USL Pro announces Phoenix’s change in ownership, rebrand

USLPRo

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.

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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.

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16 Responses to USL Pro announces Phoenix’s change in ownership, rebrand

  1. Ian says:

    “Arizona United SC will assume the schedule that was prepared for Phoenix FC…” Sounds very Mickey Mouse. A team can just replace another like that?

    • MMV says:

      It could be view as Mickey Mouse by some. However, if players contracts (from Phoenix FC) are transferred over to the new ownership group; it’s essentially the same “team” sans a new owner and name.

    • Rory Miller says:

      Meh, sounds like a relocation and rebrand more than anything else. Kind of last minute to strip owners of their franchise and move them, but I’m sure it would be a lot more work if they re-did the schedule instead of a quick substitution.

    • The Empty Bucket says:

      5 minutes looking into the team would tell you the ownership WAS mickey mouse, they were a mess and the franchise looks to be in a better position now.

    • ButlerBob says:

      Actually the ownership change has been in the works for several months. The league actually took the franchise back from the previous ownership group near the end of last year and they had previously announced the venue change. This more the final announcement of completion of the ownership change. The bigger item is the name change. The other stuff, not new.

  2. Nasl to el paso tx says:

    At least, phoenix has a team. Here in el paso tx, we r starving for a nasl or uslpro, but some local rich guy went for tripleA baseball instead of soccer.
    By the way, what does phoenix mean. Doesnt phoenix mean, a sun bird or sunset or something like that, because phoenix united makes zero sense. Phoenix should use their heritage history into their name. How about phoenix valley city or phoenix heat or phoenix unity.
    Oh, a question for arizona, who has better soccer fans tucson.or phoenix and is tucson even.considered a good place for pro sports and why doesnt a rich owner pursue mls and have the team play at diamondbacks DWT stadium or at the toaster.

    • Zac says:

      The name is Arizona United, not Phoenix United – it was Phoenix FC before.

      To answer your question about whether Phoenix or Tucson has better soccer fans ( I live in the Phoenix market but am in Tucson all the time as well) the answer as far as I can tell is neither, at least as far as MLS/NASL/USLpro are concerned. This is LigaMX country, unfortunately. If forced to choose one market or the other to start a lower division team, though, I’d probably go with Tucson; their PDL side seems to do pretty well and the Cactus Pricks supporters group does a good job for such having such a low division team to support.

      I think moving Arizona United from Tempe out to Peoria is a big mistake. I understand that the ownership group is there in the West Valley, but most of the population and target market is out on the east side, I would think. Similar to the NHL’s Coyotes moving out to Glendale, they are going to find out the hard way that their fans aren’t willing to drive 45 minutes to an hour to get to games. Only the NFL will cause fans in the valley to do that.

  3. Hobo says:

    I hope it works out with the new ownership group and becomes successful. Nice to keep a USL Pro team in Phoenix. Sucks that fans aren’t willing to drive 1/2 hr to watch a game. Phoenix fans need to get off their arses and support them. Can’t have Liga MX ruling the valley of the sun!

  4. Good Jeremy says:

    Great name.
    It’s so original.
    It really ties into the local tradition and culture.

  5. Ryan from NC in NYC says:

    Soooooo. They’re moving out of a ‘metro’ area into a suburb to play on a baseball field? Interesting.

  6. McCallumKnights says:

    Why not just be the Aztex?

  7. Anton says:

    Wolves to NASL!