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SF Glens cause problems for Academica in opening USL games
Academica men
Academica SC goalkeeper Marco Sobrevilla was on the wrong end of some defensive miscues in the first half of Saturday’s match against the San Francisco Glens SC, as the Turlock team found themselves in a 3-2 deficit at the half of what would end up being a 5-3 loss (CHRISTOPHER CORREA/The Journal).

The 2023 United Soccer League officially got underway with Turlock’s semiprofessional club Academica SC experiencing a string of losses to open both their men’s and women’s seasons.

Both Academica teams opened their seasons in San Bruno to take on the San Francisco Glens SC in a May 7 doubleheader. The men took the pitch first in what resulted in a 1-0 loss. The ladies game followed, which was a 7-0 contest also in favor of the Glens.

On Saturday, the teams met again at the Academica Soccer Fields in Turlock for Academica’s home openers. While there was a festive mood amongst players and fans prior to each match, disappointment once again dawned over the teams as the men lost 5-3 and women lost 5-0.

While men’s head coach Sergio Sousa had plenty of positive takeaways from their first match, there weren’t many happy thoughts in his postgame interview, particularly when discussing his defense.

“I think in the first game, we were defensively really good, and today we were defensively really bad. We just had too many mistakes, and mistakes near your goal lead to goals for the other team. Those first two goals we gave up were gifts,” Sousa said.

Indeed, San Francisco took advantage of multiple Academica passing hiccups in front of goalie Marco Sobrevilla led to a first half hat-trick form Max Chretien. Despite the three goals given up, Academica’s Joshua Santillan and Felipe Lopez each scored to make it 3-2 at the half.

The Glens added two more goals in the first 15 minutes of play in the second half courtesy of Max Hamelik and Kian Jones. Academica was only able to tack on another goal from Ricky Rosas at the 90th minute, simply not enough time to mount a comeback.

“I told them that it has to be more than just playing,” Sousa said. “We scored three goals, and typically if you score that much, you should win the game. But the effort defensively was not good.”

Academica women
Kinsey Pettigrew-Taa of Academica WSC warms up prior to the team’s match against the San Francisco Glens on Saturday (Photo contributed).

On the women’s side, Academica faced a 1-0 deficit heading into the half following a goal by Maddy Samilo. Once the second half got underway, their defensive efforts waned as well, with Samilo knocking in another goal, Nadia Gomes scoring twice herself and Kaylee Kim finding the back of the net.

Heading into the third weekend of play, Academica WSC has yet to score a goal and have been outscored 12-0, offering some early-season adversity for first-year head coach James Burns and his squad.

“We're definitely stepping into a league with a bunch of big names and programs that are attached to division one universities and programs. They've certainly made a splash,” Burns said prior to the season. Nevertheless, he believes that his team is prepared to handle the ups and downs that a full season in the USL W can throw their way.

Both teams will be back on action this Saturday. The men’s team will look to rebound against Davis Legacy FC at home at 7 p.m. while the ladies will travel to play at Sa Joaquin Delta College to take on the Stockton Cargo SC at 4 p.m.