Written by Bridget Butler-Sullivan
Fresno will officially be home to the newest professional soccer team in the country: Fresno Football Club.
The United Soccer League (USL) made the official agreement this afternoon at Chukchansi Park, where USL President Jake Edwards welcomed the team’s lead investor Ray Beshoff to the league.
“Fresno is a strong and vibrant market for soccer. It’s one of the best in the country,” said Beshoff, a partner in Mercedes-Benz of Fresno.
The team’s general manager and former professional coach and player, Frank Yallop, unveiled the Fresno Football Club crest during the conference. As he described, the crest is really meant to symbolize Fresno.
The colors come from the city’s flag, and the ash leaves represent the literal translation of Fresno in Spanish.
“We wanted to make sure we included the city and the Central Valley into it,” he said.
Fresno Football Club will be playing at Chukchansi Park along with the Fresno Fuego during their two-year contract at the stadium. Within those years, they plan to find property in the area for a new stadium as well as a training site, Yallop said.
The team will officially begin playing in March 2018, and will have a coach sometime between August and September. They will also be holding a local open trial for those in the area interested in playing for the team, he added.
“We are very aware that there is a lot of talent in this area,” Yallop said.
Yallop, a current business owner in the area, has put many years into developing this project.
“He has a passion for this sport, and a passion for this community. He has an exciting vision for this team and is doing a great job executing it,” commented USL CEO Alec Papadakis.
As put by Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, “Fresno is on track to be the destination point for soccer fans in the United States.”
Correction: An original version of this article stated that Ray Beshoff was a partner in BMW Fresno. He’s actually an owner of Mercedes-Benz of Fresno.