SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that the club has signed a two-year USL affiliate partnership with Reno 1868 FC beginning in the 2017 season. The partnership agreement allows the Earthquakes expanded opportunities for player development, talent identification and rehabilitation assignments, while managing the technical direction of Reno 1868 FC.
"We are excited to partner with Reno 1868 FC as our USL affiliate to strengthen our player development system," said Earthquakes President Dave Kaval. "Sacramento Republic FC has been a tremendous partner over the past two seasons and we wish them great success. The affiliation with Reno 1868 allows our club to have control over all aspects of the technical side of the club, which is critical for our overall player development strategy. We plan to put a very competitive team on the field next season and beyond for the Reno community."
Reno 1868 FC is an expansion team that will commence play in the United Soccer League in March of 2017. The team is owned and operated by Herb Simon, who also owns the Reno Aces of the Pacific Coast League, the NBA's Indiana Pacers, the NBA D-League Fort Wayne Mad Ants and the WNBA's Indiana Fever. The club will play home matches at Greater Nevada Field, also home to the Aces, and features a natural grass surface.
"We are thrilled to join sides with one of the charter members of MLS in San Jose," said Reno 1868 FC President Eric Edelstein. "We look forward to seeing talented players from the first team and seeing the next generation of Earthquakes players, while also having our fan base learn and grow from the Quakes' passionate supporters."
The San Jose Earthquakes will lead all aspects of soccer operations, while Reno will oversee the business side, including corporate partnerships, ticket sales and marketing. Reno's color scheme features Nevada cobalt blue, silver grey, and light gold. The team unveiled both the official crest and 2017 kit in recent weeks, which can be found on the team's official website.
"Our affiliation with Reno ensures there is no gap in the club's development pyramid and offers our players a team at every level from youth to professional," said Earthquakes technical director Chris Leitch. "Having a fully-integrated USL team will also allow the Earthquakes to expand their professional player roster beyond the 28 at the MLS level and provides the opportunity for rehab assignments and minutes to maintain both fitness and form."
The affiliation completes the Earthquakes' organizational pyramid. At the bottom is the Earthquakes' recreational Elite Player Development for ages 4-11, followed by the Earthquakes Pre-Academy from U-9 to U-16. Above that is the recently-expanded Earthquakes Academy, which is a fully-funded member of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy at the U-12, U-13, U-14, U-16 and U-18 levels, and the Quakes' U-23 PDL affiliate Burlingame Dragons FC. The affiliation now gives San Jose a fully-controlled USL squad between Dragons FC and the First Team.