Erlys Garcia Returns to the Blues

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By: Herceny Del Cid
@Herceny

IRVINE, CA (July 31, 2014)- The Blues are proud to announce the re-signing of Cuban defender Erlys Garcia.

Garcia, 29, was born in Havana, Cuba to parents Edith and Tomas Garcia.

Although Cuba is known for baseball, Garcia grew up in a town where everyone played football. He began playing at the age of 10.

His professional debut was with Ciudad de la Habana in 2007, and was called up to the Cuban Mens National team in 2008.

In 2008, Erlys Garcia flew with the U-23 Cuban National Team for the 2008 Men’s Pre-Olympic Tournament that took place in the United States.

“The experience was wonderful, and I was able to enjoy playing in different countries and represent my team in Central American Games, World Cup qualifiers and Olympic qualifiers”, said Erlys about playing at a National level.

Garcia, then 23, made a decision that changed his life forever.

On March 24, 2008 the media reported the defection of of 7 players of the Cuba National team during the Pre-Olympic tournament. The Cuban National team played one game against Panama with only 11 players; without substitutions and a suspension.

The United States has a “wet foot, dry foot” policy, which is the name given to the 1995 revision of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. The act states that anyone who flees Cuba and gets into the USA would be allowed to pursue residency a year later.

Garcia was one of the players that made a decision to stay in the United States. The young soccer player left behind his wife, daughter and family in a selfless act to give his family a better life.

Soon after, Garcia kept pursuing his dreams as a professional soccer player in the USA, and was given an opportunity by Ali Mansouri on the then PDL team, Los Angeles Blues.

“My decision was super hard for me because I left my wife and daughter in Cuba, my little girl was turning two months old when I decided to stay, but football helped me a lot and I knew at any time I would have the opportunity to see them again. Today I get to enjoy my family thanks to this wonderful sport, and amazing people like Ali Mansouri”

Garcia was part of the Los Angeles Blues when the team joined USL PRO in 2011, where he played a total of 19 games. In 2012 he played a total of 23 games, and a total of 11 games in 2013.

Garcia had his 2014 debut with the OC Blues on July 19 against Arizona United SC wearing the Captain’s band.

“Elrys left Cuba in pursuit of a better life and a successful career, like many of us do when we come to the United States. Erlys leaves his heart and soul on the pitch and is someone many players can look up to with his determination and heart. I am very proud of the man he has become and very excited to have him back on the Blues,” said OC Blues Owner, Ali Mansouri.

Come support Garcia and the rest of the OC Blues FC at Anteater Stadium. There are four more games left of the 2014 season, so don’t miss out on soccer history in Orange County. Call (714)738-8011 or email seat@bluessoccerclub.com.

Blues Drop Series Finale to LA Galaxy II, 4-0

Credit: Michael Janosz

Credit: Michael Janosz

By:Marc Serber
@soccerserber

Irvine, CA (July 26, 2014)- The LA Galaxy II closed out its season series with an emphatic 4-0 victory over the Orange County Blues, sending the home side crashing to its fourth defeat in front of 1,226 spectators at Anteater Stadium.

The Galaxy II established their dominance early. A desperate clearance fell to Andre Auras who took one touch before smashing the ball past Blue’s ‘keeper Aaron Perez after just four minutes.

The Blues did well to string passes together, but a compact Galaxy II midfield was able to keep the Blues from working the ball into dangerous positions.

Los Dos put the game to bed five minutes before halftime as Chandler Hoffman scored two goals in the space of a minute.

Seung Ju Kim was dispossessed in midfield. The ball made its way to Raul Mendiola, who was streaking into the channel. Despite being in alone against Perez, the 20-year-old unselfishly squared the ball for Hoffman to finish at the far post.

Less than a minute later, another giveaway in midfield fell right to the feet of Hoffman, who walked in alone and calmly dispatched his shot past Perez.

The Blues started the second half brightly, moving forward with more purpose and getting the Galaxy II on the back foot. Just when it looked like the tide was changing, however, second half substitute Bradford Jamieson IV capped off an incredible week by picking up his first USL Pro assist.

The 17-year-old capped off a week where he had an assist on his MLS debut and played 45 minutes against Manchester United before beating his defender to the endline and playing it across the face of goal. Dragan Stojkov arrived late at the back post to slide the ball just under Perez.

Mohammed Roknipour added some bite to the Blues offense when he entered in the 66th minute and created the best chance of the night. The former Iranian international got the ball at the top corner of the box, cut back onto his left foot and sent a curling shot towards the far corner. The shot took a deflection and looked destined for the far post, but Brian Rowe foiled him with an excellent save, pushing the ball wide at full stretch.

Los Dos outshot the Blues 21-5, but Perez made some exceptional saves to keep the scoreline from getting out of hand.

Orange County falls to 8-12-0, while the Galaxy II improves to 11-5-4 on the season.

The Blues will hit the road for four straight games, and won’t return to Anteater Stadium until August 17th, when Sacramento Republic FC makes the trip south from the Californian capital.

For information on obtaining the best ticketing prices, call (714) 738-8011 or email seats@bluessoccerclub.com.

Blues Look For Redemption Against SoCal Rival LA Galaxy II

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Irvine, CA (July 25, 2014)- Orange County Blues FC is set to face their rival, LA Galaxy II, for the last time this 2014 Season. LA Galaxy will cross the Orange Curtain this Saturday, July 26, with kick-off set for 7:00pm PST at University of California Irvine’s Anteater Stadium.

The rivals have met a total of 3 times this season. The first face-off was on March 22, during their USL PRO debut, when LA hosted Orange County, that ended in a 3-1 loss for the visiting team. The two met once more at the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium on April 19, where Los Dos was victorious once more with another 3-1 final score. The last time the rivals met was at Anteater Stadium on April 27, where the Galaxy scored yet another three goals on the Blues, but this time in a shutout victory.

LA Galaxy II comes to Irvine after a 1-0 victory over Oklahoma City Energy FC at Pribil Stadium. The only goal of the match was scored by Raul Mendiola, a player to watch, who has a total of 9 points with 2 goals and 5 assists.

Other players of note on Los Dos are forward Chandler Hoffman, who has a total of 17 points with 8 goals and 1 assist, and Charlie Rugg, with a total of 14 points with a total of 6 goals and 1 assist. Hoffman has been with the senior squad as of late. Goalkeeper Cody Laurendi has played 16 games and has allowed a total of 19 goals with a 1.187 goals against average.

Los Dos stands in the 3rd spot of USL PRO standings with a record of 19-10-5 and a total of 34 points.

Orange County returns to Anteater Stadium after a 3-0 shutout loss to another west-coast rival, Arizona United SC. The Blues have lost their last three games and will come to the match eager to get a win for Orange County.

For Orange County, keep an eye on a few standout players.Goalkeeper Patrick Mclain is ranked 3rd in saves in USL PRO, with 66 on the year so far, giving him 4.4 average per game. Midfielder and captain Allan Russell has a total of 16 points with 6 goals and 4 assists. Defender Steven Okai has started in all 2014 games for the Blues, playing a total of 19 games, in what amounts to 28 hours on the pitch. The defender has a record of 5 points with 2 goals and 1 assist.

The Blues currently sit in 7th place in the USL PRO standings, with a record of 8-11-0, giving them a total of 24 points.

For information on how to witness this rivalry showdown, call (714)738-8011 or email seats@bluessoccerclub.com for ticket information.

OC Blues FC and Acapulco Restaurant Y Cantina Announce Partnership

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IRVINE, CA (July 22, 2014)- The Orange County Blues are proud to announce Acapulco Mexican Restaurant Y Cantina as a new partner for the remainder of the 2014 season.

“On behalf of myself and the entire Orange County Blues FC organization, I am pleased to announce our new partnership with Acapulco Mexican Restaurant Y Cantina” said Owner of OC Blues FC, Ali Mansouri. “We think that this truly will be a mutually beneficial relationship that will help to grow both of our businesses, and we look forward to working with Acapulco for the remainder of this season, and hopefully, for many years to come.”

Acapulco Mexican Restaurant Y Cantina opened its first restaurant in 1960.  With a brand promise stating that their passion is to consistently share something new, something exciting and something vibrant with their guests at each and every neighborhood restaurant.  It is not just a restaurant chain but a “collection of neighborhood restaurants” in many county’s, including the home of the Blues FC, Orange County.

The partnership with Acapulco includes two player appearances at their Costa Mesa locations to be announced at a later date.  These appearances will also include the OC Blues mascot, Super Blue.  Acapulco will also have many in game elements including a booth at two games, while providing for Blues fans special co-branded coupons for great savings at their Costa Mesa locations.

“We’re delighted to enter this partnership with OC Blues FC, which is a first of its kind for Acapulco Mexican Restaurant Y Cantina,” said Heather Heleloa, Marketing Manager, Real Mex Restaurants. “We look forward to working with the OC Blues on a number of exciting marketing initiatives and engaging their fans with special offers and opportunities for the remainder of this 2014 season.”

Please visit the OC Blues FC website at www.ocbluesfc.com to learn more about the Blues and their new partnership with Acapulco.  You can also go to www.acapulcorestaurants.com/ocblues, where you can download a special introductory coupon, courtesy of Acapulco Mexican Restaurant Y Cantina.

Orange County Drops Series Finale to Arizona United in Peoria

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Peoria, AZ (July 19, 2014)- The Orange County Blues met west coast rival Arizona United SC for the final time this season, in front of 2238 fans in 102 degree heat at Peoria Sports Complex. Arizona United took a 3-0 victory, a three goal shut-out against OC Blues.

The Blues presented the return of the Cuban national Erlys Garcia, who wore the Captain’s armband during the match. Number twenty-nine played a total of 57 minutes in his return to the Blues.

The game started off in favor of Arizona United SC as the Blues seemed unorganized.

In the 22nd minute Paolo DelPiccolo fed an assist to Matt Kassel, who took a powerful shot to the left side of the goal that was impossible for Patrick McLain to block.

In the 27th minute Matt Kassel sees another opportunity past the Blues defense and sends a long pass to Long Tan who confidently kept the ball away from Patrick McLain, who left the box in an attempt to stop the goal.

Halftime came with a 2-0 score in favor of Arizona United SC. Enrique Cardenas came in for Jacob Barron at the start of second half which changed the Blues to a more offensive approach.

At minute 48, Cardenas sent a free kick to Andrew Hoxie, who’s header hit the right goal post. Another opportunity came in the  53rd minute when Joshua Suggs crossed a ball to Hoxie, who missed the chest pop.

The battle continued as shots came in from both sides. It seemed as the game would end in a 2-0 final score until Kadeem Dacres came in as a substitute for United at minute 87 only to score in the 3rd minute of extra time on a one-on-one with OC defender Jimmy Tuner.

The two have met a total of four times this 2014 USL Pro season. This game was the fourth match of the season making their record 2-2, with the final a 3-0 shutout for United. Both had a loss at home and a loss away.

Arizona United SC is now tied for tenth in the USL PRO standings, and two points out of a playoff spot.  Orange County drops down to 7th place in standings.

Join the Blues this Saturday at Anteater Stadium at UC Irvine as they face SO CAL rival, LA Galaxy II. For ticket information call (714)738-8011 or email seats@bluessoccerclub.com.

Blues Face Arizona United in Peoria Hoping to Clinch the Season Series

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IRVINE, CA (July 18, 2014)- The Blues are ready to face Arizona United SC for the fourth time this 2014 USL PRO season, in Peoria Arizona. Watch the game live on youtube.com/ArizonaUnitedSoccer as the two teams will meet for the final time this season.

The two have met three times this season. On May 31st Arizona faced the Blues in Orange County for the first time and lost 2-0. The Blues then traveled to Peoria, Arizona where they won 3-2. The third matchup of the season was on July 12th when Arizona traveled once more to Orange County but this time earned their three points with a 2-1 victory.

This may be the best out of four, that looks promising for the Blues. Considering they are playing on Arizona’s home turf, there is a possibility the west-coast matchup ends up level, making it the only draw the Orange County Blues have this season, so far.
The Blues are in sixth place of USL PRO standings with a total of 22 points behind the Rochester Rhinos. Arizona United are in 11th place behind the Charlotte Eagles with a total of 17 points. Both teams will play their 19th game during this final match-up.

On this road trip two Orange County Blues fans won a trip to travel with the team to Arizona. Follow this experience on @ocbluesfc on all social media.

The next home match for Orange County is July 26th, against SoCal rival LA Galaxy II. Join them at Anteater Stadium by calling (714) 738-8011 or email seats@bluessoccerclub.com.

Aaron Perez Returns to the Blues

Aaron Perez playing for the LA Blues vs Charlotte Eagles on Saturday, May 25th, 2013. Photo Credit: Michael Janosz

Aaron Perez playing for the LA Blues vs Charlotte Eagles on Saturday, May 25th, 2013. Photo Credit: Michael Janosz

Irvine, CA – Goalkeeper Aaron Perez is a Blue once again. The San Dimas, CA native has been signed by the newly rebranded Orange County Blues FC

Perez, 27, played with the Los Angeles Blues during the 2013 season, recording six saves in four appearances.

The University of California Los Angeles graduate played American Football during his college years as the starting punter from 2005-2008, earning him a 1st Team All-Pac 10 honor in 2008. The Bruin had stints with the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins as a punter.

Although Perez played American Football in college, he’s been playing goalkeeper in soccer since he was 3 years old.

“Being back has been awesome.  Definitely love being back with guys like Jimmy (Turner), Chris (Cortez), Allan (Russell) and other guys from last year has been amazing.  The new players are all talented, smart and amazing guys, and I am very blessed to be a part of this journey.” said Perez about his recent signing, this time with the Orange County Blues.

“We are excited to have Aaron Perez back. He is a perfect fit for our team as we move into an important stage of the season. Aaron is a goalkeeper with excellent shot stopping ability and distribution, and will be a great support to our team in goal.” added General Manager Jon Spencer.

Support Aaron Perez as he wears his new Blues jersey with the number 24.

Join OC Blues FC at Anteater Stadium, located at University of California Irvine. For ticket information, please call (714) 738-8011 or email seats@bluessoccerclub.com.