Earlier this year it was announced that Albion SC PROS would be joining the NPSL for the 2016 season, but while the team may be new to the league, Albion SC has existed as a club since 1981. Since then, the club has grown and now has over 120 teams across different age groups and leagues, with Albion SC Pros being the latest step in the evolution of the club.
Even without having officially started its season, Albion SC PROS has already found success. The team’s first match of the year, a friendly game, had a reported crowd of over 2,200. The high number is not only an excellent turnout for a team in its first season, but also a test to Albion SC’s work in the community.
“I think a lot of things factored into the success of opening night. But without a doubt, our engagement in our local community is very important to the long-term success of our club, and has been a big piece of our success at the beginning,” says Head Coach Ziggy Korytoski.
Despite going up against Real San Jose, Chula Vista FC, and Los Angeles Galaxy II in preseason friendlies, the San Diego based team has emerged victorious on every occasion. This is no small feat considering that LA Galaxy II, or Los Dos as it is known, was one of the finalists in last year’s USL Championship.
“Morale is obviously growing with such positive results,” says Korytoski. “The results for Albion PROS are a product of the process intertwined with the ability to execute under whatever the circumstances may be. “
Luis Cardona, an Albion SC homegrown player who has had a stellar preseason, was particularly proud of the result against Los Dos.
“It is definitely very rewarding to defeat a team with so much talent. It re-assures me that the Albion professional team is made up of outstanding players with enormous experience,” he said.
While some may dismiss the wins because of their friendly nature, Korytoski believes that they are the direct result of the work Albion SC put in during the off-season.
“I think it just shows how well as a club we have prepared up to this moment both on and off the field.
We’ve been at this since January trying to find the right pieces of the puzzle for the culture we aspire to create,” he says.
Korytoski knows what he’s talking about. After all, he has experience not just in the collegiate soccer circuit, but also abroad. In between stints with the University of Hawaii at Hilo and San Diego State University, Korytoski spent some time in Guatemala coaching Antigua GFC and Deportivo Coatepeque.
“I was fortunate to work with a number of talented players and coaches that put everything they had into their craft and community. Players that not only represented their community and club, but also represented their country,” he says.
It’s easy to see that his experience in Guatemala has helped shape the current Albions SC PROS ideology of putting team success before individual accolades.
“We stress it to our players all the time that, ‘We play for each other… We play for San Diego… We play to be Champions!’”
This ideology has also trickled down to the team and has players like Cardona intent on giving their all for their team and community.
“I played in the NPSL four years ago with San Diego Boca and I can tell you there are great teams in the conference. I have no doubt we will play against excellent teams, however, Albion is prepared to take on any challenge,” he says. “You can expect for the team to give it its ALL during every match, to grow and improve as a team. We will fight to become one of the best teams in the NPSL.”
Albion SC PROS will open its 2016 NPSL season on Sunday, April 3 against Deportivo Coras USA.