There's a new professional soccer team in the Bay Area, and they're calling San Francisco home.
The inaugural season for the San Francisco Deltas starts a week from Saturday, though the team already has been on the field, playing friendlies. But on March 25, the Deltas make their official debut in their North American Soccer League opener against the Indy 11 at Kezar Stadium.
So, who are these guys? Are they legit? The Deltas did manage to beat the San Jose Earthquakes last month in a friendly, quite a feather in their cap.
"It's good for our spirit. It's good for the team. It's good for our locker room," Deltas coach Marc Dos Santos said. "It was a good day over there because it was the first game between San Jose and San Francisco from the start in our history as a club."
The win over the Quakes may have been a little more gratifying for midfielder Bryan Burke than for the rest of the Deltas. The former University of San Francisco star, traded from Jacksonville, is happy to be home and envisioning great things for the Deltas in their rookie campaign.
"We want to send a message to everyone in the Bay Area," he said. "You know, we're a new team, and we're someone to be reckoned with. We have good players, and we can beat MLS teams. We've had good results in the preseason so far, so we're hoping to be a team that can maybe bring a championship here."
While MLS is considered first tier, the Deltas play in a second-tier league. They're one of eight teams in the NASL and the only one on the West Coast, which means the support they receive will be vital to their success.
"We need people that like and love soccer in San Francisco to be with us, to be in the stands, to support us," Dos Santos said. "Because we're going to need to be warriors at home, knowing how much we're going to suffer on the road."
The Deltas are hosting a kickoff party with the entire team Friday at Civic Center Plaza. It's free and open to the public beginning at 3:30 p.m.