July 7, 2016, San Diego Zest FC announced its first affiliation agreement, partnering with Japanese club Avispa Fukuoka, which currently competes in Japan’s first division.
“We’re excited to form this partnership as we feel it will benefit Avispa Fukuoka and most importantly for Zest FC will increase the level of play and development within our PDL club,” Zest FC Manager Kohki Ohsumi.
Zest FC becomes the first PDL team to partner with a J1 League club, signing a renewable one-year agreement. The two sides plan to create management staff exchange programs and soccer information exchanges with their partnership.
The affiliation intends to raise the level of the club by having Avispa Fukuoka players, including both experienced and youth players, compete for Zest FC. The PDL franchise will also provide the J1 League club with information on talented players, providing a clear path to the professional game.
Zest FC, currently competing in its inaugural PDL season, is owned and operated by the San Diego Sports Authority under the leadership of President Chase Yamauchi. Zest FC plays its home matches at James Madison High School.
Avispa Fukuoka, founded in 1982, is located in Fukuoka City, Fukuoka. After finishing in third place in the J2 League in 2015, the club was promoted to the J1 League via a playoff system. Avispa Fukuoka is led by Head Coach Masami Ihara.
Avispa Fukuoka (アビスパ福岡) is a Japanese professional football club, currently playing in the J1 League (Japan’s 1st division).
The team is located in Hakata, Fukuoka. “Avispa” means “wasp” in Spanish.
Fukuoka Official Web Site (Japanese)