It’s been 12 years since Fresno State fielded an NCAA men’s soccer program and it’s not expected to return anytime soon. But that hasn’t stopped a group from continuing the tradition of a Bulldogs soccer program that once rolled with the nation’s best.
The Fresno State Football Club plays against other colleges in the West Coast Soccer Association. It’s a club sport, so teams are comprised of students who want to keep playing or, at schools with an NCAA program, are student-athletes in their redshirt seasons, according to coach Darren Holden.
Obviously, it’s only the former at Fresno State.
“The biggest thing for our boys is they want to be a part of something long term, something that builds towards a future,” Holden said. “To say we don’t care about NCAA and we’re just a club program, that wouldn’t reflect the true feelings of this team.”
Holden said he and some players met with university officials last year to discuss the return of an NCAA program.
“There was no promise on their end at all, but we gave a commitment to go forward,” Holden said.
Fresno State Football Club ended last season on a 7-0 run to make the playoffs but was eliminated in the postseason on penalty kicks. This year, the club was bumped into the WCSA’s Division I after multiple seasons in Division II.
The club also got a boost from Fresno State, which recently installed a new sports field behind the Wathen Tennis Center for its club sports teams.
“The players understand that if we start a tradition of success, it allows us to look at that opportunity down the road. People like to win and are supportive of winning programs. Getting a winning program, and then a boosters club, would be an elementary step,” Holden said.
On Saturday, FSFC will play an exhibition against the Fresno Fuego at Chukchansi Park. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Fuego players will wear pink jerseys that will be sold after the match in a silent auction, with proceeds donated to the cancer-fighting organization Susan G. Komen Central Valley.
It is the first of two fall exhibitions for the Fuego, which hosts the National Premier Soccer League’s CD Aguiluchos USA of Oakland on Nov. 5.
Tickets can be purchased at bit.ly/FuegoTickets.
FCC men unbeaten – Fresno City College beat West Hills 5-2 on the road in a Central Valley Conference match Tuesday, stretching its unbeaten streak to 17 matches for the regular season.
The Rams (13-0-4, 3-0-1 CVC) went down 1-0 before Jose Aguilera leveled the score in the 33rd minute. In the second half, Noe Prieto and Jonathan Rodriguez scored two goals apiece in a 15-minute window to lift Fresno to its fourth win in a row.
The Rams host Clovis Community College at 4 p.m. Friday. The Crush (7-5-5, 1-2-1) are unbeaten in their past seven matches.
▪ On the women’s side, the Clovis Crush (6-2-5, 4-1 CVC) will host the Rams (11-3-2, 4-0-1) in a battle between the CVC’s top two teams at 4 p.m. Friday.
The Crush have won four in a row since their 2-0 conference-opening loss to Fresno City on Oct. 7. The Rams, meanwhile, are 1-1-1 over their past three matches, including a a scoreless draw against defending CVC champ Taft (4-7-3, 2-1-1) on Tuesday.
Et cetera – Cal Poly Pomona junior forward Luis Najera Jr. (Tulare Western) was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association Player of the Week after scoring a goal in 1-0 win over Cal State Los Angeles and another in a 2-1 victory against Cal State Dominguez Hills.
▪ Fresno Pacific junior forward Rachelle Schiller was named the PacWest Conference Player of the Week, registering a goal and an assist in a 4-0 win over Academy of Art and adding an assist in a 5-0 victory against Holy Names.
▪ The Fresno State women’s team closes the season at home against San Jose State at 7 p.m. Thursday. The Bulldogs (9-8-1, 4-5-1 Mountain West Conference) will honor seniors Alyssa Holsworth, Kaitlyn Crooker and Amanda Nunes.