USL club Phoenix Rising announces MLS expansion intentions

Phoenix Rising logo

The deadline for MLS expansion applications is fast approaching, and Phoenix has come out of nowhere to thrust itself into the conversation.

USL club Phoenix Rising announced on Thursday that it plans to submit the necessary paperwork that MLS has requested from owners looking to land a first-division franchise during the next round of expansion. The decision to try and become one of the four teams that will move the league to 28 clubs comes after Rising’s owners traveled to New York City to have a meeting with MLS executives last Friday.

“Being invited to submit an MLS expansion team application is an honor,” Phoenix Rising governor Berke Bakay said in a statement released by the club. “It has always been our intention to bring Division 1 professional soccer to Arizona. But, we will need every soccer fan, business and community leader to quickly come together and support our application effort in order to achieve this incredible goal for our state.”

Phoenix may have thrown its name into the hat of potential expansion teams, but faces considerable opposition. There are currently 10 other markets looking to claim an MLS franchise, including Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville, Raleigh/Durham, Sacramento, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego, and Tampa/St. Petersburg.

MLS’s deadline for expansion applications is Jan. 31.

  • bottlcaps

    I was wondering why the MLS invited them to apply (and it was the MLS who did the inviting) so close to the deadline. And reading the press release does not tell you the whole story.
    Phoenix is probably the largest remaining MSA in the top 10 without an MLS presence.
    They have some deep pocket investors and some celebrity co-owners ie Diplo and Dodger pitcher Brandon McCarthy and Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz and a few other millionaires and CEO’s

    They have made arrangement to lease some Indian land to build training facilities for the current USL team (and a stadium, although that will now not be needed)

    They already have an MLS coach (Frank Yallop)

    But most importantly, they will probably play in an indoor baseball stadium (retractable roof) that can accommodate, very well, with good sight lines and moveable seating, a grass soccer pitch. That is of course,Chase Field, the BOB ballpark that is actually up for sale (its owned by the County of Maricopa) and the price was 60M for a 40K indoor stadium. So it has a stadium plan.

    In other words, all these things came together recently and the MLS wanted to make sure they came in as Phoenix, along with San Diego and St. Louis are Cities the MLS wants


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