Phoenix Rising FC

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Phoenix Rising FC
Phoenix Rising FC logo.svg
Full namePhoenix Rising Football Club
Short namePRFC
FoundedMarch 13, 2014; 6 years ago (2014-03-13) as Arizona United SC
Stadium Casino Arizona Field
Tempe, Arizona
Capacity6,200
Owners
Head coach Rick Schantz
League USL Championship
20191st, Western Conference
Playoffs: Conference Semifinals
Website Club website
Current season
Active teams of Phoenix Rising FC
Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg
USLC USL1

Phoenix Rising Football Club is an American professional soccer team based in Phoenix, Arizona. Founded in 2014 as Arizona United Soccer Club, the team is a member of the USL Championship, the second tier of the American soccer league system.

History

On March 13, 2014, Kyle Eng, owner of an advertising agency, launched the franchise and named it Arizona United SC. It took the place of Phoenix FC, which folded the previous day, in the USL Pro league. [2] [3] [4] [5]

2014 season

In just 178 days after the franchise was awarded by the USL Pro, Arizona United hired a front office staff and coach, put together a roster, secured a stadium, played 28 regular season games, reached the fourth round of the US Open Cup and was in contention for a playoff spot until the next-to-last week of the season. [6] [7]

University of Maryland Assistant Coach Michael Dellorusso was named head coach on March 28, 2014. [8] [9] United lost their first game to Oklahoma City Energy FC 4–0 on April 12, 2014. [10] [11] They defeated Sacramento Republic FC 2–1 for their first win on April 19, 2014. Brandon Swartzendruber scored the team's first ever goal in the 37th minute. FC Dallas loanee Jonathan Top scored the game winner in the 85th minute. [12] [13] [14] [15]

United won four of their last five games to move up from 13th place to 9th, but fell four points short of qualifying for the playoffs. Jonathan Top and ex- Orlando City standout Long Tan led the team in scoring with five goals each. Tan was also selected for the All-League Second Team. [16] Goalkeeper Evan Newton was second in the league in saves. United finished with a 10–13–5 record. [6]

2014 US Open Cup

In their first US Open Cup appearance, Arizona United lasted until the fourth round, the longest Open Cup run of any Arizona club. Entering the tournament in the second round, United defeated Portland Timbers U23s of the PDL 3–2 in Portland on May 13. They were losing 2–1 late in the game when London Woodberry tied the game in the 88th minute and Daniel Antúnez scored the winning goal with seconds left in stoppage time. [17] [18] [19] In the third round, United defeated Oklahoma City Energy FC of USL Pro 2–1 in extra time May 28 at the Peoria Sports Complex. The game winner was scored by Bradlee Baladez in the 112th Minute and Evan Newton saved a last minute penalty kick awarded to the Energy. [20] [21] [22] Their Open Cup run ended with a 2–1 loss to the eventual MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy at home on June 18. Gyasi Zardes scored two goals in the second half two minutes apart after Matt Kassel gave United a 1–0 lead at halftime. [23] [24] [25]

2015 season

Arizona United signed a one-year agreement to play their home games at Scottsdale Stadium on December 16, 2014. [26] United signed a one-year affiliation agreement with FC Dallas on February 9, 2015. [27] [28] [29] United finished 10th in the Western Conference with a 10–16–2 record. Goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski set a USL record with 130 saves. Long Tan again led the team with 14 goals, which was tied for 4th in the league with Luke Vercollone. Tan was also selected for the USL All-League First Team. [30] On September 25, the club declined to extend the contract of head coach Michael Dellorusso. [31]

2016 season

Brett M. Johnson, founder and CEO of Benevolent Capital and Managing Director of Zealot Networks, purchased a minority share of the team. He was named Co-Chairman and President of Arizona United on December 9, 2015. [32] [33] Frank Yallop, who coached the San Jose Earthquakes to MLS Cup championships in 2001 & 2003, was signed to a three-year contract as head coach and president of soccer operations on December 23, 2015. [34] [35] [36] An investment group of music artists and executives led by Grammy Award winning DJ, record producer and rapper/songwriter Diplo purchased a minority stake in Arizona United on January 27, 2016. [37] [38] Scottsdale Stadium did not renew their lease with United and the team signed a three-year lease with their original stadium, Peoria Sports Complex, on January 26, 2016. [39] Pete Wentz, bassist for the rock group Fall Out Boy, purchased a minority share on April 11, 2016. [40]

2017 season: rebranding and playoff run

On August 31, 2016, team founder Kyle Eng sold his majority share to an investment group led by Berke Bakay, President and CEO of Kona Grill. [41] [42] On November 28, 2016, the team was rebranded Phoenix Rising FC by the new ownership. [43] [44] [45]

On March 25, 2017, A record crowd of 6,890 attended Rising FC's first game of 2017 at their new Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex, a soccer-specific stadium and training facility built on the Salt River Pima–Maricopa Indian Community near Tempe. They lost to Toronto FC II 1–0. [46] [47] [48] They defeated LA Galaxy II 2–1 for their first win at the complex and as Rising FC on April 8. [49] [50]

The 2017 season started with three major signings. Guadalajara's all-time leading scorer Omar Bravo was signed on February 9. [51] [52] Shaun Wright-Phillips, who played for Manchester City, Chelsea, New York Red Bulls and the English national team, was signed on February 24. [53] [54] [55] Former Chelsea player and Ivory Coast leading goalscorer Didier Drogba was signed on April 12. He also purchased an ownership stake in the club. [56] [57] [58] [59]

Another record crowd of 7,126 welcomed Drogba to the " Valley of the Sun," as Greater Phoenix is sometimes known, and Phoenix Rising FC defeated the Swope Park Rangers 4–3 on April 23. [60] Frank Yallop resigned as Director of Soccer Operations and head coach on April 24, 2017 for family reasons. Assistant Coach Rick Schantz was named Interim Head Coach. [61] [62] Former Ligue 1 and Mali national team coach Patrice Carteron was named Rising FC Head Coach on May 22, 2017. [63] [64]

In the second half of the season, the Rising won 11 games, tied 3 and lost only one. This included 11 straight games without a loss with a five game winning streak, both team records. Jason Johnson lead the team with 13 goals. Didier Drogba scored 9 goals, even though he was out for a few weeks with a groin injury. During the unbeaten streak, goalkeeper Josh Cohen earned 6 shutouts in 8 games, which gave him the USL Player of the Month award for September.

The Rising clinched their first ever playoff berth by defeating the Portland Timbers 2 on September 27 by a 2–0 score. Their record was 17 wins, 8 losses and 7 ties, earning them 5th place in the Western Conference. A penalty kick shootout won by Swope Park Rangers eliminated Phoenix after playing to a 1–1 tie. The game was interrupted by lightning and heavy rains after the first half, so the second half was played the following day. [65]

Phoenix Rising FC purchased FC Tucson of the Premier Development League, now known as USL League Two, on October 11, 2017. FC Tucson serves as Rising FC's USL 2 affiliate. [66] [67] [68]

2018 season

Advantage Sports Union Ltd., led by Alex Zheng, purchased a share of Phoenix Rising on February 10, 2018 to bolster its MLS bid. [69] [70] [71]

2019 season

Phoenix Rising FC concluded an international cooperation agreement with Galatasaray SK of Turkey on April 5, 2019. The partnership includes cooperation on soccer operations, commercial projects, discovery and training of youth soccer players, international exhibition matches, tournaments and training programs for coaches and players. [72] [73] [74]

From May 5 to September 14, 2019, Phoenix Rising FC won 20 consecutive matches—setting a League and North American record for the longest winning streak. [75] [76] The streak ran parallel with another streak of home wins during the club's "Dollar Beer Night" promotion, which dates back to 2017. [77] The streak came to an end on September 21 with a 2–1 loss to Fresno FC. Rising FC earned the USL Championship Regular Season Title on September 28 after playing New Mexico United to a 2–2 draw. [78] [79] [80]

2020 season

Homophobia controversy

During a game with San Diego Loyal on September 30, midfielder Junior Flemmings was accused of using a Jamaican homophobic slur against the openly gay Loyal midfielder Collin Martin. [81] [82] The Loyals, who had been leading 3–1 up to that point, walked off the field in protest and forfeited the match. [81] [82]

Video capturing an exchange between Rising coach Rick Schantz and Loyal coach Landon Donovan over the incident led to claims of Schantz telling Donovan that the incident was "part of the game," [83] that the players were "competing," [84] as well as accusations that Schantz tried to downplay the incident. [85] The team's co-owner, Brandon McCarthy, was accused of questioning the veracity of accusations made against Flemmings, suggesting in a direct message with another Twitter user that the Loyal, who forfeited a match against the LA Galaxy II in the days prior over the alleged use of a racial slur against a Black Loyal player, [86] wanted to forfeit the match to begin with to continue making a statement on social justice. [87]

Schantz denied accusations of downplaying the incident, saying his words were "misconstrued." [88] In later statements, McCarthy said he was "emotional" in his initial reaction to the incident. [87] Flemmings also denied using the slur in a Twitter statement following the match, saying he stands "in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ movement." [89]

The incident led to an investigation by USL Championship, [90] and on October 6, it was announced that Flemmings was suspended for six games and issued an undisclosed fine by the USL Championship for use of foul and abusive language. [91] In addition, team officials placed Flemmings on administrative leave for the remainder of his contract term, which concludes on November 30, 2020. [92] Schantz was also placed on administrative leave, which team officials say was unrelated to the USL Championship investigation. Assistant coach Blair Gavin was named inteim head coach. [88] [93] Schantz was reinstated as head coach on October 21 after Collin Martin accepted an apology by Schantz for his remarks. [94]

Prior to the incident, the Rising, along with McCarthy, were noted for their support of the LGBTQ+ community. [95] [96]

Colors and badge

Phoenix Rising FC's official colors are red, black, white, gold and grey.

Sponsorship

Seasons Kit Manufacturer Kit Sponsor
2014 Italy Lotto Front: Abrazo Health Care
Back: OrthoArizona
Secondary: Nationwide Vision
2015 Germany Adidas Front: Dignity Health
Back: NuAquos Sports Drink
Secondary: Nationwide Vision; TexasHoldEm.com
2016 United States Nike Front: Food City
2017 Germany Adidas Front: Mad Decent
Secondary: Mayo Clinic
2018–present Italy Macron [97] Front: Carvana [98]
Secondary: Mayo Clinic

Stadium

Phoenix Rising called the Peoria Sports Complex home during the 2014 and 2016 seasons. They played at Scottsdale Stadium during the 2015 season. In 2017, a soccer-specific stadium was constructed, the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex, in time for the 2017 season. [48] On March 15, 2019, Casino Arizona signed a sponsorship deal with Rising FC, including naming rights to the stadium. It was renamed Casino Arizona Field. [99]

The inaugural match for the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex on March 25, 2017, Toronto FC II vs. Phoenix Rising FC.

Players and staff

Current roster

Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth. Squad correct as of November 15, 2020. [100]

No. Position Player Nation
2 Defender Darnell King   United States
4 Defender Corey Whelan   Ireland
6 Midfielder Jordan Schweitzer   Canada
9 Forward Rufat Dadashov   Azerbaijan
10 Forward Jon Bakero   Spain
12 Midfielder Sam Stanton   Scotland
13 Defender Kyle Bjornethun   United States
15 Defender Joe Farrell   United States
16 Defender Austin Ledbetter   United States
17 Forward Santi Moar   Spain
20 Midfielder Solomon Asante   Ghana
21 Forward Joey Calistri   United States
22 Goalkeeper Landon Carter ( [A])   United States
23 Defender Owusu-Ansah Kontoh   Ghana
24 Forward Denis Conteh ( [A])   United States
25 Forward Ansuh Kanneh ( [A])   United States
27 Midfielder Kevon Lambert   Jamaica
28 Goalkeeper Zac Lubin   United States
87 Forward Alex Krzykos ( [A])   United States
  1. ^
    Phoenix Rising Academy player.

Staff

Front Office Staff
USL Governor Berke Bakay
Co-Chairman & Alternate USL Governor Brett M Johnson
General Manager Bobby Dulle
Director of Soccer Development Steve Cooke
Director of Box Office Operations Judy Kirk
Finance Manager Anna Duarte
Media Relations / Communications H. Jose Bosch
Financial Consultant Chris Casalena
Operations Manager Annie Marum
Premium and Partnership Sales Manager Joey Castor
Premium and Partnership Sales Executive Hannah Nieman
Director of Site Operations Ed Alameda
Sales Manager Kelsi Darr-Hodges
Senior Account Executive Dylan Cambareri
Service & Ticket Sales Coordinator Cali Cox
Senior Sales Executive Bryan Kim
Outbound Sales Executive Cort Wolleat
Creative Service Manager Mike Levario
Manager of Site Operations Kevin Beck
Group Sales Executive Jacob Rabbito
Technical Staff
Head Coach Rick Schantz
Assistant Coach Blair Gavin
Assistant Coach Vacant
Goalkeeping Coach & Team Administrator Cory Robertson
Medical Staff
Head Athletic Trainer Brennen Hodge
Assistant Athletic Trainer Steven Upham
Sports Performance Director Steve Fell
Team Doctor Dr. Anikar Chhabra
Physical Therapist Matt Midkiff

[101] [102] [103]

Notable former players

Team Records

Year-by-year

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by Rising. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Phoenix Rising FC seasons.

Season Record Position Playoffs USOC Continental Average
attendance
Top goalscorer(s)
Div League Pld W L D GF GA GD Pts PPG Conf. Overall Name Goals
2016 3 USL 30 9 14 7 40 46 –6 34 1.13 13th 21st DNQ R3 DNQ 1,470 China Long Tan 12
2017 2 USL 32 17 8 7 50 37 +13 58 1.81 5th 6th R1 R3 6,127 Trinidad and Tobago Jason Johnson 13
2018 USL 34 19 9 6 63 38 +25 63 1.85 3rd 5th RU R2 6,380 United States Chris Cortez 20
2019 USLC 34 24 4 6 89 36 +53 78 2.30 1st 1st SF R2 6,752 Ghana Solomon Asante 22
2020 USLC 16 11 3 2 46 17 +29 35 2.19 2nd 2nd F NH 6,585 Jamaica Junior Flemmings 14

^ 1. Avg. Attendance include statistics from league matches only.
^ 2. Top Goalscorer(s) includes all goals scored in league, league playoffs, U.S. Open Cup, CONCACAF Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, and other competitive continental matches.

Head coaches

  • Includes USL Regular Season, USL Playoffs, U.S. Open Cup. Excludes friendlies.
Coach Nationality Start End Games Win Loss Draw Win %
Michael Dellorusso   United States March 28, 2014 September 25, 2015 60 22 31 7 036.67
Frank Yallop   Canada December 23, 2015 April 24, 2017 36 12 17 7 033.33
Rick Schantz (Interim)   United States April 24, 2017 May 21, 2017 7 3 4 0 042.86
Patrice Carteron   France May 22, 2017 June 12, 2018 39 20 8 11 051.28
Rick Schantz (Interim)   United States June 12, 2018 November 13, 2018 24 15 7 2 062.50
Rick Schantz [94]   United States November 14, 2018 present 53 36 9 8 067.92
Blair Gavin (Interim) [93]   United States October 3, 2020 October 21, 2020 3 3 0 0 100.00

Average attendance

Year Reg. Season Playoffs
2014 2,395
2015 3,304
2016 1,470
2017 6,127
2018 6,380 7,609
2019 6,752 7,095
2020 N/A N/A

Club ranking (worldwide)

538 Global Club Soccer Rankings
Rank +/- Club League SPI
315 Decrease 3 Czech Republic FC Slovan Liberec Czech First League 39.5
316 Increase 14 Brazil Goiás Brasileirão Série A 39.5
317 Decrease 4 United States Phoenix Rising FC USL Championship 39.5
318 Decrease 13 United States FC Dallas Major League Soccer 39.4
319 Decrease 5 Mexico Querétaro FC Liga MX 39.4

Last updated: November 26, 2020

Honors

Player honors

Year Player Country Position Honor
2014 Long Tan China China Forward All-League Second Team
2015 Long Tan China China Forward All-League First Team
2018 Solomon Asante Ghana Ghana Forward All-League First Team
2019 [104] Solomon Asante Ghana Ghana Forward Most Valuable Player [105]
Golden Boot Winner
All-League First Team
Adam Jahn United States United States Forward All-League First Team
A.J. Cochran United States United States Defender All-League Second Team
Zac Lubin United States United States Goalkeeper All-League Second Team
2020 [106] Solomon Asante Ghana Ghana Forward Most Valuable Player [107]
All-League First Team
Rufat Dadashov Azerbaijan Azerbaijan Forward All-League Second Team

Records

Most consecutive wins by a North American professional soccer club: (20 games / May 10, 2019 - September 14, 2019)

USL Championship:
Most Points - 78 (2019)
Most Wins - 24 (2019)
Most Goals - 89 (2019)
Goals Per Game - 2.62 (2019)
Assists (season) - Solomon Asante 17 (2019)
Saves (season) - Carl Woszczynski 130 (2015)

Broadcasting

KASW-61, The CW affiliate in Phoenix, signed a deal to broadcast 35 Phoenix Rising games including every USL Championship match home and away, starting in 2019. [108] [109] Games are also streamed live on ESPN3. Josh Eastern does play-by-play and Devon Kerr provides analysis. The Rising Halftime Show is produced by KASW's sister station KNXV-15 and is hosted by Craig Fouhy.

Arizona Sports 98.7 FM is the radio / digital station for Rising FC broadcasts. [110] [111]

In previous seasons, games were broadcast on YouTube.

Supporters

There are two main independent supporters groups of Phoenix Rising FC, Los Bandidos Football Firm [112] and The Red Fury. [113] Both groups stand in the supporters section behind the south goal of the stadium.

References

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