Fresno Football Club takes the field

Wednesday was another milestone for the Fresno Football Club as the Foxes held their first official practice.

Wednesday was another milestone for the Fresno Football Club as the Foxes held their first official practice.

FOX26 Sports Reporter Nick King explains why the Foxes are a big step up from the Fresno Fuego.

It's beginning to feel a lot like professional soccer in downtown Fresno... and professional is the key word there.

Foxes head coach Adam Smith said, "This is a big deal. PDL was a big deal, don't get me wrong I'm a big fan of PDL. But it's semi-professional, and this is a whole different level now. This is these guys' careers, this is their living, this is their livelihood, this is the staff's livelihood..."

The players are simply better and more experienced.

Foxes midfielder Rony Argueta said, "The pace moves a little quicker at the professional level. It's the pace and the mentality. The mentality of the player."

While the organization has more money and more staffing than a soccer team in Fresno has seen, as former Fuego star Christian Chaney quickly realized. "A lot more professional, you know. We come in, and the locker rooms are different, obviously, you see the gear we have, you know they changed everything around...the way they're treating us, the way they speak to us," said Chaney, a forward for the Foxes.

Chaney played for the Sacramento Republic last year, where Foxes head coach Adam Smith was the top assistant. Smith's hiring made Chaney's decision to return home, easy. "He's always like had my back, he was always really good with me, he was always straightforward, he was always trying to help my game," said Chaney.

A 2012 Bullard grad, Chaney is still accepting the fact that this is happening in Fresno, a USL soccer team, just one level below MLS. "To be honest man, I really didn't believe it at first. Man, when I really got confirmation about it, it was the most exciting thing in the world to me. I've always wanted, and like dreampt, of being a professional soccer player here in my own city," said Chaney.

A city that appears ripe for a soccer takeover. "Soccer around here is growing, everywhere I go, I'm hearing Zorros this, Zorros that. 'Is it true, are you playing on the team?' This and that, you know, and I think it's going to be a great turnout, honestly. Something amazing for this city," Chaney.

Believe it or not, only 6 1/2 weeks now until Los Zorros season opener on Saturday, March 17th, at Chukchansi Park in downtown Fresno.

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