TAMPA - Fresno Fuego FC has been recognized as the 2017 PDL Franchise of the Year during the PDL Winter Summit in Tampa Florida. The award recognizes the club's commitment to excellence in all aspects, from on-the-field success and operations to marketing and community involvement. The 2017 season saw Fuego reach the Premier Development League's Western Conference final for the fifth time in franchise history. It was the club's second consecutive trip to the postseason under head coach Brian Zwaschka.
Goalkeeper Agustin Rey and forward Renato Bustamanate
Fuego ended its season as conference runner-up, falling 2-0 in the Western Conference final against Golden State Force FC on July 24 in Bakersfield. Fresno finished with an overall record of 11-3-2 and took second in the Southwest Division standings with 26 points. Conference champions Golden State Force FC won the division with 28 points. Fresno finished the 2017 regular season with a nine-game unbeaten streak that included seven consecutive victories. Defender Sergi Nus logged 1,071 minutes for Fresno and was instrumental in five shutouts to be named 2017 PDL All-League, earning the No. 17 spot in the final Top 20 Prospects list of the season. Midfielder Jose Cuevas was the team's leading scorer with 11 goals with Bustamante right behind him at nine. Nus and Cuevas were All-Western Conference selections for 2017, with Bustamante earning an honorable mention. Additionally, the club maintained its' position near the top of the attendance table at PDL level, averaging 3,912 fans during the 2017 season.
Defender Elijah Martin (left) congratulates leading goal scorer Jose Cuevas (right) during a home win over San Diego Zest
Fresno Fuego FC are four-time champions of the Southwest Division in the USL Premier Development League (PDL), the fourth tier of the American Soccer Pyramid and the top level of amateur soccer in North America.
Founded in 2003, the team competes in the Southwest Division of the PDL Western Conference. More than 50 Fuego players have moved on to sign professional contracts.