Jermaine Jones Traveled to Washington to Scout Bellevue Athletic Tryouts

BELLEVUE, WA– Jermaine Jones, former US Men’s Team legend and head coach of the USL League One side Central Valley Fuego FC, traveled to Bellevue, Washington, with his scouting team to the UPSL-side Bellevue Athletic tryouts in January. The two clubs recently established a development partnership, providing a pathway for aspiring Seattle/Bellevue-based professionals.

As the Bellevue-Fuego partnership grows, down the road, the two teams will meet each other through future collaboration in training and friendly games, serving as another opportunity for the Bellevue players to be seen by professionals. Jermaine Jones described the partnership as a “friendship between the two clubs”, talking about the long-term goal of the connection as an opportunity to benefit both clubs, emphasizing “I think both clubs can support each other and help each other.”

Jones is also happy to see the Puget Sound young talent growing and does not rule out the possibility of further looking at more individuals in the future. “We are almost in the end phase of our teams because we prepare now for the season … But of course there’s some talent; there’s always some people. You can see some players, young players; maybe down the road we will see each other again. We will, for sure, against each other in a friendly.”

Bellevue Athletic, established in 2022, underwent a series of club changes within the previous two years, including a club rebrand, establishing a reserves squad, and the appointment of new Head Coach Adam Fenster.


When asked about his thoughts on the partnership, Fenster spoke about the pursuit to discover unseen local talent: “We really want to try to find the undiscovered talent and provide them a place to grow. And then give them a place to go after they grow, so that there’s at least a stepping stone. So we’re looking at this as a partnership in terms of how we can help develop players that maybe were overlooked for whatever reason and then be able to find them a home at the next level.”

Fuego Managing Partner Juan Ruelas sees the long-term future relationship between Bellevue and Fuego as a “proven pathway for player development.” The aligning club missions of the clubs is another point that resonated within Ruelas, where the opportunity to transform promising players to the next level opens the realm of new possibilities for both parties—the club and player.

Following the tryouts, both club executives and coaches, along with Bellevue players, met at Fredy Montero’s training facility, FM Elite Programs, for a media day. Montero appreciated the aligning factor of the clubs’ vision to develop from the grassroots, saying, “I was excited about all the comments and all the impression they gave me, what I’m building here with FM programs. It is real, and it is something I take pride because I’m aiming to kids and soccer players that wants to become professional”. While Montero’s training facility only served as a host for the Bellevue-Fuego media day, collaboration in any form within the soccer community contributes to the evolution of the game through individual connections and experiences.

The local soccer scene in the Seattle area has grown tremendously within the past three years, with more Washington-based teams applying to participate in the UPSL PNW Division, alongside the recent and overdue Puget Sound expansion in the USL League Two Northwest Division. Partnerships between professional and pre-professional teams, such as this partnership between Fuego and Bellevue, grow the level of play, competitiveness, and overall public awareness of soccer in the United States.

Cover Photo by Sandra Agbotse / Agbo Media