12.22.2015 Press Release

December 22, 2015
Primary Contact | Jeremy Schultz,
, 559.320.2543



Fuego continue to bring professional soccer to downtown Fresno’s Chukchansi Park


FRESNO, Calif. – Fresno Fuego Futbol Club continues to make headlines with the announcement of the first two matches for their 2016 exhibition season, bringing Armenian Premier League side FC Ararat Yerevan and 2015 North American Soccer League (NASL) Champions, New York Cosmos to downtown Fresno in collaboration with Champions Soccer LLC.
On Thursday, February 18, 2016, Fresno Fuego will host FC Ararat in an international friendly.  The deeply-rooted Armenian community in Fresno and the Central Valley should come alive with a 6:30pm kickoff time at downtown Fresno’s Chukchansi Park, with gates opening at 5pm. It marks the first time FC Ararat will visit Fresno, following a January 17, 2007, competition with the Armenian men’s national team. In conjunction with his club duties, FC Ararat manager Varuzhan Sukiasyan was recently named manager of the Armenian men’s national team, adding to the anticipation of the matchup.

Football Club Ararat Yerevan, founded on May 10, 1935, and commonly known as Ararat Yerevan, is an Armenian football club based in Yerevan, Armenia. Currently, they compete in the Armenian Premier League, the top division in the country. As one of the most popular football clubs in Armenia, FC Ararat boast two Soviet Top League/Armenian Premier League titles, two Soviet Cups, five Armenian Cups, one Armenian Super Cup, one IFA Shield and one Soviet First League title. FC Ararat have also regularly qualified for European competition over the course of their storied history, competing in the UEFA European Cup, UEFA Intertoto Cup and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup competitions.

One week after the FC Ararat match, on Wednesday, February 24, the Fresno Fuego will host the New York Cosmos at Chukchansi Park. The match kicks off at 6:30 p.m. and is Fresno’s second exhibition match-up before the 2016 Premier Development League season begins in May. It will mark the first time an NASL club will visit Fresno. 

The Cosmos began play in 1971 and are based out of Hempstead, New York, spending 14 seasons in the NASL, winning five Soccer Bowl trophies and bringing some of the biggest names in world soccer to the USA. This included Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and Carlos Alberto. It had been nearly 30 years since the Cosmos, an iconic global soccer club, played in a professional league. Yet throughout their absence, the club maintained a loyal and dedicated fan following. The Cosmos were reborn in 2010 and joined the modern NASL prior to the 2013 season. Giovanni Savarese, who scored 10 goals in 30 appearances for the Venezuela men’s national team between 1989-2001, has managed the club for the past three seasons, winning two NASL championships during his tenure.

“We believe these soccer games are monumental moments for downtown Fresno, Chukchansi Park, and our region.  Fresno has become a target on the map for soccer matches with a thriving, fervent culture of soccer fans who love the game,” stated Fuego general manager Jeremy Schultz.  “We are in the midst of a generational shift of interest in sports in our country, where soccer is becoming ascendant for many fans and Fresno is a leading part of this movement in the Central Valley.  Bringing professional soccer to Fresno is a great honor for Fuego and we hope to continue to provide premium, family-oriented sports entertainment to our community each year. With FC Ararat’s visit to Fresno, we hope to ignite the interest of our Armenian community and bring the passion and culture of Armenia and their most popular football club to Chukchansi Park.”

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Tickets for the exhibition games will go on sale online Monday, December 28, 2016 at 9 a.m. and can be purchased at the following game links, FC Ararat: bit.ly/FuegoArarat  and NY Cosmos: bit.ly/FuegoCosmos.  Tickets will also be available at the Chukchansi Park Box Office (open Monday through Friday 9am-5pm) starting Monday January 4th, 2016 at 9am, or by calling 1-559-320-TIXS (8497). General admission starts at $10. For those interested in limited VIP Field Level tickets, Lower Reserve group tickets of 10 or more ($15 each), or luxury suites, more information is available by contacting Jordan Wiebe at or by calling 559-320-2525.



The Fresno Fuego 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 newly-formed Central Pacific Division of the PDL Western Conference.  More than 50 Fuego players have moved on to sign professional contracts. The team plays its’ home games in the heart of downtown Fresno at Chukchansi Park.  Season tickets, group and birthday packages, and fundraising options for the 2016 season are currently available by contacting Jordan Wiebe at [email protected].