FRESNO — Adam Smith has been named the first head coach in the history of Fresno Football Club, general manager Frank Yallop announced Thursday. Smith, who previously served as the top assistant at Sacramento Republic FC, has been chosen to lead Fresno FC as the club prepares for its inaugural season in the United Soccer League (USL) beginning March 2018.
“This is a fantastic day for soccer in Fresno, as I can officially announce the head coach of Fresno Football Club, Adam Smith,” Yallop said. “As an organization, we couldn’t be more pleased to have Adam leading our club. He possesses all the qualities we were looking for in a head coach and comes from a fantastic football pedigree. His experience and familiarity with the USL makes him the right choice to lead the team in our inaugural year.”
Smith, 46, has spent the majority of the last 20 years in the United States, working tirelessly and passionately to help athletes excel in the sport. He comes to Fresno with an impressive resume, bringing coaching experience at both the USL and Major League Soccer (MLS) levels.
“It’s unbelievable to receive the opportunity to be the first head coach of a new franchise,” Smith said. “I feel very humbled and thankful for the opportunity to work alongside Frank, with his wealth of experience. I am very grateful to Ray Beshoff and the ownership of Fresno FC, as they’ve put faith in me to lead the club as we begin play in the USL.”
Smith most recently spent the last three seasons with Republic FC, as the assistant head coach under the guidance of Paul Buckle. There, Smith helped lead the club to the USL playoffs each season during his tenure, as well as a 2016 Western Conference regular season title. During his time in Sacramento, Smith was also the Technical Director of Coaching at Elk Grove Soccer Club.
Coach Smith at Chukchansi Park, home of Fresno FC
“At this time, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank my CEO Andrew Donnery at Elk Grove Soccer Club and Paul Buckle, my head coach at Sacramento Republic, for a wonderful three years,” Smith said.
Prior to Sacramento, Smith served as the Portland Timbers goalkeeping coach for two seasons from 2010-11 when Portland joined MLS. In 2012, Smith transitioned to serve as the academy director and goalkeeping director.
Born in England, Smith began his career as a youth in the Everton FC academy. Smith later went on to spend a year professionally with Walsall FC, after completing a degree in business and sports coaching at Manchester Metropolitan University. As a player, Smith has played for teams in Asia, Scotland and the USA as a full-time professional and semi-professional player. He won back-to-back USL Pro championships in 2002 and 2003 with the Long Island Rough Riders and Wilmington Hammerheads, respectively.
“I’m in soccer because I want to win. I want to be successful, of course, and the foundation we lay over the next 12 months is going to be crucial,” Smith added. “We’ve got a lot of work to put in. I had three great years in Sacramento, five great years at Portland Timbers, so I’m hoping I’m given time here in Fresno to build something the San Joaquin Valley can be proud of.”
Smith is joined in Fresno by his wife and two children.
Smith will begin his role as head coach effective immediately, beginning with the club’s Open Tryouts this Saturday and Sunday, November 11 & 12. Fans will have their first chance to meet Smith at the 2017 USL Cup Final Watch Party, hosted by Fresno FC, on Monday, Nov. 13 at Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company, beginning at 5:30pm. The event is free and open to all ages.
"When I came to Sacramento, I knew it wasn't always about the players moving on, it's about the staff, too. With that, I'm just delighted for Adam Smith becoming the first head coach for Fresno FC. He's done great work here in Sacramento. His work ethic can't be questioned and I know he will lead the club in the right direction."
"On behalf of the Portland Timbers, I would like to congratulate Adam Smith on his appointment as the first head coach of Fresno FC and wish him and the club all the best in their first season. This is a great opportunity for Adam, and he is well-positioned for success through his experience as an assistant coach with the Timbers and Sacramento Republic over the last several years."
Fresno Football Club, the Central Valley’s first professional soccer club, is a member of the United Soccer League (USL). The club hosts home matches at Chukchansi Park in beautiful downtown Fresno. FFC exists to provide a top-class, inclusive and dynamic sporting experience in one of the nation’s most diverse regions. For more information, visit FresnoFC.com.