Sacramento Gold FC is gearing up its preparation for the 2016 NPSL season. Looking to build on the team's third straight trip to the West Region final last season, the Gold will be making some exciting changes to the organization, as well as grow the tremendous talent Sacramento already has. Here are some notes on what's happened so far this offseason and what Gold fans can expect in the months to come before the start of the next season.
Open Cup Bound
The NPSL has changed its qualification process for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, beginning with the 2016 edition of the tournament. The NPSL has eliminated region-based qualifying tournaments, opting to award the 2015 playoff quarterfinalists, along with five at-large teams, with the league's 13 automatic qualifying spots.
This means Sacramento Gold FC, having reached the West Region Final (league quarterfinals), has qualified for the 2016 U.S. Open Cup! It will be the Gold's second ever appearance in the tournament, and the first since 2013.
The schedule for the tournament will be released in early 2016.
In the professional ranks, Gold alumni continued to help their clubs throughout the 2015 season. Miguel Aguilar further justified DC United's decision to select him in the first round of last year's draft with superb play and game-changing ability coming off the bench. He also scored the lone goal in DC's 1-0 CONCACAF Champions League win over Árabe Unido in Panama City.
Meanwhile, former Gold players helped Sacramento Republic FC reach the USL Playoffs for the second straight season. Though the Republic were not able to repeat as league champions, players such as Max Alvarez and Dominik Jakubek proved their value to the club as pieces for the future.
In addition, several current members of the Gold are staying active in the offseason. Plenty of players have kept themselves busy in the local CCSL at O'Neil Park in Downtown Sacramento. Fans can also see the likes of Nico Brioso and Ali Radmand play for the Capitol City's professional indoor soccer team, the Sacramento Surge of the MASL, at Estadio Azteca.
Merch is Coming
Fans have been asking for it for quite a while. Well, the demand will soon be answered. A fresh crop of Sacramento Gold FC merchandise is coming, and it will feature some items never before distributed by the club.
For the first time, official Sacramento Gold FC scarves will be available for purchase. In addition, fans will have the opportunity to wear the same warm-up kits worn by the Gold players themselves. T-shirts and other items will also be included in this round of material.
The new merchandise will be available for purchase online by the end of January 2016.
In addition to the new merch, fans can also expect information about the 2016 season to be released as early as December. Fans can also look forward to an updated version of the website and player profiles in the coming weeks. All these efforts and much more as Sacramento Gold FC gets ready for 2016!