After the jump is the latest press release from Phoenix FC, which I got from AzKicksIt because I still am not getting their stuff.
Since the last time I wrote about them, they shortened their name from “Phoenix City FC” to “Phoenix FC,” but added the moniker “Wolves,” in homage to the Mexican Grey Wolf. Have fun with that one in Graham County.
I want these guys to succeed, but I’m still a bit skeptical. Healthily skeptical, but skeptical nonetheless.
First off, they still don’t have a place to play. Even though the Rose Mofford Complex has been used by MLS teams for preseason training, you can’t charge people for entry. This was the first of many “revenue stream” issues for the Phoenix Monsoon. Given that the Mofford complex is on federal land, the ticketing issue can’t be negotiated away. That takes one of the best soccer complexes in the area off the table.
Other places that have been mentioned (the baseball complex in Peoria for example) don’t have soccer fields yet. How long will the conversion take? Can it be scheduled to accommodate MLB Spring Training? Most importantly, how will it be paid for?
To give the Phoenix FC folks the benefit of the doubt, USL would likely have not granted them a franchise had they not had something resembling a plan for a stadium. USL, though, is desperate for more Western franchises for their Pro league (the last few seasons have featured only one).
USL has a history of being a bit flexible. FC Tucson was granted waivers on some of the facility demands, but they also had a history of playing for one season already, hosted two tournaments featuring MLS teams and had a pile of pledges from local government officials. I have to admit that I’m not privy to USL-Phoenix FC talks, but they would have had to come to them with something.
The other big concern is how the team will be financed. FC Tucson is an interesting case: they are staffed better than many lower division pro squads, and their locker room and training facilities are top level. It’s why they were able to attract players like Kareem Smith and Matt Linenberger despite not paying them. FC Tucson is able to do this not just because of sponsorships and ticket sales, but because of the revenue from the Desert Diamond Cup.
Although there has been talk from some up in the Valley of the Yakes that somehow the Desert Diamond Cup can be expanded to Phoenix, there is little evidence that the FC Tucson folks are interested in such a scheme, or that they have even been talked to about it.
They’ll have to pay for converting fields, building locker and training facilities (FC Tucson got around that one by using unused facilities built for the Arizona Diamondbacks), pay for a technical staff and a couple of front office people too. Oh, by the way, they are looking for professional players. Let’s assume a minimum salary of $1500 a month (which would be a rookie in NASL or USL Pro). Assuming a 23 man roster and a five month season, that’s $172,500 just in player salaries. And that’s if you pay them all the minimum, which would be hard to get away with.
Which all adds up to the next issue: how long are they willing to lose money before finally turning a profit? They may grow to regret not following FC Tucson’s start small and grow model.
But, like I said, I find it hard to believe that USL would have let them into the league without them having good answers on any of these issues. They are all things to think about when you read the smiley press releases though.
Phoenix Announces Name and Logo
The next entry into Phoenix’s professional sports franchise market is Phoenix FC, an expansion franchise in USL PRO, the strongest, best operated and most experienced North American men’s professional soccer league below MLS. BDR Sports, LLC, owners of the new franchise, are proud to announce that the Phoenix-based team will begin play during the 2013 season under the name Phoenix FC (Football Club), whose mascot will be the Wolves.
Phoenix FC will be comprised of well-known international soccer players, as well as talent from both the national and local levels. Beginning on September 21, 2012, the club will hold several team tryouts in metro Phoenix for players looking to break through to the professional arena.
The Phoenix FC organization will strive to be the top USL PRO soccer franchise by developing and maintaining a strong following throughout Arizona. It will cultivate relationships with existing youth and soccer enthusiasts, as well as with new soccer supporters throughout the entire metro Phoenix community. Phoenix FC will provide quality family friendly entertainment, an excellent soccer product on the field, and it will be a source of pride for the Valley of the Sun.
The Phoenix FC team will be known as the Wolves, with the logo featuring a fierce image of the Mexican wolf. By paying homage to the Mexican wolf, the Phoenix FC team will represent the entire Sonoran Desert area of North America.
Information about Phoenix FC can be readily accessed at www.PhoenixFC.com. Also, The team has kicked off social media efforts with www.Facebook.com/PhoenixFCWolves and at www.Twitter.com/PhoenixFCWolves.
BDR Sports, LLC is currently in negotiations with potential host stadiums in the Valley. Play begins in April of 2013 and the season runs through August.
Phoenix FC will be lead by Head Coach David Robertson, who has enjoyed an illustrious professional career of his own and has won numerous championships as a player in the Scottish League before retiring in 2002 to focus on coaching.
“I am very excited and proud to lead Arizona’s newest professional sports team,” said Robertson. “Soccer has a fantastic following through the Southwest, and Phoenix sports fans are some of the best supporters of professional teams that I have ever experienced. Phoenix FC will be a great addition to this community, and we welcome all fans of soccer to be a part of the team from ‘Day One’.”
On September 21, 2012, the club will begin the first of several team tryouts in metro Phoenix. The first tryout will be held at Reach 11 Sports Complex, 2425 East Deer Valley Road, from 5 p.m. till 9 p.m. For interested players and more information, please visit www.PhoenixFC.com.
A Phoenix FC “KICKoff Party” will be held at Phoenix FC Headquarters on Friday, September 7. Franchise owners from BDR Sports will be in attendance, as will Head Coach David Robertson and Phoenix FC’s Managing Director, Rui Filipe Bento. For those interested in attending the party, meeting franchise personnel and learning more about Phoenix FC and the exciting USL PRO, please visit www.Facebook.com/PhoenixFCWolves.