The Earthquakes PDL affiliate Burlingame Dragons have just embarked on their 2017 PDL season, and I’ll be on the sidelines, with my camera shooting the action. One of the best things about shooting the Dragons, and the myriad soccer teams in the Bay Area over the past few years, is that I’ve watched the progress of local players as they develop through their various academies and colleges. Finally, if they have the talent, I get to shoot them playing professional soccer.
The Burlingame Dragons are coming off an incredible 2016 season – the squad made the post season, under coach Eric Bucchere. The Earthquakes second homegrown player, Nick Lima, recently pointed out the key to the team’s success was that “on and off the field coming together as a team right away and coach Bucchere was fantastic at that, one of the best I’ve had in motivating”. The coach for 2017 is Earthquakes goal-keeping legend Joe Cannon – recently inducted into the Quakes HOF -- and he has a tough act to follow.
In addition to Nick Lima, the 2016 Dragons contributed three players currently signed to MLS rosters: Josh Smith (USF, New England Revolution); Brian Wright (Vermont, New England Revolution) and Brian Nana-Sinkam (Stanford, Seattle Sounders).
Josh Smith – Defender; New England Revolution; seen here in action against Stanford’s (and now Seattle Sounders) Jordan Morris.
Brian Wright – Forward; NE Revolution; in action against local rivals SF City FC.
Brian Nana-Sinkam – Defender; Seattle Sounders.
The upcoming 2017 Burlingame Dragons roster will provide more opportunity to watch the next generation of Bay Area soccer talent. The roster is highlighted by several U.S. youth internationals including Arda Bulut (U.S. U-18 NT), Andrew Paoli (U.S. U-18 NT), Christopher Grey (U.S. U-18 NT) and Jean-Julien Foe Nuphaus (U.S U-15 NT). All four youth internationals are members of the San Jose Earthquakes Academy. There are also four returnees in 2017 – prolific forward Khalid Arramdani, Cal defender Josh Morton, Sac State midfielder/forward Gabe Silveira and Redwood City native Armando Garcia.
This year’s campaign began on the road in Fresno, a tough 4-0 loss. The Dragons bounced back with a win in the US Open Cup tie held at Boxer Stadium, ultimately winning on PKs. The second game of the season was another road game, much closer to home at USF’s Negoesco Stadium, finishing a 1-1 tie.
The Dragons home opener will take place at Dragons Stadium at Burlingame High School on Sunday May 14th – not only your chance to watch future MLS stars, but also enjoy free tacos -- kick off will be at 4 PM.