Fuego to be Honored in USL Hall of Fame

Dec 10, 2012 No Comments by

FRESNO, Calif. – The Fresno Fuego will be honored in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Hall of Fame as a 10+ Club after having completed 10 years in the Premier Development League (PDL), the USL announced. The Fuego joined the league in 2003 and have never endured a losing season, compiling an all-time franchise record of 96-45-23, three division titles and a 2011 trip to the conference final. Fuego General Manager Jeremy Schultz will accept the induction on the team’s behalf at the USL Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, Dec. 14 in Clearwater, Florida.

“The recognition as a 10+ Club for the Fuego represents the strong support from the community for the club since 2003,” Schultz said. “With our fans behind us, we have been able to see the Fuego compete at a high level year after year as well as watch players graduate from the Fuego to professional teams and furthering their soccer careers. We look forward to moving into the next decade of exciting Fresno Fuego soccer.”

The Fuego made plenty of noise when they first entered the PDL in 2003 as the club made the playoffs in each of their first three years of existence. In 2004 and 2007, the Fuego made it to the National Semifinals after winning the PDL’s Western Conference. In 2011, the Fuego reached new heights when they were named PDL Organization of the Year. The team enjoyed an undefeated regular season record (13-0-3) while also leading the PDL in attendance with 45,200 fans over 10 games.

Over the last 10 years, 14 Fuego players have signed professional contracts: Milton Blanco (Chivas USA, MLS), Nehemias Blanco (Alacranes Chalate FC in El Salvador), Pablo Campos (2012 NASL Player of the Year with the San Antonio Scorpions), Mike Chabala (DC United, MLS), Gaston Cignetti (Rochester Rhinos, USL A-League), Jose Cuevas (2012 USL Rookie of the Year with the Charleston Battery), Cody Ellison (Charleston Battery, USL), Devon Grousis (Phoenix, USL PRO), Cyprian Hedrick (Sporting Kansas City, MLS), Ryan Kenny (Rochester Rhinos, USL PRO), Paul Moran (Minnesota Thunder, USL First Division), Alberto Navarro (Atlanta Silverbacks, NASL), Amaury Nunes (San Antonio Scorpions, NASL) and Orlando Ramirez (San Jose Earthquakes, MLS).

Since moving to Chukchansi Park in 2006, the Fuego have been among the PDL’s leaders in attendance. The Fuego have finished in the top three in attendance in the entire league for each of the last six years, including leading the PDL in 2008 and 2011.

Joining the Fuego in the Hall of Fame Class of 2012 for 10+ Clubs are the BYU Cougars and West Virginia Chaos.

The USL will also induct 10 individuals who have proven to be highly influential in North American Soccer as part of the USL Hall of Fame Class of 2012. The USL Men’s Hall of Fame inductees include Bill Rudisill, Laurie Calloway, and Dustin Swinehart. John Pugh, Nino DePasquall, and Charlie Naimo will be inducted into the Women’s wing of the Hall of Fame. Also, Earl Foreman, Ron Newman, Hector Marinaro, and Slavisa “Steve” Zungul will be inducted into the MISL wing.



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