some guesswork here, given the above complained-of lack of PR, but I think that Jenna Villanueva plays for Cal State East Bay. Jaedyn Sanders I think plays at San Joaquin Delta College (and plays for Academica instead of Cargo? Intrigue!), but she also has a page on the SJSU athletics website but does not appear on their current roster. It is… unclear.
Based on minutes played to-date, I think there are several players we can expect to see at Merritt College:
Savannah Leifried #2 – according to Soccerwire, Leifried is 14-years-old (as of mid-April) and has played every minute of Academica’s season so far, although I don’t know if the formations on the USL W website are reliable enough to say what position she plays. In two games she’s listed at right back, in one as a striker, and one as a holding midfielder. She is also apparently Cade Cowell’s cousin.
Brianna Figueroa #6 or 11 – okay, so first of all, this player is listed as “Bianna Figueroa” on the USL W website, which I wouldn’t second-guess except that name turns up no search results, and someone purporting to be Brianna Figueroa posted her own highlights of games for Academica SC in 2022. She is listed as #6 in two games and #11 in two games. Also the Turlock Journal reported her name with the “r.” Anyway, there’s also two Brianna Figueroas playing collegiate soccer in the Central Valley, but per the same Turlock Journal piece, this one for Academica plays for Fresno City College (although she is not listed on the roster on their website–jinkies, what a mystery). Again, she was listed as central midfield in two lineups, attacking midfield in one, and central defense in another.
Trinidad Quiroz #15 or 11 – Quiroz has, I believe, the third most minutes on the team behind Figueroa and Leifrid. Quiroz plays for UC Merced (as does teammate Academica teammate Preeya Singh). Quiroz is from San Jose, and transferred to UC Merced from the University of Hawai’i. She is listed as a forward.
Soul have looked pretty good and Academica have looked terrible. Soul have apparently sold out Merritt College, which will be fewer people than were at CSU East Bay, but may still feel like a big crowd for a home game. 3-0 Soul.
I’m going with a collective eight goals today in any of the following three outcomes: 8-0 Soul, 7-1 Soul, or 6-2 Soul.
Academica have allowed 20 (!) goals in 4 matches. Layla Armas is the real deal in goal. Soul come out aggressive and take care of business. 5-0, with five different goal-scorers
There’s three Pep Boys listed in Bakersfield. Two of them were open and they said they’ve never heard of Aaron when I called them up. I figured it must be the other, but they still weren’t answering the number I was calling, so I hired someone on TaskRabbit to get check it out and report back to me. He said there’s nothing there. It’s just an empty lot.