Jump to content

USL Adds New Club

River City

Recommended Posts

USL-1 returns to California

Spanish club Alaves forms California Victory expansion team in San Francisco


USL News Release

Thursday, October 12, 2006

TAMPA, FL -- For the first time in USL history, a professional European club will own and operate a USL franchise. USL President Francisco Marcos announced Dmitry Piterman, President of Spanish League club Deportivo Alaves has officially acquired a USL First Division franchise beginning in the 2007 season.

The club will be named the California Victory, deriving its nickname from Alaves’ home city of Vitoria, the capital city of the province of Alava in the Basque country of Spain.

“I am absolutely thrilled to make this announcement,” said USL President Francisco Marcos. “I believe that USL’s future, and that of development of North American players, lies with direct involvement with top international clubs. I have no doubt that the relationship with Alaves will pave the way for many future similar situations. I want to thank Dmitry for his vision and commitment in launching this concept with us and that it will pay dividends all around.”

The club will play out of Kezar Stadium located in the southeastern corner of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California. It is the former home of the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers of the NFL, and the San Francisco Dragons of the Major League Lacrosse. It has a current capacity of 10,000 seats.

“The San Francisco Bay area is one of the premier markets in the world,” said Piterman. “The world’s best city and the world’s most popular sport are a perfect match. Bringing soccer to the heart of San Francisco is a great opportunity to reach out to large urban population. The quality of the ownership will guarantee a competitive team and a top-notch organization to represent this market.”

Piterman is a Ukrainian born Berkeley graduate entrepreneur who splits his time between his Oakland, California residence and Vitoria, having acquired Alaves two years ago in the Spanish League. Alaves, founded in 1921, has alternated the last seven years between the Spanish Second Division and La Primera Liga, with its most glorious moment coming in 2001 when they reached the UEFA Cup Final, losing 5-4 overtime thriller to European Champions Liverpool FC.

Longtime soccer executive and coach Terry Fisher responsible for building the club. Having served as the franchise’s executive management consultant during the start-up phase, he has been appointed as the team’s first general manager.

“Our home venue at historical Kezar Stadium in San Francisco captures the vision for our organization,” said Fisher. “We look forward to bringing exciting soccer entertainment to our fans and a deep involvement in the sports community. We have much to do and are looking forward to a successful inaugural season in the City by the Bay.”

The expansion club marks the return of USL First Division soccer to the state of California, where it has been absent since 2001.

“Bringing the USL First Division back to California is an important development for the league, particularly for our Western-based franchises,” said USL Vice President Tim Holt. “The San Francisco and greater Bay Area has a proven track record with fan support of professional soccer and we are confident that the Victory will become a staple in the soccer community beginning in 2007.”

For further information about Deportivo Alaves, please visit www.alaves.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Jeffery S.

I think I posted on Piterman before. He is a bit of a nut, insists on sitting on the bench, despises his players, thinks because he has money everyone else is stupid, has boycotted press from Alavés facilities, has insulted the mayor and town hall in Vitoria and then expects government help. In short, a mess, not to mention signing coaches who he then tells who to play and who not to, even trying to influence training methods. I think he was an Olympic athlete at one time, do not recall the sport, so he may have some idea about training, but he never played soccer that is for sure.

Piterman first bought Palamos, the 2nd oldest club in Spain, on Catalonia's Costa Brava. Hired some good journeymen but the team failed to promote, think it was in 4th tier though it had been in 2nd division nearly 20 years ago and the stadium could handle a team in 2nd again. He then took his coach and a few players to RAcing Santander, bought a controlling interest, but was quickly driven out. Bought into Alavés after the UEFA Cup final, kept them up in top flight one year, went down the next.

His players ended up taking him to court for backpay, which he witheld as he was upset by team play, not because of cash-flow problems. Still, a decent side, they have the money to promote again to 1st division.

Piterman will not likely have too much fun in USL, but you can be sure he would be interested in developing things far enough to come up with an MLS team. I think he is bad news, frankly, but that does not mean having a team in SF is a bad idea, it is fine I guess.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is an interview with him. Doesn't sound very promising as an owner though an owner such as this might have more success in a lower level league such as USL than in the more competitive environment of Spanish soccer.

THREE QUESTIONS FOR ... La Liga's American owner

8/30/2005 4:08:00 PM

It cost Malcolm Glazer more than $1 billion to take over Manchester United. Another American, Dmitry Piterman, spent $5 million a year ago to acquire Spanish club Alaves, which he guided to La Liga promotion. Alaves kicked off the 2005-06 season last Saturday by tying defending champion Barcelona, 0-0.

Piterman, a U.S. citizen who considers himself ''Born in Russia, Made in America,'' immigrated to New York from Odessa at age 15 in 1979. While a track & field star at UC Berkeley he began accumulating a fortune in San Francisco area real estate. He still maintains a residence in Oakland, Calif.

Interview by Mike Woitalla, Executive Editor

SOCCER AMERICA: You're the club president, but I understand you also run practices ...

DMITRY PITERMAN: I'm president and manager. I train the team everyday. I give pre-game and halftime talks.

I compare it to any normal company with a CEO and high executives. I wouldn't imagine that at Microsoft Bill Gates doesn't meet with the 20 most important brains of his company. The 20-25 players on a team are high executives who get a tremendous amount of money. A lot of times in European soccer the president only says hello to the players and writes the checks.

Most presidents in Spain handle things in a very amateur way. Or if not amateur, then hierarchical - president, vice president, sports director, first coach, second coach, third coach ... The higher the pyramid, the less stable it is -- especially in soccer, where everyone has his own likes and dislikes, his own tastes, his own system of playing.

SA: What's Alaves' goal this season?

DP: To win La Liga. I always try to set maximum goals. I don't think it's impossible. Three years ago, Real Sociedad, a club about the same size as Alaves, finished second to Real Madrid [by two points] on the last day of the season.

You need luck and hard work. They say luck is proportional to the amount of sweat you're willing to put into any given project.

After I bought the club, I signed 12 new players a month before the season. I got them together, got them adapted. I got them to understand the sport concept of the club and the business philosophy that I have. And we won promotion to La Liga.

SA: Have you considered getting involved with American soccer?

DP: I will do something in the United States. We have a few things I'm working on right now. I can't make them public yet. I would like to have some kind of cooperation between Spain and the U.S.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
Guest Jeffery S.

The sad and worrying story of Dmitri continues with the political authorities in Alaba, the province where Alavés plays, retiring their economic support from the team, what was a million and a half Canadian in exchange for promotion of the region, a friendly match, other activities.

The reason is that Piterman has been publicly attacking his players for only average results, and this past week came out calling Lluís Carrerras, a long-time 1st and 2nd division player, "un catalán de mierda" (a fcking Catalan), adding the phrase, very graphic in Spanish, of "schitting on the tombs of your ancestors". The squad came out in support of the player, and then Piterman accused them in his usual fashion of being mercenaries, of not knowing what they were doing, of being ignorant of his role in trying to motivate them by means of insults. All political parties came out with a statement calling on the Spanish Sport Disciplinary Committee, the National Soccer League, the Royal Spanish Soccer Federation and the Anti-Violence in Sport Committee to open disciplinary action against Piterman for his "reiterated anti-sporting attitude, give that his actions could constitute an infraction as indicated in the Law of Sport and official Sport Discipline Reglamantation."

Given this track record, and his success in pissing off every single team and league he has ever been involved with, I think the USL is making a huge mistake and inviting serious problems by letting him into the club. As the only thing he contributes positively, being money, his money, is in the end his excuse for racist and abusive behaviour and constant conflict with sport authorities, players, coaches and fans.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...