Cal alumnus ready to face old friends in exhibition
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - The California Victory began training Monday in preparation for its inaugural USL First Division season, which kicks off April 28. But Victory midfielder Mike Muñoz is focused on something more imminent: Saturday's fundraiser against Cal.
"I'm definitely looking forward to playing Cal," said Berkeley alumnus Muñoz. "It's always a pleasure coming back to the Bay Area. I've kept in good contact with everyone over there and I know they're all very excited."
Muñoz' started 60 out of 63 games during his time at Cal, before heading to Los Angeles and signing for Chivas USA of the MLS. But this season he's back at the Bay and wearing the blue and white of the California Victory -- and determined to make things happen for the club.
"I'd like to see the Victory pull off a good win, and personally get a goal or an assist or something like that," he said. "But anything to help the team would be great."
This weekend's game at the College of Alameda's state-of-the art soccer-specific FieldTurf stadium will be tough, said Muñoz. Cal's 2006 season ended with an appearance in the third round of the NCAA tournament after another winning season (.650, 13-6-1 record).
"Cal has always been a very fit, very physical team," he said. "It's also one of the most technically solid teams on the West Coast. It's a great program and a great tradition and it's always going to be a tough game against them."
The exhibition match will be the first game ever played by the USL First Division expansion team, and is a fundraiser benefiting Rockridge and Bay Oaks Youth Soccer programs of the Jack London Youth Soccer Sports League, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that supports 7000 local youth players.
"It's important for us to reach out to the surrounding Bay Area colleges, youth soccer leagues and clubs so they can benefit from our pre-season games in their local communities," said Victory head coach Glenn Van Straatum. "We want to become the Bay Area's new favorite professional soccer franchise that's connected with the youth soccer organizations"
Van Straatum added: "The Cal game is a good opportunity for us to begin building a quality team out of a group of talented players and also establish our style of play," said Van Straatum. "Mikey Muñoz, for example, is one of the local talents we've signed with MLS experience."
And ahead of Saturday's game, Cal head coach Kevin Grimes has voiced his support and enthusiasm for the new soccer franchise.
"The entire soccer community is very excited to have professional soccer back in the Bay Area," said Grimes. "It takes a major commitment and a lot of time to start a first class organization as the California Victory has done. The Victory is going to be a tremendous franchise and we look forward to supporting them and their endeavors. "
The California Victory play Cal on Saturday, March 17, at 3:00 PM. Tickets will be available at the gate on game day and will cost $7 for adults and $3 for under-18s. For directions, go to http://www.bayoaks.net/fields/col_alam.html.
The Victory, a professional soccer team based in San Francisco, has announced a pre-season schedule that includes match-ups with other local college talent, the Fiji National Team and a yet-to-be-named top Mexican team.
The club will play its home games at the legendary Kezar Stadium near Golden Gate Park and kicks off its regular home season on Saturday, May 12, against last year's finalist Rochester Raging Rhinos. For more information go to www.californiavictorysoccer.com.
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USL First Division Stories from March 14, 2007
- Cal alumnus ready to face old friends in exhibition - California Victory
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