The San Jose Earthquakes U-23 PDL affiliate the Burlingame Dragons FC, are firing up their second season on the San Francisco Peninsula. The team is coming off of a fantastic inaugural season, which saw them finish with an 11-2-3 record, a Southwest Division championship and a Western Conference Final Four appearance.
The Dragons have already signed up some key returnees from the 2015 PDL Southwest Division Champions. On the field, 2015 captain Josh Smith [D] will return, accompanied by three Golden Bear team mates: Josh Morton [D], Nick Lima [D] and Sam Ebstein [MF/F]. All four players saw playing time with the Dragons during the 2015 season, and will provide a solid foundation on which to build this year's squad. In the net, the Dragons have signed goalkeeper J.T. Marcinkowski a freshman with the Georgetown Hoyas where he led his team to a 16-2-3 record; nine of those wins came by shutout. The Alamo, CA native, also trained with the U-20 U.S. men's national team in January, where he was joined by fellow Quakes Academy alum and current Stanford freshman Amir Bashti.
On the sideline, Eric Bucchere, who was a Dragons assistant last season under Coach Dana Taylor, will lead the team as head coach in 2016. He will continue his search for young talent in familiar surroundings at Menlo College, where he also remains the head coach for the men's soccer team. If you think you have what it takes to become a Dragon, turn up for the tryouts at Menlo's soccer field at 10 AM on Saturday, February 13, and the coaching staff will be happy to put you through your paces.
Coach Bucchere will also reacquaint himself with the Earthquakes Academy U-18s on Wednesday night, when the Dragons play an exhibition match at Vista Montaña field in San Jose at 8:15 PM. Bucchere previously served as an assistant coach with the Earthquakes Academy -- in 2014, he led the U16's to a U.S. Soccer Federation Development Academy Elite Eight appearance.
The 2016 PDL season will have some added spice, with the addition of local rivals San Francisco City FC to the PDL Southwest Division. There will plenty of opportunities to catch these exciting young soccer players in the Bay Area, and you can see them early in the PDL. Why, just this January, midfielder Ty Thompson became the first former Dragon to be drafted into MLS when the San Jose Earthquakes picked him in the 3rd Round of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft.