Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
FRESNO, Calif. – Fresno Football Club announced on Wednesday it had signed hometown product Christian Chaney for the 2018 USL season, pending league and federation approval. The 23-year-old forward is the expansion franchise’s third signing for the club’s inaugural season, joining defender Mickey Daly and midfielder Agustin Cazarez, who were announced Tuesday.
“It very exciting,” Chaney said. “I can’t stress enough how much I enjoy and how much it helped me playing for Fuego and in front of the Fire Squad. When people ask me about Fresno, the one thing I mention is that the people here are diehard fans and loyal supporters and it really helps. It’s really an incredible feeling.”
Chaney appeared in nine matches for Sacramento Republic FC in 2017, including one start in 259 minutes played. He recorded an assist in Sacramento’s 6-2 win against Rio Grande Valley FC on June 21, 2017. In 2016, his only appearance with Republic FC was against CD Guadalajara, entering the match as a substitute and playing 35 minutes.
The 23-year-old was the No. 1 ranked prospect in the Premier Development League following a 2016 season where he scored 13 goals in 12 games with the Fresno Fuego during his final season with the club. His most memorable performance was on May 19 at Chukchansi Park when he scored four goals in 69 minutes against the Las Vegas Mobsters. His role in the attack fueled the Fuego to a Central Pacific division title and the club’s first playoff appearance in three seasons.
“He’s scored a lot of goals on this field and I’m hoping the memory banks are triggered and he can recreate what he did for the Fuego in 2016,” said Fresno FC head coach Adam Smith, who coached Chaney while he was an assistant for Republic FC. “There’s a lot more to come from Christian. I think it’s important to look for homegrown talent. There’s nothing better than a local boy doing well, becoming a success story and playing for his own town.”
In 2015, Chaney signed with FC Ararat Yerevan of the Armenian Premier League after playing against them in a friendly match with the Fuego. Chaney starred at Fresno City College, where he was named to the 2013 NSCAA/Continental Tire Junior College All-American team his sophomore season. Chaney is a graduate of Bullard High School and is a product of the Cal Odyssey Soccer Academy.