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USL-1 returns to California
Spanish club Alaves forms California Victory expansion team in San Francisco
USL News Release
 
Thursday, October 12, 2006
 
TAMPA, FL -- For the first time in USL history, a professional European club will own and operate a USL franchise.  USL President Francisco Marcos announced Dmitry Piterman, President of Spanish League club Deportivo Alaves has officially acquired a USL First Division franchise beginning in the 2007 season.

The club will be named the California Victory, deriving its nickname from Alaves’ home city of Vitoria, the capital city of the province of Alava in the Basque country of Spain.
 
“I am absolutely thrilled to make this announcement,” said USL President Francisco Marcos.  “I believe that USL’s future, and that of development of North American players, lies with direct involvement with top international clubs. I have no doubt that the relationship with Alaves will pave the way for many future similar situations. I want to thank Dmitry for his vision and commitment in launching this concept with us and that it will pay dividends all around.”

The club will play out of Kezar Stadium located in the southeastern corner of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California. It is the former home of the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers of the NFL, and the San Francisco Dragons of the Major League Lacrosse. It has a current capacity of 10,000 seats.

“The San Francisco Bay area is one of the premier markets in the world,” said Piterman. “The world’s best city and the world’s most popular sport are a perfect match. Bringing soccer to the heart of San Francisco is a great opportunity to reach out to large urban population. The quality of the ownership will guarantee a competitive team and a top-notch organization to represent this market.”

Piterman is a Ukrainian born Berkeley graduate entrepreneur who splits his time between his Oakland, California residence and Vitoria, having acquired Alaves two years ago in the Spanish League.  Alaves, founded in 1921, has alternated the last seven years between the Spanish Second Division and La Primera Liga, with its most glorious moment coming in 2001 when they reached the UEFA Cup Final, losing 5-4 overtime thriller to European Champions Liverpool FC. 

Longtime soccer executive and coach Terry Fisher responsible for building the club. Having served as the franchise’s executive management consultant during the start-up phase, he has been appointed as the team’s first general manager.  

“Our home venue at historical Kezar Stadium in San Francisco captures the vision for our organization,” said Fisher. “We look forward to bringing exciting soccer entertainment to our fans and a deep involvement in the sports community. We have much to do and are looking forward to a successful inaugural season in the City by the Bay.”

The expansion club marks the return of USL First Division soccer to the state of California, where it has been absent since 2001.

“Bringing the USL First Division back to California is an important development for the league, particularly for our Western-based franchises,” said USL Vice President Tim Holt. “The San Francisco and greater Bay Area has a proven track record with fan support of professional soccer and we are confident that the Victory will become a staple in the soccer community beginning in 2007.”
 
For further information about Deportivo Alaves, please visit www.alaves.com.


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