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By Gina Valencia

Photos submitted by Shoreline United Football Club

Once a 49er…. 

While graduate students at Cal State Long Beach, each of the young men who founded the Shoreline United Football Club had a similar, almost immediate, connection with the city. 

“Everyone was very inclusive and friendly,” said Sebastian De Smedt, who moved to Long Beach from Belgium in 2017 to attend college. “And that is exactly what I want for our team to be as well. To grow into a club that provides everyone the opportunity to play soccer, includes everyone and not only becomes part of the Long Beach community, but also gives back in any way possible.”

The Beautiful Game  

Sebastian’s love for Long Beach and for soccer is what connected him with his grad school classmates and inspired them to bring a semi-professional soccer club to the city last year.

Sebastian, who is the club’s Director of Strategy and Operations, met Willie L. Alexander III, Brandon Brum, and Shahob Mehr while in the Graduate Sport Management program at Cal State, and all bonded over their passion for the world’s sport. The four became fast friends and shared a desire to continue their involvement with soccer, a sport they have all played since childhood. 

“Long Beach has a rich sports history and tradition,” said Willie, Community Outreach and Digital Marketer for the club. Willie, who moved to Long Beach in 2012 from Fresno on a track and field scholarship, got his soccer fix by attending games as a spectator until he was able to return to the football pitch after graduation. “We all love Long Beach [for the opportunity] to merge our passions.”  

From Dreamers to Doers

“What started as classmates talking about one day wanting to own a team [developed into] creating a team,” said Shahob, who transferred from the Bay Area to Cal State in 2014. “One day we sat together for coffee… and [dove] into the idea further,” said Shahob, who oversees Public Relations and Communications with Shoreline United. “So, we said, Why not us?” 

The city’s lack of a semi-pro or pro-soccer team is the perfect reason as to why they should have one, according to Brandon, another Bay Area transfer and in charge of Fan-Experiences and Sponsorships. 

“Soccer is the biggest, most popular sport on the planet, and [Long Beach] is the perfect market for a grassroots sports team to thrive,” said Brandon. 

For each of them, soccer has represented more than an extracurricular activity. Anyone who has ever fallen in love with a sport understands the perks of belonging to a team. From making lifelong friendships, to the physical and mental health benefits, the friends all tout their affinity for soccer as part of their identity. 

Passion For The Sport & Our City 

“That passion I have for soccer and sports in general, is a huge part of what makes me, me and I don’t know the person I would be today without it,” said Brandon. 

Everything – from local sponsors to the team’s name, colors, and logo – have been chosen with the LBC in mind, the city they all consider a second home. “Sports in Long Beach? Legends [on 2nd Street] must be involved! They were our first sponsor,” Willie shares.

The opportunity to create their passion project into a reality for a city of sports fans, thrills the four friends. 

“We’re all about community: diverse, vibrant, fun, energetic, and we want to reflect the city vibe and make sure the team embodies the spirit of Long Beach,” Willie said.

“Shoreline United Football Club gives me the opportunity to apply all the knowledge and passion I have for the sport,” said Sebastian. “Which has been a dream come true and that excites me a lot.”


For information about their upcoming season, as well as team involvement, connections, and sponsorship opportunities, check out their sites, or email them at

IG: @shorelineunitedfc



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