By FRANCO PANIZO
Phoenix FC is no longer.
USL Pro announced on Thursday that the franchise rights for a club in Phoenix, Arizona have been acquired by Arizona United Soccer Club, a team that will be owned by local advertising executive Kyle Eng. Arizona United SC will assume the schedule that was prepared for Phoenix FC, and it is expected that the new club will enter into an agreement with the city of Peoria to have its home games played at the Peoria Sports Complex Stadium, which seats just under 13,000 fans.
Phoenix FC was supposed to begin its expansion season this year, but USL Pro discontinued the franchise rights previously held by American Soccer Marketing, LLC and the further participation of the Wolves.
“Longtime Peoria resident Kyle Eng brings decades of experience as a successful executive and proven sports business leader, and with the full support of his agency and other partners has all of the tools to realize his vision for Arizona United SC to develop into a model club in USL Pro,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said in a statement. “This is an exciting day for the local sports community and a reward to loyal USL PRO supporters, such as (supporters group La Furia Roja 1881), that continue to exhibit a passion so important to the future success of a professional soccer club.”
Eng is a graduate of Arizona State University and the founder and owner of Peoria-based Arrowhead Advertising Agency. Before launching Arrowhead, Eng was a marketing and P.R. executive at the Golf Channell and Fox Sports.
“My team and I look forward to playing a part in continuing to grow this great game in the Valley to unparalleled levels,” said Eng. “We believe we can do this by putting a quality product on the field and giving our fans a great experience at our matches. It’s exciting to be given the opportunity to serve the entire Arizona soccer community as the owner of Arizona United Soccer Club.”
Front office and coaching staff announcements are expected in the coming days
The 2014 USL Pro season begins later this month, and Arizona is scheduled to play its first game on the road on March 30 vs. the Colorado Rapids Reserves at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
What do you make of this development? Like the name Arizona United SC or prefer Phoenix FC? Expecting this late change in ownership, brand to prove costly in terms of on-the-field success this year?
Share your thoughts below.