FC Tucson, the grassroots minor league soccer team that turned into one of the Premier Development League's powerhouses, is being sold.
Phoenix Rising FC has purchased the Tucson team, and will begin running the organization as an affiliate, it announced Wednesday.
Jon Pearlman, co-founder of FC Tucson and last year's general manager and coach, will stay on as the club's GM. The team will remain in Tucson, playing its games at Kino North Stadium.
Since its inception, FC Tucson has gone a combined 82-28-19 overall — 87-50-27, if you count exhibitions against Major League Soccer teams. The club has won its division within the PDL four consecutive years.
“When I co-founded FC Tucson with my managing partners, our goal was to help give players in the state a road map toward playing soccer at the highest levels,” Pearlman said in a news release. “Our original mission fits perfectly with what we’re doing with Phoenix Rising and this partnership is going to raise the level of soccer in Arizona for years to come.”
Phoenix Rising FC club governor Berke Bakay called the acquisition an "exciting chapter" for soccer in the state. The new partnership could further help FC Tucson if Phoenix is able to acquire a Major League Soccer expansion franchise. Rising would then, in theory, become the MLS team with Tucson poised to play in the United Soccer League, where Rising now plays. Rising has made a name for itself in just a few years, acquiring international superstar Didier Drogba as a player and co-owner. The team's ownership group also includes musicians Pete Wentz and Diplo and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy.
“From day one, we wanted to help elevate the game in our state and that begins with investing at all levels," he said. "By acquiring FC Tucson, in addition to our partnership with Arizona Youth Soccer Association, we believe we’re building a pipeline from the youth level to the professional level that will rival other states in the country.”
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