Fresno Football Club, the city’s professional soccer franchise affiliated with the United Soccer League, announced Tuesday afternoon that it would cease operations in Fresno.
In a statement issued by club owner Ray Beshoff, the investor group behind Fresno FC “will almost certainly be relocating the team.”
Sources at City Hall told The Sun that the likely landing spot for Fresno FC is Monterey, but no official acknowledgement from the team or league.
Beshoff explained that it was his dream to bring professional soccer to Fresno, dating back to the day he took ownership of Fresno’s Mercedes-Benz dealership.
“In bringing soccer to Fresno, I imagined the community would take great pride and unite behind a worthy cause,” he said in his statement. “Most frustratingly, perhaps, the past two years have only furthered that belief.”
Until its cessation of operations Tuesday, the Foxes played their matches in a converted Chukchansi Park.
In early 2019, the club began working with City officials to secure a location for a soccer-specific stadium.
The primary alternatives owned by the City were a parking lot located behind Chukchansi Park and the Selland Arena site and its parking lot.
However, the club reported that both sites needed additional space for parking and operations and hit roadblocks in securing that extra space.
One city-owned site beyond downtown that held some promise was Granite Park. However, legal complications over the city’s lease and operations contract with the Central Valley Community Sports Foundation and its president, Terance Frazier, led to the idea being nixed.
In the past month, the club and City have been engaged in a blame game over responsibility for maintaining professional soccer in the city.
Repeatedly, the club called into question political support from City Hall.
The City, led by Mayor Lee Brand and his administration, reiterated that it was not in the soccer business, learning costly lessons from other City-backed ventures into professional sports.
This story will be updated.