Fresno native Elliott Hord made his first start for Sacramento Republic FC over the weekend, playing 77 minutes at right back in a scoreless draw against Vancouver Whitecaps 2.
Hord, whose debut came three days earlier as a late substitute, earned praise from Republic FC coach Paul Buckle following Republic’s Saturday match in the United Soccer League.
I think we found a real player there.
Republic FC coach Paul Buckle on the debut of Fresno native Elliott Hord
“I thought Elliott at right back was fantastic for his debut,” Buckle said. “Very good going forward, clever, intelligent. Understood when to deliver and when to play, and I really liked him. I thought there were a lot of pluses tonight.”
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The Bullard High graduate and former Fresno Fuego defender relished his first start in front of a sellout crowd of 11,569 fans at Bonney Field. Friends, family and former teammates were in the crowd.
“It was big, it was emotional,” Hord said. “When I came off the field, it was pretty emotional because it was a big step for me. I still have a lot to prove, but I think I kind of proved myself a little bit tonight.”
Republic FC has won seven in a row and sits atop the Western Conference table with a two-point lead on Rio Grande Valley and four matches to play.
Ref honored – Fresno native and former FIFA assistant referee Levon Baladjanian was inducted into the California Soccer Association North Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Baladjanian, who turns 58 in September, was recognized for his 18 years of work as an assistant referee starting in the mid-1970s. He started by officiating four to six under-10 and under-12 matches every day, then worked his way up to sport’s highest levels.
Referees are not born, but they are developed from a single strand of love of the game and a hope to see it played the right way.
Fresno native Levon Baladjanian on his selection for the California Soccer Association North Hall of Fame
“I visualize all the great people that I was in contact with on both the official and personal level that went into my career,” he said in a pre-induction statement. “I think it is safe to say referees are not born, but they are developed from a single strand of love of the game and a hope to see it played the right way.”
Highlights included being assigned to the 1990 San Jose Cup championship game between Real Madrid and FC Cologne and the inaugural match for Major League Soccer in 1996.
He was chosen for the FIFA Assistant Referee panel in 1995, starting an international career that included the Japan vs. South Korea World Cup qualifier in November 1997.
Baladjanian, who retired as a referee in 1999, is co-owner and CFO of GSF Properties.
Clovis kicks off – Two second-half goals spoiled the inaugural match for the Clovis Community College women’s soccer team.
The Crush played a scoreless first half before losing 2-0 to host Sierra College.
On the men’s side, the Crush settled for a 1-1 draw against Lake Tahoe at the Tahoe Tournament in their inaugural match. Clovis then dropped 2-1 decisions to Contra Costa and Lassen.
The Crush men play their home opener at 1 p.m. Tuesday against Siskiyous. The women visit Bakersfield on Friday, then host Siskiyous at 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Rams sweep – Fresno City men’s and women’s teams won their openers last week.
The women’s team cruised 3-0 against American River on goals from Kristin Thompson, Leila Monzon and Kimberly Montoya.
Jonathan Rodriguez’s four goals led the men past Contra Costa 9-3.
Sunbirds opener arrives – Fresno Pacific’s men will begin their PacWest title defense Thursday at Stanislaus State.
The Sunbirds, picked to finish first in the PacWest preseason poll, will open at home at 7 p.m. Saturday against Cal State Monterey Bay.
Fresno Pacific’s women will play their home and season opener at 7:30 p.m. Monday against Stanislaus State.
Bulldogs still winless – Fresno State, off a 3-0 loss last week to No. 20 Pepperdine, visits Portland State on Friday.
Sophomore Nicole Theroux had eight saves in her first start for the Bulldogs (0-3). Fresno State was a player down, after Sara Jo Ciapponi received two yellow cards, when the Waves (3-0) capped the scoring with goals in the 77th and 81st minutes.
A look at upcoming matches for Fresno-area college soccer teams.
Fresno State at Portland State, 1 p.m. Friday
Fresno State at UC Davis, 1 p.m. Sunday
Fresno Pacific vs. Stanislaus State, 7 p.m. Monday
Fresno Pacific at Stanislaus State, 7 p.m. Thursday
Fresno Pacific vs. Cal State Monterey Bay, 7 p.m. Saturday
Clovis at Bakersfield, 7 p.m. Friday
Fresno City vs. Rio Hondo^, 7 p.m. Friday
West Hills-Lemoore vs. Lassen%, 7 p.m. Friday
Fresno City vs. Moorpark^, 11 a.m. Saturday
West Hills-Lemoore at Lake Tahoe%, 11 a.m. Saturday
Sequoias vs. TBA, Saturday
Sequoias vs. Citrus, 10 a.m. Sunday
Clovis vs. Siskiyous, 11 a.m. Tuesday
^-Nike Soccer Community College Showcase at Ventura College
%-Lake Tahoe Tournament
#-Oxnard SeaBreeze Tournament
West Hills-Lemoore at De Anza, 2 p.m. Friday
Sequoias at Hancock, 4 p.m. Friday
Fresno City vs. San Diego Mesa*, 5 p.m. Friday
Fresno City vs. TBA*, 2 p.m. Saturday
Fresno City vs. TBA*, 2 p.m. Sunday
Clovis vs. Siskiyous, 1 p.m. Tuesday
Sequoias at Bakersfield, 7 p.m. Tuesday
*-at Hartnell Tournament