Photo courtesy of Rob Kinnan/North Carolina FC
(PHOENIX, AZ) March 4, 2017 – Today, Phoenix Rising Football Club announced it signed MLS veteran midfielder Matt Watson for the 2017 season pending USL and USSF approval. Per club policy, the terms of the deal are not public.
From 2012 to 2015, Watson played in Major League Soccer, first with Vancouver Whitecaps FC and then with the Chicago Fire. In four MLS seasons, Watson appeared in 76 matches, scoring a goal and collecting three assists.
Watson began playing professionally in 2006, when he made his professional debut with USL-side Richmond Kickers. He appeared in 41 matches and scored ten goals with the club before moving on to the Carolina RailHawks in 2008. In 2011, he won an NASL Championship with the RailHawks. Watson returned to North Carolina last season, where he was a teammate of current Phoenix Rising FC forward Omar Bravo. He appeared in 29 matches and scored three goals.
“I’ve had the chance to work with Matt and love what he’ll bring to our club,” said Phoenix Rising FC head coach Frank Yallop. “We are fortunate to add Matt’s depth and experience to an already impressive roster of talented players.”
Phoenix Rising FC opens its 2017 campaign on Saturday, March 25, at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex against Toronto FC II. Fans can purchase tickets on the team’s website at www.PHXRisingFC.com or call the main office number for personalized service at 623.594.9606. Fans who become season ticket members will receive a free Phoenix Rising FC jersey in addition to various other benefits throughout the season.
Phoenix Rising Football Club players under contract for 2017 include:
FORWARDS: Omar Bravo, Moses Danto, Jason Johnson, Chris Cortez, Mike Seth, Matthew Hurlow-Paonessa
MIDFIELDERS: Shaun Wright-Phillips, Blair Gavin, Miguel Timm, Luke Rooney, A.J. Gray, Alessandro Riggi and Matt Watson
DEFENDERS: Jordan Stewart, Peter Ramage, Uchenna Uzo, J.J. Greer, Brock Granger, Victor Vasquez
GOALKEEPERS: Carl Woszczynski, Josh Cohen
About Phoenix Rising FC
Phoenix Rising FC is Arizona’s only professional soccer franchise. Established in 2013, the club enters its fourth year in the United Soccer League, which has been awarded Division 2 status by the U.S. Soccer Federation. Major League Soccer (MLS) recently announced Phoenix Rising FC as among 12 applicants being considered for a MLS Expansion Franchise. Beginning in March of 2017, Phoenix Rising FC will be playing in its new, soccer-specific stadium located at the northwest corner of the 101 and 202 freeways in south Scottsdale. For more information on the club, visit the team's website at PhxRisingFC.com. You can also follow the team on Facebook (PHXRisingFC), Twitter (@PHXRisingFC), Instagram (@PHXRisingFC), Snapchat (PHXRisingFC) and YouTube (PhoenixRisingFootballClub). For season tickets call (623) 594-9606 or visit PHXRisingFC.com.
About United Soccer League
The United Soccer League is the fastest growing professional soccer league in the world with teams in 19 states and three Canadian provinces. Since 2014, the USL has doubled in size and established a sizeable North American footprint with strong ownership, experienced executives and regional rivalries.
In 2016, the USL experienced record growth with a total season attendance of almost 1.5 million, a 33 percent increase from 2015. The average attendance for the league’s top-10 drawing teams was 6,724, a 25 percent increase year-over-year.
Creating an engaging environment for passionate fans, the USL aims to establish all clubs as owners or primary tenants of 8,000-10,000 seat soccer-specific stadiums by 2020. Teams have invested more than $100 million into stadium infrastructure in the last year to enhance the experience for the USL’s passionate fans, 900-plus players and nearly 100 coaches in building a highly sophisticated league.
Expanding its broadcast reach with ESPN and SiriusXM partnerships, USL “Games of the Week” were available this year on ESPN3 to 99 million households. The USL aired more than 500 games last season through its Match Center. Recently, the USL finalized a $10 million investment and partnership with VISTA Worldlink to create USL Productions, which will create more than 1,000 hours of live match coverage for 2017. Additionally, statistical analysis will be powered by Opta – the world’s leading provider of live, detailed sports data – who will manage and deliver in-depth details for all USL games.
Based in Tampa, Fla., the USL supports its teams with operational excellence through 50-plus employees and 16 departments including Analytics, Competition, Creative, Digital, League Operations, Marketing, Merchandise/Licensing, Team Services, USL Productions and more