The Fresno Bee announced today that it had received confirmation from USL that it has approved a Fresno expansion team to begin play in 2018. According to the story the team’s lead investor, Ray Beshoff, paid an expansion fee in excess of $5 million.
The announcement does not exactly come out of thin air. Talk of Fresno getting a USL team has been around for at least the last year or so, most notably with a Davis Enterprise article this past March.
There is no name, branding, or personnel associated with the team yet, but according to the Bee a formal announcement with all those details is expected later this summer.
One name that immediately springs to mind is Fresno Fuego, the name of the city’s current PDL team that has faced Sacramento Republic on numerous occasions. The Bee’s article, however, shoots down that idea.
Beshoff said in the article that he is not ignoring the Fuego completely, though. Beshoff told the Bee that he is “working very hard” with the Fuego in order to “unify soccer in Fresno.”
Again, that unification does not seem to involve the elevation of the Fuego brand into USL, since Beshoff is quoted as saying that the group wants “to pick a name that the current Fuego fans and soccer fans will get behind,” and that “the name has a lot of meaning to a lot of people, but we may have to spin it.”
Beshoff is currently looking at three possible stadium sites: CSU Fresno’s Soccer & Lacrosse Field, Bulldog Stadium (CSU Fresno’s football stadium), and Chukchansi Park, current home of the Fuego.
What do you think about Republic getting yet another nearby opponent? Think this is the end of the Fuego? Sound off in the comments below!