Fresno Football Club was officially unveiled today as the newest member of the United Soccer League (USL), as the team owned by local businessman Ray Beshoff will play its inaugural season at Chukchansi Park.
Fresno Football Club joins Nashville as a 2018 expansion team in the USL. They’ll presumably join Las Vegas in the 2018 expansion ranks, though Vegas hasn’t been formally awarded a USL franchise yet.
“As professional soccer continues to grow in this country, the USL stands at the forefront, leading the sport’s next phase of expansion to fantastic markets like Fresno,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis. “Fresno is a vibrant community with passionate soccer fans, a strong corporate base, and a regional population of nearly one million people. Today’s announcement is another step toward the USL’s goal of becoming one of the best Division II professional soccer leagues in the world, on par with the English Championship, Liga Adelante and 2. Bundesliga. Our success is possible due to the league’s strong ownership group, one of the best in professional soccer, and we welcome Ray and his team to the family. We are thrilled to be a part of this community, and officially welcome another fantastic club to the USL.”
Chukchansi Park is home to the Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League, and Fresno Mayor Lee Brand says changes will be made to the ballpark to accommodate USL soccer — though the PDL’s Fresno Fuego has successfully played there the past few seasons. There are changes afoot at Chukchansi Park, with the Grizzlies in the process of being sold.
Also unveiled today: team colors. Frank Yallop — already announced as GM — showed off the team crest, shown above. It incorporates elements unique to Fresno’s identity, with colors drawn from the city flag, and an ash leaf above the team name. In a press statement, Yallop noted that Fresno in Spanish means ash tree and the logo was designed with that identification in mind. “It is a symbol for the community,” he said. “One we hope the community will be proud to wear.”
And, of course, there was the announcement that season tickets are now available at the team’s website, FresnoFC.com.