Two Fresno Fuego players are in Sacramento to help Republic FC in its push for the 2016 United Soccer League championship.
Fuego forward and top-ranked Premier Development League prospect Christian Chaney signed with Republic FC, the club announced Friday.
The 22-year-old, who scored 13 goals in 12 matches with Fresno, arrived last weekend in Sacramento to train with the team before reaching an agreement for the remainder of the USL season.
Also in Sacramento is right back Elliott Hord, who started 11 matches for a Fuego defense that had seven shutouts. Hord, who turns 25 on Saturday, was a Fresno Bee All-Star when he prepped at Bullard High and played four years of college ball at UC Davis. He is on a trial with Sacramento and is expected to reach a deal later this week, he said.
Republic FC (9-6-7) has eight matches remaining in the regular season and is fourth in the Western Conference with 34 points, three behind leaders Colorado Springs and Vancouver entering Saturday. The top eight teams in the Western and Eastern conferences advance to the playoffs.
“It feels amazing” Chaney said “All the hard work paid off. I’m one step closer to my dream.”
Chaney missed a Fuego match earlier this season while on an invitation to train with Sacramento. He finished the PDL season with Fuego and had a goal in their 3-2 extra-time loss to Burlingame in the first round of the playoffs and was one of three finalists selected for league MVP.
I have to take what I know into the next level.
Christian Chaney, a Fresno Fuego star who signed with United Soccer League club Sacramento Republic FC
“Christian proved himself as a perfect opportunist at the PDL level, scoring enough goals to propel himself to the top of the scoring charts,” Republic FC Director of Football Graham Smith said in a statement.
Chaney’s 13 goals were second in the PDL behind leader Chevaughn Walsh’s 14, with Chaney playing two less matches than Walsh.
Hord and Chaney did not travel with Republic FC for its match Saturday at Saint Louis FC but instead stayed home to train. They were hanging out at Chaney’s apartment Friday afternoon, eager for the chance to continue as teammates while growing their games.
“I told Chaney when I got here that I was so excited to be together,” Hord said. “Just to be able to say that I have to go to training in the morning is a really, really cool feeling.”
Added Chaney: “I’m grateful for the shot I was given in Fresno, and to coach Brian (Zwaschka) and (Fuego general manager Jeremy) Schultz and everybody that helped to make everything happen the way it did. Now I have to take what I know into the next level.”