The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is proud to announce that California Odyssey SC (Fresno, CA) has joined the league as an expansion team. The club will begin play in the West Region in 2023.
“We are thrilled to grow the NPSL in California,” NPSL Managing Director Cindy Spera said. “California Odyssey has a reputation for successfully developing players for the next level, and now has an NPSL team that completes their development structure. They are the premier brand in the Fresno area, and we are looking forward to the contributions they will make in our league. This is a very exciting announcement for our fans and supporters in the West.”
The club will be led by an experienced leadership group that includes President Manual Nevarez, Technical Director Vitalis Otieno, General Manager Chris Wilson, Head Coach/Board Member Dr. David Santesteban, and Principal Investor/Staff Coach Corey Pasek.
Nevarez has deep roots in the local community, including time spent as a Madera County Board of Supervisor and a mortgage broker. Otieno is a former collegiate soccer head coach who possesses a MS in Sport Sciences, USSF B License, and NSCAA Premier Coaching Certificate. Wilson, who earned a MA in Sport Administration, has spent the last 12 years as an executive with Fresno Fuego, LA Galaxy, Fresno FC, and Fresno Grizzlies.
Santesteban, a former U.S. Soccer Technical Advisor and U.S. Youth National Team Staff Coach, holds a USSF National A license, USSF Youth Technical Director’s License, and Ph.D. in Sport Administration. A former collegiate and professional soccer player, Santesteban has 20 years of inter-collegiate men’s soccer coaching experience and 15 years of inter-collegiate athletic director experience. Pasek is a former collegiate and professional soccer player who currently serves as President and CEO of Utility Trailer of California and a board member at the Central California Food Bank.
“The NPSL has established itself as a professionally run amateur league that offers access to a very competitive national championship format, U.S. Open Cup fixtures, and top-quality regions that must meet minimum standards,” Santesteban said. “More importantly, the NPSL is an active partner and support with the member clubs and truly helps the grassroots nature of building their brand and league operations.”
Home matches will be played at Madera South HS Stadium in Madera, CA. The facility provides seating for 5,000.
Established in 2002, California Odyssey has developed the reputation of being the premier club in Central California. The club continues to help pave the way for kids to achieve their goal of playing collegiately. Odyssey was a part of the USSDA, MLS Next, and now competes in the ECNL. They have had 15 players break into the U.S. Soccer Youth National Team pool, while three more were selected for the U.S. U-17 residency program. Over a dozen alumni have played for MLS teams, and another was signed by English Premier League side Liverpool FC. The club has won six national championships, four national runner-ups, and countless state titles.
“We expect to be competitive, operate in a professional manner with our league partners, and be a positive final step in the developmental pyramid of our club,” Santesteban added.
Supporters can visit www.californiaodyssey.org or follow the club on Facebook (@californiaodysseysoccerclub), Instagram (@californiaodysseysoccerclub), and Twitter (@CalOdysseySC).
“We are excited to have California Odyssey join the NPSL,” NPSL Director of Membership Development Dina Case said. “The Fresno market and its central location in California will be a key market as the NPSL continues its expansion in the West Region. Cal Odyssey is a well-respected youth soccer club, and we are pleased that they chose the NPSL to further develop their organization’s player pyramid while offering the highest level of amateur soccer to the Fresno community.”
More information about expansion opportunities in the NPSL can be found at npsl.com/expansion.
Photo Credit: Chris Hagan and Christopher Cross