FRESNO, Calif. – Central Valley Fuego FC announced on Monday the club had added seasoned soccer coach Mike Elias to Head Coach Jermaine Jones’ coaching staff to serve as an assistant coach alongside Edison Gonzalez.
Elias joins Fuego FC from USL League Two club the Ventura County Fusion, where had served as Head Coach since 2019. In Elias’ time with the Fusion, he led the side to the 2022 USL League Two title, advanced to the Western Conference Final on two additional occasions and qualified for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Four of Elias’ charges in the Fusion’s 2023 squad were selected in the 2024 Major League Soccer SuperDraft this past December, including No. 3 selection Logan Farrington (FC Dallas) and No. 13 selection Jamar Ricketts (San Jose Earthquakes).
“The chance to work with Jermaine Jones within a competitive professional environment attracted me to this coaching position,” said Elias. “I also feel that Fresno is a hotbed for soccer and want to work together with the coaching staff to bring pride to the region and its community.”
A native of London, England, Elias brings a rich cultural background, originating from Greek parents and holding dual citizenship in both England and the United States. He moved to the United States 24 years ago, is fluent in both English and Greek, and he is currently learning Spanish to further enhance his coaching capabilities.
As a player, Elias showcased his skills in the KOPA Greek League, representing renowned teams such as AEL, Olympiacos, Nea Salamis, and various clubs in England. Following his impressive playing career, Elias seamlessly transitioned into coaching, accumulating 25 years of experience.
Elias holds a USSF “A” License, NSCAA Advanced National License, and NSCAA Director of Coaching Diploma.
“Mike brings with him a wealth of experience and he’s proven himself at the USL-2 level,” said Fuego FC Managing Partner Juan Gerardo Ruelas Jr. “He adopts a war-like mentality in the locker room which I feel is essential to winning a championship. It needs to be war and we must wage a hard-fought battle until the bitter or sweet end. We cannot concede early, and we know players will represent this community by leaving everything on the field, never giving up even when it seems like odds are against us.
“That is what you can expect Mike to demand from the players because he’s done it once already, and I know by combining forces with Coach Jones and Coach Eddie we will have assembled a formidable technical staff that is hungry and is going to put in the hard work necessary to make this season a success.”