BOCA RATON, Fla. — Boca Raton Football Club is jumping leagues.
The team, coached by Long Island native Jim Rooney, has left the National Premier Soccer League and will compete in the United Premier Soccer League this spring.
The club will play in the Southeast Conference Florida South Division, and will host home games at Atlantic Community High School, Delray Beach, FL 33445) and South County Regional Park (South County Regional Park, Boca Raton, FL 33498) in compliance with the league’s minimum standards.
“We are excited to welcome Boca Raton FC to Florida South Division. Boca Raton FC has proven itself on the field and is looking for a better way to showcase its talented players,” UPSL Southeast Conference Florida Division manager Christian Vallejos said. “Club president Douglas Heizer is committed to developing players and that’s the bedrock of our league. We think Boca Raton FC will be an excellent addition to UPSL Florida and wish them the best of success moving forward.”
In its inaugural season in 2015, Boca Raton FC steamrolled through the American Premier Soccer League en route to the club’s first title. The team won the APSL fall tournament as well. In 2016, Boca Raton FC repeated as spring and fall champions. Boca Raton FC is the only APSL team to have reached eight straight APSL Championship semifinals between the spring and fall seasons.
In 2017, Boca Raton joined the NPSL.
“We are thrilled to join UPSL,” Heizer said. “We have players that are ready to play, and the UPSL will give us the right platform for our players because the main goal of our club is to develop and move players on to real professional clubs and for colleges. The UPSL is the right competition for our players to showcase themselves. We will not be putting our academy team, these are going to be our best players because we’re going out there to win this competition, and our ultimate goal is to compete and return to the Lamar Hant U.S. Open Cup in 2020.”
Rooney, who played for the Long Island Rough Riders and MetroStars, will continue to coach the team. Rooney directed Boca Raton FC to a 10-10-2 record across all competitions in 2018, taking the team to its fourth consecutive APSL semifinals and growing a young team from scratch to recreate a winning culture within the organization.
As a player, he captained Major League Soccer’s Miami Fusion from 1999-2001, leading the Fusion to the Supporters Shield crown in 2001 and the U.S. Open Cup final in 2000. Rooney was an MLS all-star in 2001 and scored 21 times and added 22 assists in an MLS career that spanned six seasons and playing for the MetroStars, Fusion and New England Revolution.