FC Tucson is losing the only coach its ever known.
Rick Schantz, who has led the team from its 2010 inception through its time as a USL Premier Development League power, resigned Monday to join the Phoenix Rising coaching staff. The USL team is coached by Frank Yallop, a longtime Major League Soccer boss and former and Canadian National Team coach. The league is a step up from the USL PDL, and one level below MLS.
Schantz went 71-22-17 as won three division titles during his time with FC Tucson. The former Salpointe Catholic High School star has been a mainstay in youth clubs for 20 years: He helped start Calcio FC, and coached the Fort Lowell Gunners and; most recently, he served on the board of CDO Soccer Club.
Schantz was No. 14 on Greg Hansen's list of the 100 top sports figures of 2016, released last month.
“Rick was incredibly successful at the PDL level as a head coach, and he did an excellent job working with youth soccer in Tucson as well,” Yallop said. “Rick will not only help us achieve success on the pitch but also strengthen our connections with the local soccer community. We cannot wait for him to get started.”
Schantz will remain a partner in FC Tucson, and will assist general manager Jon Pearlman and managing member Greg Foster as they put on the Desert Friendlies and Desert Diamond Cup. MLS preseason starts later this month at Kino Sports Complex.
Pearlman said he and Foster "could not be more pleased" for Schantz.
“FC Tucson has strived since its inception to develop its players, staff, and coaches for opportunities at the highest levels of pro soccer,” Pearlman said. “Rick has proven himself as one of the premier PDL coaches, and we wish him success in this next challenge.”
Said Foster: “That Rick has been invited to coach in the second division of American soccer is testament to the dedication he has shown to player development and to the soccer community. As an organization, FC Tucson is proud to foster advancement through the American soccer pyramid."
FC Tucson will begin its search for a new coach immediately. The team's USL PDL season begins this summer.