This piece will give a simple timeline of Orange County soccer at the professional and semi-professional level, and not at the youth level, which historically has always been very healthy and robust. Unfortunately, reputable independent youth academies or development squads like the Fullerton Rangers, Pateadores, PSA Elite and others have never formed their own professional soccer clubs. Maybe its time that communities funnel their youth into their very own professional clubs and not rely on their players to be “drafted.”
Orange County Soccer Club, 1960s (details scarce), Two-Time National Challenge Cup (Now US Open Cup) Finalist in 1966 and 1967. Played in a league called the Continental League. Played Bayern Munich of the German Bundesliga at Santa Ana Stadium in 1966.
California Sunshine, 1977-81 (ASL), founded in Fountain Valley, CA, played at Chapman University in the City of Orange, and at Santa Ana Stadium.
California Surf, 1978-81 (NASL), played at Anaheim Stadium. The team was at one time owned by the Segerstrom Family, who are longtime Santa Ana and Costa Mesa landowners who developed South Coast Plaza. The Segerstroms recently sold 5 acres in Santa Ana to the San Diego Chargers, in case of their move to the LA market.
Orange County Zodiac, 1997-99 USISL A-League (Now USL). Played at UC Irvine then decided they wanted to play in Santa Ana, at Santa Ana Stadium. Placed at least one add in the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce’s publication, because that’s what most Santa Ana residents read back then (sarcasm).
Orange County Blue Star, 2001-12, USL Premier Development League, played at Concordia University in Irvine. Some World Cup winner and national team coach named Jürgen Klinsmann played for this club under the alias “Jay Göppingen.”
Santa Ana Winds FC, founded in 2006 in the So Cal Premier League, then joined the National Premier Soccer League for one year in 2011, then became a founding member of the United Premier Soccer League. The team has struggled to get a home field for the duration of an entire season and has been playing its games at OC Great Park in Irvine, and at the Sports Park in Lake Forest, CA. In 2016 the club began scheduling games at Santa Ana College, and played two US Open Cup qualifying matches, a win vs La Habra City FC and a loss to La Máquina. The club plans to compete in the newly minted UPSL Pro League at Santa Ana Stadium in 2017.
OC Blues, USL, started as the LA Blues in the USL Pro league in 2010, played at Titan Stadium at Cal State Fullerton before moving to Anteater Stadium at UC Irvine. The word is they want to build a 5000 seat stadium at OC Great Park in Irvine.
Fullerton Rangers, 2012, named after the reputable soccer academy, played a US Open Cup game before folding after a short existence.
The United Premier Soccer League was founded in 2011 in Santa Ana, with a Los Angeles headquarter in Torrance. The UPSL’s Orange County teams typically use fields at Irvine’s OC Great Park, Las Lomas Community Park and the Lake Forest Sports Park. The league’s teams seldom use Santa Ana Stadium or Santa Ana College fields.
OC Crew competed in the Coast Soccer League prior to adding a team to the UPSL.
OC Stars began as Tustin Legends.
PSA Elite a surprise amateur club in the 2015 US Open Cup that advanced the farthest of all the non-professional teams.
La Máquina, borrows nickname and identity of Mexico’s Cruz Azul FC, will enter 2016 US Open Cup play in the Open Division round, after qualifying by crushing 2015 US Open Cup surprise team Chula Vista FC by a score of 4-0. La Máquina is also known as “FC Golden State Orange County,” and is described as a program of Irvine Premier Soccer. La Máquina also competes in the Coast Soccer League.
FC Expat, out of Huntington Beach with a solid youth academy.
Anaheim Legacy, founded in 2015, lists their home field 15 miles away in Downey, which explains their league alignment and schedule with LA County UPSL teams.
Irvine Outcasts, founded in 2013, nicknamed “The Flock,” appear to be comprised of UC Irvine players, are mostly active on Facebook and nearly non-existent on other social media.