Phoenix Rising FC has signed 15-year-old Barca Residency Academy product Isaiah Kaakoush “Koush” to a USL Academy Contract, pending league and federation approval, the club announced today.
Kaakoush began training with Rising at the end of the 2023 regular season. A center back with his academy team, he spent time training as a defensive mid with the professional team in 2023.
“I like the having the ball at my feet,” said Kaakoush. “I love possession-based football. My goal this season is to break in and get some minutes with the first team. I want to get better every time I train and create opportunities for myself in the future. Last season was a matter of getting comfortable. The guys accepted me, I just need to continue to progress. I’ll do my best for the fans. I can’t wait to get started. I am excited to be part of what we all believe will be a great season.”
Kaakoush, who turns 16 next week, was just eight years old when Phoenix Rising FC first announced it was establishing a professional team in the city in 2016.
“I’ve been of fan of Phoenix Rising for a long time,” said Kaakoush. “I remember hearing that there was a new professional club coming to town. I was excited. I wanted to be able to watch immediately. It has been amazing. It’s awesome that there is a team close to me that is at that high of a level.
Rising has always been a team I liked to watch. The fact they’re local and I can go watch one of the games is huge. As a fan, the atmosphere is awesome. It’s very professional. The fans and community that comes out to support the team are very passionate. The fact the players come and say ‘hi’ to everyone after the game to show they appreciate and care about the fans is uplifting.”
Along with Efetobo Aror, Joel Torbic and Hayden Sargis, Kaakoush is the fourth former Barca Residency Academy player to sign with Phoenix Rising.
“Collaborating with Phoenix Rising to provide additional training and playing opportunities for our players creates a great pathway into the professional game for our top prospects,” said Barca Academy Director Ged Quinn. “We look forward to continuing to build on this relationship. For Isaiah, this is a fantastic opportunity for him to train on a consistent basis with full time professionals at the USL level.
Isaiah has been with Barca Residency Academy for three seasons after joining us as a 13-year-old. He has excelled as a player in the youth game, representing all age groups within our academy. Last year, playing as a U15 player, he had some excellent performances for our U19 team in the prestigious Super Group at Dallas Cup. He also starred in our playoff run at the end of that season.”
Kaakoush made three appearances for the U.S. U-15 National Team in 2023. He also trained with Premier League side Nottingham Forest and La Masia, the youth academy of FC Barcelona.
Transaction: Phoenix Rising FC signs defender Isaiah Kaakoush
Name: Isaiah Kaakoush
DOB: January 20, 2008 (15)
Born: Maricopa, Arizona
Hometown: Chandler, Arizona
Last Club: Barca Residency Academy
ROSTERED PLAYERS (19):
Goalkeeper (1): Patrick Rakovsky
Defenders (8): Eddie Munjoma, John Stenberg, Juan Carlos Azocar, Eduardo Rito, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Mo Traore, Papa Mar Boye, Isaiah Kaakoush
Midfielders (8): Panos Armenakas, Carlos Harvey, Jose Hernandez, Gabi Torres, Fede Varela, Renzo Zambrano, JP Scearce, Emil Cuello
Forwards (2): Erickson Gallardo, Dariusz Formella