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Gateway to Professional Soccer

Dutch Lions FC announces new club in Oceanside

Dayton, January 22, 2021

The Dutch Lions FC organization today announced the launch of Oceanside Dutch Lions FC in California, their 8th soccer club in the USA. The club will have a Women’s team competing in the Women’s Professional Soccer League (WPSL), the second highest level of play for women in the country, and also offer camps, clinics, and skill training during the season with their coaching staff, players and high-level coaches coming in from Europe every year. The club is also looking to build partnerships with local youth soccer clubs to provide a “Gateway to Professional Soccer.”

Nikhil Erlebach is the Oceanside Dutch Lions FC CEO & General Manager. He was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany and grew up playing soccer for the youth academy of Bundesliga club FC St. Pauli. Erlebach has strong ties to California, where he moved in 2004 to play college soccer in the Big West Conference for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He worked as a youth soccer coach and in club administration for FC United in Chicago as well as Eagles Soccer Club in Camarillo, California. “I am very happy we were able to bring Dutch Lions FC to Oceanside. The organization has proven over the years that its model provides a great platform for young players to bridge the gap from youth and college to professional soccer in the States and Europe,” Erlebach states. In his time playing college and coaching youth soccer in California, he saw first-hand the great level of soccer talent in the area. Erlebach is dedicated to “provide additional opportunities for young players to take their game to the next level and make great memories while doing so in Oceanside.” He concludes: “We already look forward to connecting to the communities in North County via the beautiful game.” Erlebach is also active as an agent and player intermediary in Germany.

According to Mike Mossel, CEO of the Dutch Lions Capital Group USA LLC, Oceanside is great addition to the Dutch Lions FC organization “We have been looking at expanding to the West Coast for several years, in our objective to build an infrastructure in the USA while providing soccer players the chance to become professional. Either domestically or in Europe. Oceanside has proven to be a fantastic soccer market,” Mossel says. He further states that “in Europe there is a shortage of good female players, while women’s soccer is growing rapidly.” Dutch Lions FC has had five players from their women’s team in Dayton sign contracts in Europe, and the organization would like to increase that number. Also, USWNT player Rose Lavelle played two years for the Dayton Dutch Lions FC Women’s team. “I am very excited to work with our Oceanside Dutch Lions FC Director of Soccer Operations, Mario (Fernandez), and CEO/General Manager, Nikhil (Erlebach), on this project. I would also like to thank the WPSL for the great assistance in starting our new club,” Mossel states in conclusion.

Mario Fernandez has been assigned as the Director of Soccer Operations and WPSL Head Coach for Oceanside Dutch Lions FC. He grew up playing soccer all over San Diego and especially North County. Then he continued his playing career at Cal Poly SLO where he also got introduced to Nikhil Erlebach. After playing soccer abroad in Spain and Italy, Fernandez returned to the USA to coach in the MLS academy of the San Jose Earthquakes. “This project allows for me to give back to a community where I spent my childhood developing my passion for the game,” Fernandez states. According to him, what separates the Dutch Lions Organization from others is the successful track record of authentically impacting a community with healthy relationships. “That is the most important thing for me,” says Fernandez. He concludes: “I look forward to developing players at multiple levels and bringing an incredible soccer experience to the community I grew up in.” Fernandez unique background makes for a great blend of someone local with valuable experience in soccer abroad. He holds UEFA B and USSF B Coaching Licenses as well as a US Soccer Grassroots Instructor License and is also an active member of the United Soccer Coaches Latino Advocacy Group.

WPSL President Sean Jones commented on the expansion team: “We are very excited for the Dutch Lions Capital Group to expand their exciting style of soccer to the Oceanside area.  The Dutch Lions have a proven track record and will be a great addition to the PAC South Conference for the 2021 season.”

Oceanside Dutch Lions FC will announce their full 2021 coaching staff and try-out dates for the team in the coming weeks. You can find more information on and follow the club on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. For more information, please contact Nikhil Erlebach at