Following months of speculation, Phoenix Rising officially announced Didier Drogba’s signing on Wednesday. The 39-year-old striker joins as a player and co-owner of the club and will incorporate himself as a part of Rising’s MLS expansion franchise ownership group.
“I have taken my time in deciding what I wanted to do next and am really excited about the opportunity at Phoenix Rising FC,” Drogba said. “After seeing first hand the potential for expansion of the sport in North America and getting to know the ownership group in Phoenix, I am convinced that I can help them develop their organization on and off the pitch. I look forward to their continued success in the USL, and no city is better positioned than Phoenix for expansion into the MLS.”
Drogba is Ivory Coast’s top goal scorer and recorded 104 English Premier League goals for Chelsea, where he won English Premier League and UEFA Champions League titles. His new team will be hoping his star power can draw fans while also bolstering the group’s chances of succeeding in a very competitive MLS expansion race.
“We want our club and our city to be synonymous with international excellence, and Didier Drogba is a testament to Phoenix Rising FC’s commitment to that mission,” said Phoenix Rising Club Governor Berke Bakay. “Soccer is an international language understood by sports fans all over the world, and we want to help inspire fluency among new fans every where we play throughout North America.”
Phoenix Rising FC currently sits 12th in USL’s Western Conference standings after three matches. The team’s next match will be against Sporting KC’s USL affiliate, Swope Park Rangers, on Sunday, April 23rd.