Fresno Fuego

Fresno Fuego

Football club infobox
clubname = Fresno Fuego


fullname = Fresno Fuego Futbol Club
nickname = Fuego
founded = 2003
ground = Chukchansi Park
capacity = 12,500
chairman = flagicon|Mexico J. Alfredo Guzman
manager = flagicon|USA Scott Alcorn
league = USL Premier Development League
season = 2008
position = 2nd, Southwest Division
Playoff Conference Semifinals

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Fresno Fuego are an American soccer team, founded in 2003 after the franchise rights were transferred to them from former 2-time PDL champions, the Central Coast Roadrunners. The team is a member of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL), the fourth tier of the American Soccer Pyramid, and plays in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference against teams from Bakersfield, Calabasas, Glendora, Irvine, La Mirada, Lancaster, San Francisco, San Jose and Ventura.

They play their home games at Chukchansi Park in the city of Fresno, California, and have a successful cross-promotional partnership with the Fresno Grizzlies AAA baseball team, the first of its kind in the PDL. The team's home colors are red and black. Their away colors are all white.

2008 Roster

Year-by-year

Honors

* USL PDL Western Conference Champions 2007
* USL PDL Southwest Division Champions 2007
* USL PDL Western Conference Champions 2004
* USL PDL Southwest Division Champions 2003

Competition History

Fuego made their debut in PDL competition in 2003, having picked up the franchise rights from the former PDL champions, the Central Coast Roadrunners from San Luis Obispo. Playing on the campus of San Joaquin Memorial High School, Fresno made a blistering start to their first campaign, scoring eight goals in back-to-back wins over Nevada Wonders, California Gold and Orange County Blue Star, with striker Orlando Ramirez impressing. Fresno's impressive early season form also saw them qualify for the US Open Cup, where they made it all the way to the fourth round with victories over Chico Rooks, Utah Blitzz and El Paso Patriots, before they finally fell 3-1 to Los Angeles Galaxy. Fresno's home form was superb during their first season, losing just one game - a 3-2 turnaround to California Gold - the entire year. Fuego's Latin American connection, led by Ramirez and Fabricio Codeceira was hugely influential, and by the end of their debut year they were sitting proudly atop the Southwest table, ahead of Orange County Blue Star on goal difference. The playoffs were a disappointment; after defeating Northwest champions Spokane Shadow, Fresno fell to Blue Star in the conference final.

2004 saw the Fuego move to a new home at Fresno Pacific University, but the change did not affect their on-field performances, which included two 5-1 thrashings of the San Diego Gauchos, and nine-goal haul over 2 games against California Gold. Orlando Ramirez, Edgardo Contreras, Jose Luis Espindola and Milton Blanco continued their free-scoring exploits, and by the end of the 18-game season they finished just four points behind divisional champs Orange County Blue Star, and for the second year in a row made the playoffs. This time, however, Fuego took the conference title after wins over Cascade Surge and Blue Star. However, progress on the national stage eluded them, a 3-0 defeat to central conference champs Boulder Rapids Reserve ending their dreams of the PDL title. Nevertheless, two straight trips to the playoffs was impressive for a 2-year franchise.

2005 saw expansion in the Southwest, and Fresno suffered a little. Despite a opening strongly with 3 wins in their first 4 games, a mid-season slump saw them drop points against the Southern California Seahorses, California Gold and BYU Cougars. As a result, the gap between them and the divisional leaders - Blue Star and Seahorses - was too great, and despite winning 5 of their last 6 games - and scoring 15 goals in the process - they eventually finished third in the table. Veteran Edgardo Contreras and new signing Amaury Nunes were the top marksmen, knocking in 8 goals each, while Brazilian Fabricio Codeceira was a midfield dynamo, registering 7 assists for the season. Once again, Fresno's playoff campaign was a short one, falling to Orange County Blue Star in the first game.

2006 was more difficult still for Fuego. First of all, they found themselves without a permanent home stadium, and instead were forced to travel all over the city - to Golden West High School and Central High School amongst others - in search of a pitch on which to play. Secondly, even more expansion in the division raised the level of competition considerably. Fresno stuttered inconsistently through their opening games, beating San Diego Gauchos 5-2, then losing 4-0 to Los Angeles Storm, thrashing San Diego 4-0, then losing 4-1 to the expansion San Francisco Seals. Fabricio Codeceira and Amaury Nunes remained potent in front of goal, netting 18 times between them, but their spotty form was their downfall, and by the end of the season head coach Scott Alcorn's men were a distant fifth behind league leaders Orange County Blue Star and Southern California Seahorses.

2007 saw a huge change in fortunes for the Fuego. Before the season began the team signed a partnership with the AAA baseball franchise, the Fresno Grizzlies, resulting in cross-promotion, publicity, and a new home: Chukchansi Park in the heart of downtown Fresno. Buoyed by fan support which reached 3,000 spectators at home games, Fuego were resurgent: impressive early-season wins over the Southern California Seahorses and the San Fernando Valley Quakes kept them in the hunt for the playoffs, and their impressive home form meant that, by the end of the year, they were one of the four teams battling for the two playoff spots. A final day 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Seals gave them the divisional title over the San Fernando Valley Quakes on goal difference; prolific Brazilian striker Pablo Campos scored two of his 18 goals, and cemented his position as the league-leading goalscorer. The playoffs, which were hosted by Fresno at Chukchansi, saw them demolish Tacoma Tide 4-1, and then knock off Northwest champs BYU Cougars to take their second conference title; but once again their national challenge saw them fall at the first hurdle, losing 1-0 to eventual PDL national champions Laredo Heat.

Notable former players

* Milton Blanco
* Pablo Campos
* Mike Chabala
* Eddie Gutierrez
* Paul Moran

Coaches

* Jaime Ramirez 2005-06
* Scott Alcorn 2007-date

tadia

* Stadium at San Joaquin Memorial High School, Fresno, California 2003
* Stadium at Fresno Pacific University, Fresno, California 2003-05
* Chukchansi Park, Fresno, California 2006-date
* Stadium at Golden West High School, Visalia, California 2006 (2 games)
* Stadium at Central High School, Fresno, California 2006 (5 games)

Average Attendance

*2008: 3,384 (3rd highest in PDL)
*2007: 3,068 (2nd highest in PDL)
*2006: 1,147 (5th highest in PDL)
*2005: 345

External links

* [http://www.fresnofuego.com/ Fresno Fuego]


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