Sacramento's path to the 2015 NPSL playoffs is fairly straightforward. The Gold needs two wins (and a little bit of help) in its final two games of the season. Doing so won't be easy, as this weekend's opponent has already beaten the Gold twice in 2015.
The Gold's Saturday opponent is trying to keep their chance at a playoff spot alive as well. In the latest edition of “Know Your Opponent,” learn more about Real San Jose.
City: San Jose, CA
Stadium: Mt. Pleasant HS/James Lick HS
Owner: Soccer Magic
Head Coach: Nick Arellano
One of the oldest clubs in the West Region, Real San Jose was founded in 2007 to bring together the urban San Jose community. The club was built as a way to bring together the English and Spanish cultures of the local community in a way which shows of the pride of San Jose and brings another high-level sports club to the city.
Real San Jose is run by SoccerMagic.com LLC, whose owner, Nick Arellano, also serves as manager of the club. Arellano, an expert at the game at all of the different levels, gives Real San Jose a family affair. Many Arellanos are sprinkled into the club, from its coaches and front office to its players and inspirations.
The club's location doesn't hurt either. San Jose is unique in it being one of the few cities in the NPSL which is home to a Major League Soccer club (here's hoping Sacramento becomes another in a few years), no one is doubting its soccer credentials. Real San Jose was founded a year before the Earthquakes returned to the league, and they're still maintaining a presence in the city, using the best unknown local talent in the soccer-rich area.
San Jose is still getting used to its new home. For the first seven seasons of its existence, Real San Jose played at Yerba Buena High School stadium. Last season, the club moved a short ways away to Mt. Pleasant High School. Though it had gotten used to the backdrop, the club moved again halfway through this season to its current home at James Lick High School.
For all of its long tenure in the league, Real San Jose has only made the playoffs once in its NPSL history. In 2010, San Jose finished second in the Northwest Division, losing to San Diego Boca in the first round of the playoffs. Still, San Jose is often near the playoff cutoff line, as this season has evidenced. Perhaps Gold fans should root for San Jose to make it into the postseason. The one year they did, Sacramento won the NPSL championship.
Jonathan Arellano: Naturally, it's an Arellano captaining Real San Jose. But don't think Jonathan's credentials are from name only. The San Jose keeper has been rock solid between the pipes all season long. Sacramento should know, as the Gold's only goal all season against San Jose came on a crazy own goal.
Danny Martinez: San Jose's offense runs through the big striker. A powerful, accurate forward who can turn the momentum of a game in an instant, Martinez is a constant threat up top. Martinez, who has been with the club for seven seasons, won NPSL Player of the Week honors in Week 2 for his two-goal effort against the San Francisco Stompers.
Edwin Luna: Luna has been a constant thorn in the side of Sacramento this season. The speedy striker has scored three times against the Gold this season. His quick pace has made San Jose's counter attack particularly lethal against Sacramento.
San Jose is trying to make sure a hot start doesn't go to waste. After going 1-1 in U.S. Open Cup qualifying (beating Sacramento and falling to the Sonoma County Sol), a poor Northwest Road trip netted just one point. Real then put together three straight wins over San Francisco, CD Aguiluchos USA, and Sacramento, sneaking into first place in the Golden Gate Conference in the process.
The month of May proved to be an up-and-down time for the club. In the first few weeks, San Jose was brought back down to Earth with a walloping 7-1 loss to Sonoma and a 4-0 shutout defeat against San Francisco. But things picked up at the end of the month with back-to-back 5-1 wins over Sonoma and Portland Spartans FC. Unfortunately for San Jose, a 3-1 loss to Aguiluchos last week has the club on the outside looking right now as far as playoff seedings go.
2014 Season Results:
Saturday, April 12: Sacramento 7 @San Jose 0
Sunday, May 18: Sacramento 2 @ San Jose 0
Saturday, June 21: San Jose 0 @ Sacramento 2
2015 Season Matchups:
Saturday, March 7: San Jose 3 @ Sacramento 0
Sunday, April 26: Sacramento 1@ San Jose 3
Saturday, June 13: San Jose @ Sacramento, 7 p.m., Capital Christian HS
Three Things You (Probably) Didn't Know:
Real San Jose's crest is actually the Arellano family crest. Nick traced the crest from the United States through Mexico back to Spain. The crest and the name "Real" paired well together. Among the team names suggested before the club's founding were "Bulldogs" and "Pintos."
Soccer Magic LLC has a number of various products and services, including a vinyl banner store, patch shop and uniform-making machine. It also publishes a monthly newspaper chronicling amateur soccer news, particulary the Golden Gate Conference. Each conference member gets at least one featured article each issue.
The NPSL's "Coach of the Year" award was officially named the Alexander Arellano Memorial Trophy in 2013. The award was named after Nick's middle son, Alex, who tragically passed away in 2012. Alex was a constant presence at the club, serving as honorary coach, brother to two platers, motivational speaker, and the team's #1 fan. For the league to honor Alex in this way shows the massive positive impact he had, not just on the club, but around the league.