SAN DIEGO, CA. – The San Diego Zest FC aim to improve on last year’s impressive rookie season which saw them reach the playoffs and finish runner up during the regular in the Western Conference Southwest Division. The Zest will begin the regular season on May 6th by visiting the Southern California Surf and then follow up with a three-game homestand with the first being against last year’s division winner FC Tucson on Saturday, May 13th at Madison High School.
“I thought last year’s team was one of the best overall teams I’ve played with” said forward Matt Hurlow-Paonessa. “We had so much depth. We had four guys who were on the bench and could have easily been starters”.
Hurlow-Paonessa, Phoenix Rising FC, appeared in nine matches during the 2016 season scoring nine goals including two goals in last season’s playoff match. The Zest then follows up their homestand by going on the road for three straight games with the last being against Fresno Fuego who finished last season in first place of the Western Conference Mountain Division. “With a new team this year I really hope the team does well” he added. “In our first year we exceeded almost everyone’s expectations and I expect nothing less this season from the team”. Hurlow-Paonessa is now a member of Phoenix Rising FC, USL. The revamped roster will include a few of returning players such as USD forward Patrick McGrath, pending league approval, and new comers such as center midfielder Tomoyuki Nakayama. Nakayama is one of the rising stars of Japanese soccer receiving two offers from Japan’s second division clubs and two from Japan’s third division clubs.
The Zest’s open up the second half of the season at home versus the 2009 USL PDL Champion Ventura County Fusion. The teams faced each other twice last year with both matches ending in a draw. The team then goes on the road for their second meeting of 2017 against FC Tucson at the same place they handed last year’s division winner its only loss of the season.
The San Diego Zest returns home for three straight games to face the Southern California Seahorses, Fresno Fuego and Southern California Surf in that order before ending the regular season on the road against FC Golden State Force eliminated the Zest from the playoffs last year.
Players, coaches and fans expect this to be another exciting season. The Zest will be holding open tryouts this Saturday, February 18th at Alliant University and another on Sunday March 12th with location to be announced.
For more information on the team’s 2017 regular season, information on attending a game, or participating in tryouts please visit: San Diego Zest FC