Ventura County Fusion: “The Pride Of The 805”

June 8, 2024
2 mins read
Ventura County Fusion

By Oliver Tensley.

Just three miles from the Ventura Harbor sits Ventura College, home of the Ventura County Fusion. On Wednesday, June 5, they faced the Southern California Eagles (based in Whittier, Calif.) and won 6-0. It was just the club’s second game of the year in USL League Two, which can only reveal so much about the makeup of each team, but the story of the Fusion is not entirely on the field anyway.

In a country without a century of non-league football culture to fall back on, the identity of a club outside of the top flight can be hard to pinpoint. Clubs in USL League Two are not fully professional and play a shorter season than higher divisions. But, Ventura County falls back on its name – the Fusion.

Ventura County, the place not the club, is home to approximately 843,000 residents spread over 10 cities and a plethora of unincorporated communities. The county also sits at the crossroads of Southern California and the state’s Central Coast. There is a lot to fuse in Ventura County.

The orange and blue of the club’s crest puts images of a Southern Californian sunset in the mind, but on this day it was quintessential Central Coast gloom that acted as the backdrop for the match. The tops of the Ventura Foothills arching over the north of the field could not be seen due to fog which only got stronger as the match went on.

The Fusion are two-time champions of USL League Two — most recently in 2022 — and after Wednesday’s match could be dreaming of another title.

Their 6-0 drubbing of the Southern California Eagles saw six different players score and Ventura County’s goalkeeper was only forced into one save over 90 minutes.

The performance was dominant and capped off by winger, Ocean Salari, running the ball down the wing and into the 18-yard box, beating multiple defenders on the way, before curling the ball into the far top corner to notch the Fusion’s sixth goal of the night. Furthermore, it is just the club’s second game in 2024 but they have thus far won both and are yet to concede a goal. More glory certainly could be on the way for the Ventura outfit.

Ventura County Fusion stadium

It is not on-field success which drives the Ventura County Fusion. The club has an academy which starts kids as young as nine years old on the path to playing professional soccer. Of course, a majority of the kids will not fulfil this dream, but that is not the point either.

Angie Vazquez and Espi Morales are mothers of 12-year-old boys from Oxnard, Calif. who play for the Fusion’s youth team.

Morales said, “It means a lot for my boys to have older kids to look up to [at these games]…they want to come to watch them, that is why we are here.”

Vazquez added, “It just helps them and inspires them to one day be doing what they are doing.”

There were no more than 100 spectators at Ventura College Sportsplex to witness the Fusion’s excellent performance. Many who were there were supporting relatives. The Fusion fields plenty of local talent and the Southern California Eagles even had a Ventura native, Eion Kingsley, in their midfield.

The Fusion calls itself the “Pride of the 805” (805 being the phone code which starts in Westlake Village, Calif. and runs through the Central Coast).

Morales added, “I feel pride in this team being so close to home.” The Fusion was founded in 2006 and boasts of sending over 70 players to fully professional clubs in North America and Europe.

The Central Coast, or in this case, the region encompassed by the 805 area code has fielded other clubs. The Oxnard Guerreros played in the National Premier Soccer League and United Premier Soccer League from 2016 to 2020 before dissolving, as of just last month the LA Galaxy’s MLS Next affiliate moved to Thousand Oaks, Calif. now carrying the name Ventura County FC, and Santa Barbara Sky FC is set to begin play in USL League One next year.

None of these teams have been in “the 805” since 2006, none of them have already brought two titles to the area, and none of them have given Central Coast kids the chance to play for 18 years. No one can predict the future, but as of today the Ventura County Fusion is the “Pride of the 805.”

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