Do you think soccer players who blantely flop on the field be penalized with a yellow card? Is Fresno Fuego FC captain Milton Blanco coming back for another season?

With a historic 2011 Conference Finals appearance and a 2013 Conference Semifinals birth, you better believe pro soccer in Fresno is here to stay at Chukchansi Park!

After finishing the 2016 season with a Central Pacific Division title, we had the opportunity to speak with Fuego FC players Milton BlancoSergi Nus and Gabriel Viana about soccer, future and what Fresno city soccer means to them!

C.A. Reding:  Congrats on transferring to the University of Virginia! Winter is coming (HBO, Game of Thrones reference). Will you miss our Fresno summer heat? 

Sergi Nus (Centerback):  Without any doubt I will miss a lot of things from Fresno. I came to Fresno 2 summers ago when I was only seventeen thanks to Head Coach Brian (Fresno Fuego) and  GM Jeremy Schultz. They were the ones that had trust in me and also Scott

Alcorn who not only helped me a lot but also made me a better soccer player. Last summer, I got the chance to be able to participate a lot and to get a good amount of minutes but the results that we got were not what the club deserved; so, I felt that we all owe something to this amazing soccer community. This season I feel that we did show our fans and supporters what we are made of and I’m happy for that.

In Fresno I found a family that not only made me grow as a player but as a person.

However, after finishing my freshman year in FPU and winning a PacWest Conference I decided that I needed a challenge in order to improve personally and as a soccer player. Once I knew that University of Virginia (2014 D1 Champions) had interest in me, so I had no doubt but to go there. I am sure that will be an exciting experience for me and really looking forward for what is

next in my soccer career.

“In Fresno I found a family that not only made me grow as a player but as a person” – Sergi Nus, Fresno Fuego FC (centerback)

What is the weirdest goal you were ever involved with?

Sergi Nus: The weirdest goal that I had been involved with was from this PDL 2016 season. It was in the first game in Utah against BYU. We were pressing very high and working hard to get the ball back, when their central back passed the ball slowly to their goalkeeper and he didn’t control the ball, he failed and afterwards the ball went in. It was a good and weird feeling for all of us because we did not know how to celebrate that goal. I guess the goalkeeper was scared from our top prospect striker, Christian Chaney.

As the captain of the team, do you plan on returning back for 2017?

Milton Blanco: As of right now, I’m not sure if I’ll be back next season. I’m not even sure what I’ll be doing this weekend!!! (laughs) With that being said, I would love to play for the Fuego next season. I love wearing the jersey, the fans and the guys on the team!!!

In your experience, should a player receive an automatic yellow card for what we fans sometimes view as “fake” flopping?

Milton Blanco: Flopping happens in all sports. I think Americans only make it a big deal when they see soccer games. I’ve seen it a lot in basketball games and football games. Basketball now fines players that make an obvious flop. I think that players should receive a yellow card if it’s an obvious flop. But I don’t think every flop deserves a yellow card.  Sometimes players flop or jump over the tackle to protect themselves from getting hurt.

 “I think that players should receive a yellow card if it’s an obvious flop” – Milton Blanco, captain Fresno Fuego FC

Being from Brazil, what makes your country a ground for breeding the world’s best soccer players? 

Gabriel Viana (Fresno Fuego FC forward): The reason I think that the best soccer players originate from Brazil is because usually the first gift a child receives is a soccer ball. We grow up loving the sport and enjoy playing with the “toy”. Our culture is very passionate and we put that passion and happiness into everything we do, including soccer.

Do you have any rituals you perform before each game due to supersitions? 

Gabriel Viana: I don’t have any rituals that I do before every game, but if I play well in a game and I’m wearing certain socks, I try to use those same socks for every game after that. Don’t worry, I wash them though. The reason I don’t have rituals is because I practice hard before every game and give it my all so I am prepared when game day comes.