The San Jose Earthquakes announced a new affiliate for their U-23 team, partnering with the newly created Burlingame Dragons FC of the USL PDL. The Dragons, based just north of San Jose on the Peninsula, will begin play in May with the start of the 2015 PDL season.
The Dragons are co-owned by Nick Swinmurn, founder of Zappos.com and minority investor in the Golden State Warriors, and Dave Ebersman, former CFO for Facebook and Genentech. The club will play its inaugural season at Burlingame High School, which features an artificial turf field.
"We are excited to partner with Burlingame Dragons FC as our PDL affiliate," Earthquakes president Dave Kaval said in a statement released by the club. "Nick and Dave have a great vision for the club, and this is an awesome opportunity to help grow the local soccer community while helping to develop younger players coming through the club's development system."
"Soccer has long played a vital role in the Burlingame community," Swinmurn said in a statement released by the USL PDL. "And the Bay Area is one of the richest sources of soccer talent in the nation. For us, that's a perfect combination. We're excited for the opportunity and look forward to working closely with the San Jose Earthquakes. They're a championship organization with a proven record of developing homegrown talent.
"Ultimately, we'd love to establish ourselves as a premier PDL franchise, ascend the USL ranks and build a soccer facility in San Mateo County we can call our own."
The previous Earthquakes PDL affiliate, which played the 2014 season in the central valley city of Turlock, has been replaced with the Dragons. Burlingame will be a member of the league's 6-team Southwestern Division, and the club has begun selling an 8-game season ticket package through its website, www.burlingamedragons.com. Players interested in trying out for the Dragons, as well as the Earthquakes, will get their opportunity in late January.
The 2014 Earthquakes U-23 PDL squad had a successful first season, finishing third in the division, just three points behind first-place Ventury County Fusion. The team's most visible player last season was center back Ramon Martin del Campo, who also plays college soccer at the University of California , Davis. The defender was so successful with the Earthquakes that he was invited last summer to be a part of the U.S. Soccer U-23 program.
The Dragons are holding a public event to celebrate the club's founding on December 10 at 1:00 p.m. in downtown Burlingame. Fans are encouraged to come early and enjoy the festivities.