Photo courtesy of Future FC Instagram
Located in the city of Corona, Future FC is a club that was rebranded from the Blues Youth Soccer Club years ago. Head coach Shayon Jalayer headed the rebrand transition to its current formation of FFC.
After the rebrand, coach Shay has taken on the role of the adult amateur women’s side. The purpose of this program is for college-age athletes (or younger) to continue their fitness outside of their college seasons in an amateur league.
The league they compete in is the United Premier Soccer League or UPSL. Future FC competes in the league’s women’s division which runs twice a year, broken into the fall and spring, including the postseason. The UPSL is broken down into regions where Future FC competes in the SoCal division facing teams from LA, San Diego, and Orange County.
Starting their first campaign in COVID-weary 2021, Future FC has been a force to be wrecking with. They finished 2nd place in that inaugural start of the UPSL Women’s division with seven wins. Then the following season, in 22′, they finished in first place with only one tie and nine wins in a 10-game season. That season FFC won the SoCal regular season title, a club first.
The 2022 UPSL W season was the first to have a postseason against three other SoCal teams in a single-round playoff bracket. They cruised the playoffs without allowing a single goal in the semifinals and finals as they were crowned SoCal champions. They finished the entire season without losing a single game, a perfect season.
Coach Shay and the Future FC team awaited this 2023 season with new and challenging squads in the region to defend their title. Sure enough, they start their season with a bang. A 6-0 smashing of Empire Surf in match week one and a 2-0 & 3-0 win in the following weeks launched them to first place without allowing a goal.
After three clean sheets, they got a 2-1 win, which snapped the clean-sheet streak, but they have yet to lose a game. Since then, they have been winning games by 1 goal margins but winning nonetheless.
Eventually, they again finished the regular season undefeated with nine wins in 9 games to defend their title and be crowned SoCal regular season champions, a slight improvement from the following season.
The postseason arrangement was announced, and like the previous season, the top four teams competed against each other for the SoCal championship. FFC’s first victim was Sporting FC, and the ladies from Corona smashed them 5-1 to reach the final against AMSG in Lake Forest.
There in the final match, both teams finished the 90 minutes scoreless. A nail-biting moment for FFC as AMSG were spoiling their perfect season, threatening their back-to-back campaign. It got to the sudden death moment of penalty kicks, and Future FC came on top 4-3 in the shootout.
For the second time in a row, FFC crowned UPSL W SoCal champions, twice undefeated, as the team and staff cheered in celebration.
Tara Oper, a collegiate player from Cal Poly Pomona, scored ten goals overall to be placed as the team’s top goal scorer in her first season for FFC. She joined FFC to help herself grow as a person and player. “Scoring was definitely part of my expectations; I really wanted to keep growing with my confidence to better prepare for the college season.” Tara contributes her successful season to her parents, the coaching staff, and teammates. “My other expectation was to grow as a person… the girls and coaches helped me learn new things than what I’m used to in college”.
The moral of personal growth is the goal of Coach Shay and the rest of the FFC staff. “In terms of our goals prior to the start of the season, we, as a staff, coach Lindsay, Jesse Hardiman, and Sydney Studer, were to create an environment that was safe for the players.”
“[To] create a holistic environment where the players were looked after, physically, mentally and emotionally. To create an environment that contributed to their development as people and players.”
A team goal that was placed a higher priority than winning the league back-to-back. “Did we talk about championships? I think we have standards and expectations, but I don’t think we harped on repeating as a champion, just trying to do the best we could day in and day out.”
According to Coach Shay, one of the team’s core values is that people and relationships come first. “You can’t get the best out of your players if they aren’t in the right state of mind. We try to create this culture of trust to talk to others or staff. The key component to success is to get your culture right”.