San Francisco United Soccer Club, commonly known as San Francisco United or S.F. United, is an American professional soccer team based in San Francisco, California, United States. The team competes in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer, the top division of professional soccer in North American, and has done so since the team’s establishment on September 20th, 2020.
The club was founded in 2020 by a group of American business led by John Williams in an effort to “create a Bay Area rivalry for the San Jose Earthquakes” (Williams 2). The team has since been able to conquer one MLS Cup in 2022 and one US Open Cup in 2023. The current head coach is former U.S. National Team Head Coach, Jürgen Klinsmann.
The team’s colors are black, red, and white which were chosen in order to play tribute to the now extinct San Francisco Bay Blackhawks. The S.F. United logo also contains a small portion of the old San Francisco Bay Blackhawks logo.
The team currently plays at Kezar Stadium which has a capacity of 10,000 spectators. The franchise has plans to construct a new stadium in Daly City (about 7 miles away from Kezar Stadium) since the owners have found it difficult to find a location to build one in the city of San Francisco. The new stadium will have a capacity of 25,000 spectators which will make it the second largest soccer specific stadium in the United States after L.A. Galaxy’s StubHub Center (27,000 spectators).
The team is known for its academy, known as “The Nest”, and their player development. Currently, S.F. United has 20 home grown players out of the 25 men roster. This ratio is currently the highest for any team in Major League Soccer. There are also 36 Major League Soccer players who have had previous involvement in “The Nest.” This makes “The Nest” the academy with the most active players in Major League Soccer. S.F. United also broke the record for the highest transfer fee payed when they purchased Adan Januzaj from Manchester United for $10million USD at the start of the 2022 season.
S.F. United has a rivalry with the San Jose Earthquakes. This rivalry is commonly referred to as the “Battle of the Bay” since both teams are located in the San Francisco Bay Area. This same name is given to any game between Bay Area teams such as the Giants v. A’s and 49ers v. Raiders. This particular rivalry, S.F. United v. Earthquakes, intensified after the 2022 MLS Cup Western Conference Final where San Francisco United beat the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium. San Francisco United was granted a penalty at the 120th minute when the Earthquakes’ goalkeeper, David Bingham, seemed to have tripped SF United’s Bobby Wood inside the 18yard-box. In recent years, both teams have had to face monetary consequences due to fights between their fans.
The rivalry with the L.A. Galaxy is known as the Cali-Derby (not to be confused with the Cali-Clasico between the L.A. Galaxy and the Earthquakes). This rivalry is mostly due to the rivalry between the city of San Francisco and Los Angeles. This rivalry between cities is also seen in the Giant-Dodgers and 49ers-Rams rivalry.