Good Sports: Fresno Fuego international players

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The Fresno Fuego have a strong international flair on the roster. (KFSN)

It's a midweek practice to every other semi-professional soccer team. But for the Fresno Fuego, it may as well be a General Assembly of the United Nations.

"All of these kids are in college somewhere," said Fuego head coach Scott Alcorn. "But we were lucky with West Hills and Fresno Pacific that they had some new recruits come in and we needed some help based on last year's record."

Three different continents are represented on this year's Fuego roster, with players from Germany, Spain, Brazil and Peru, as well as the usual American and Mexican players. In fact six of Saturday's Fuego starters at Las Vegas will be from outside the United States.

"We change our system based on the players, and man these guys love the game," explained Alcorn. "They are so much fun to be around and it takes you back to 2004 when we had a lot of Brazilians on the field and we were very good."

"We all live together so this is perfect to learn another language, another culture, another way to play," said Brazil native and Fuego Midfielder Joao Da Rosa. "Because we all play different but in the end it will help the team."

That's why soccer is known as the beautiful game: It has a language of its own, allowing all these international players to acclimate seamlessly to playing and living in Fresno.

"We have a lot of fun together," said Germany native and Fuego midfielder Sven Ricke. "We're like one family and it doesn't matter where we come, as long as we love the ball together, everything is fine for us."

Of course it helps when team chemistry is a strength, as it is with this Fuego squad.

"My family," Ricke said when describing the Fuego. "That's all."

"We have a bunch of countries here, and all will help Fuego to grow and also help us to grow," said Da Rosa. "I'm really excited for Fuego this season, and I think we have a great future here."
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