LA Blues Soccer Club News Release - www.bluessoccerclub.com
November 11, 2013
LOS ANGELES – Pali Blues SC and LA Strikers FC, who finished as the top two Western Conference teams this past season, are pleased to announce that they have merged to form the LA Blues Soccer Club, set to begin competing during the 2014 W-League season.
“On behalf of the Mansouri family, I want to express our excitement,” longtime Pali Blues President and Head Coach Charlie Naimo said. “Our focus the last couple years has shifted dramatically to what happens on the field, so it is a natural fit to partner with Steve and his group. They have been doing great things outside the lines. Joining forces will give the Blues brand the components to reach new levels.
“Many of us are still shaken by the loss of the LA Sol and a professional women’s soccer team in the SoCal area. I am confident this merger is a major step in filling that void for all the local fans,” he added.
“I am incredibly excited about the potential for the new team,” LA Blues co-owner Steve Miller commented. “Having Charlie Naimo managing and Tracey Kevins directing the team is an owner’s dream. I can’t wait to show SoCal what women’s soccer is all about.”
The Pali Blues have proudly been a top off-season destination for many collegiate standouts, as well as domestic national team stars and some of the top international talent, since their first W-League season in 2008. With players of such caliber, Blues Naimo has seen the Blues take three W-League championships in six years. Pali was undefeated in its first two seasons, ending both with championships, and has since established itself as a powerhouse team.
The Blues fell just short of the league championship in 2012, losing a penalty kick shootout, but redeemed themselves with a victory in the title match this past season, defeating the Laval Comets 1-0.
The Blues have helped develop many of the world’s top talent including U.S. Women’s National Team standouts such as Alex Morgan, Lauren Holiday, Tobin Heath, Whitney Engen, Kelley O’Hara, and Christen Press, Mexico’s Iris Mora, New Zeland’s Ali Riley, England’s Karen Bardsley, Australia’s Collete McCallum and Kirsty Yallop, and Denmark’s Cathrine Paaske-Sorensen and Julie Rydahl Bukh.
The LA Strikers, who joined the W-League in 2010, are coming off a successful season under Head Coach Tracy Kevins, who led the Barnet Bees to the FA Cup Championship in 2010, and coached England’s Women’s National Team. The Strikers made the playoffs this year for the first time in franchise history, where they lost to the Blues after defeating them twice in the regular season. The Strikers finished the 2013 season with an 8-4-0 record, winning more games than in their previous two seasons combined.
“I was extremely impressed with what Tracey did last year and after spending time with her it was clear why she’s been successful,” Naimo said. “Not only does she know the game inside and out, she is a fantastic judge of talent and a true professional.”
“I am really excited to be working with Charlie,” said Kevins, Blues Technical Director. “With his recruiting prowess and my coaching ability, we have the makings of a strong team both on and off the field.”
The Blues expect to make more announcements soon with plans for a new venue underway. For more information, please follow the Blues on twitter (@LABluesSC), and on facebook.com/PaliBluesSoccer, or visit bluessoccerclub.com.