Soccer

Republic FC renews affiliation with San Jose Earthquakes

Republic FC and the San Jose Earthquakes renewed their affiliation for the 2016 season, the clubs announced Wednesday.

The arrangement provides development opportunities in addition to the traditional loaning of players between the MLS and USL franchises.

“Our affiliation is just one aspect of the relationship we have built with the Earthquakes since we launched as a club,” said Republic FC President Warren Smith. “The past two years, the Earthquakes have been amazing to us, not only by loaning players, but also by being a partner in our growth as an organization and sharing our vision to build the game in Northern California.”

Affiliations between MLS and USL clubs are year by year. This is the third consecutive season Republic FC and the Earthquakes have been affiliated.

During Republic FC’s inaugural season in 2014, San Jose loaned four players to Sacramento, including Sacramento-area natives Adam Jahn and Tommy Thompson. Jahn, a forward from Jesuit High in Carmichael, played in 22 matches and scored seven goals – third most on the team – while Thompson, a midfielder-forward from Granite Bay High, made nine appearances as Republic FC went on to win the USL championship.

Thompson, midfielder JJ Koval and forward Mark Sherrod joined the team late last season and played huge roles in a pivotal 3-1 win Aug. 29 over Tulsa Roughnecks FC at Bonney Field that helped propel Sacramento to the playoffs. Thompson scored his first professional goal and assisted on another by Sherrod against Tulsa.

The trio made nine combined appearances as Republic FC went 3-0-2 in its final five regular-season matches.

“When those three players came in, they all had an impact,” said Republic FC coach Paul Buckle. “They provided a spark, and the other boys really got into it. It gave us a boost.”

Buckle has had a number of conversations with Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear during the offseason and expects the relationship between the two clubs will be even stronger in 2016.

“I feel we’ve got a brilliant relationship, and we’re both looking at how we can help them and how they can help us,” Buckle said. “I’m positive we can help each other this season.”

That relationship could allow Buckle to keep his roster lean initially so he has the flexibility to possibly sign players from overseas once their seasons come to a close in the spring.

The two clubs will meet in a friendly Feb. 20 at Bonney Field.

Bill Paterson: 916-326-5506, @SacBee_BillP

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