2017 Meet the Underdogs: Moreno Valley FC taking SoCal by storm, now the US Open Cup is next

Posted by | May 8, 2017
Since launching in 2015, Moreno Valley FC has become one of the best amateur teams in California. Photo: Moreno Valley FC

Since launching in 2015, Moreno Valley FC has become one of the best amateur teams in California. Photo: Moreno Valley FC

Moreno Valley, Calif. is a city in Riverside County, in the Greater Los Angeles area. The city is located adjacent to the City of Riverside, the county seat.

Moreno Valley FC is the defending USASA Region IV champion, which means that they’re the best California team outside of the USSF professional leagues, and are likely one of the best amateur teams in all of Region IV.

MVFC was formed in 2015 and took the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) by storm in their season debut, finishing first in their conference. The club was picked by the UPSL to represent the league at the Cal South State Cup, which is a qualifying tournament to the USASA Region IV Championship, which the club won.

“I decided to start a competitive team that would represent the city of Moreno Valley,” said owner Will Vicente. “I thank God for our players our fans and all of our supporters for all the support and dedication in this project so far. I hope that my dream would some day come true to have a professional soccer club in this part of the country.

With the Region IV tile under their belt, the club went on to compete for the USASA National Cup, where they fell to the eventual champion, Christos FC of Maryland. Moreno Valley finished fourth in the National Cup, after falling to Legends FC of North Texas, 2-1.

“Mo Val,” as the club is called, competes in the UPSL where they’re regularly tested by traditional regional powerhouses like La Máquina and Strikers South Coast, and who they’ve had success against, both in league and in this year’s Cal South State Cup title defense.

Moreno Valley FC won the USASA Region IV championship in its second year as a club. Photo: Moreno Valley FC.

Moreno Valley FC won the USASA Region IV championship in its second year as a club. Photo: Moreno Valley FC.

The club recently defended their title successfully against second place UPSL club Santa Ana Winds FC, and they were set for a title defense against Eric Wynalda’s LA Wolves in the State Cup on May 7 but the game was postponed due to lightning.

MVFC standouts include their captain and ex-Cal Baptist University player, Carlos Figueroa, who led them to their Region IV title, and Brazilian national Jadilson Viera, who played for Tottenham and West Ham from ages 14-16, and for Italian club Varese from ages 17-21. He arrived at MVFC after a season playing for the NPSL’s Boston City.

Moreno Valley FC made their way to the first round of this year’s Open Cup by cruising through a pair of qualifiers against fellow UPSL clubs.

They blanked Ozzy’s Laguna, by a score of 6-0, with the mayor in attendance, Alex Anderson scored a pair of first half goals and it was smooth sailing from there. In the game that ended up being the clincher for the club’s first Open Cup berth, they beat High Desert Rush FC (part of the larger Rush Soccer organization), 5-1. Anderson scored two more and Jadilson Da Silva added a brace on a hot day in Victorville, Calif.

MVFC will make their US Open Cup debut in Round 1 against PDL power Ventura County Fusion on May 10.