PHOENIX (November 7, 2019) —Phoenix Rising Football Club announced today that eleven players from the club’s historic 2019 season will be returning to the club for the 2020 season. Per club policy, the terms of the contracts will not be made public.
The eleven players returning are José Aguinaga, Solomon Asante, Kyle Bjornethun, Joey Calistri, A.J. Cochran, Junior Flemmings, Adam Jahn, Kevon Lambert, Austin Ledbetter, Zac Lubin, and Corey Whelan.
Bjornethun and Ledbetter have both signed contracts with Rising FC after being on loan from USL League One affiliate FC Tucson during the 2019 season.
“I am very excited to bring back a strong core from last year’s record-breaking squad,” said Phoenix Rising Head Coach Rick Schantz. “This is the type of foundation that allows greatness to be built upon. The search to add the highest quality players and people has already begun. I thank those who are not returning for their tremendous contributions and wish them well in their future endeavors.”
Asante broke the USL Championship record for assists (17) and combined goals and assists (39). His 22 goals scored broke a single-season club record and was just three goals shy of the league record. He was also USL’s Golden Boot Winner. The team’s captain appeared in 34 matches and started in 33 of them playing a team-leading 2,940 minutes.
Jahn appeared in 33 matches and started 32 of them (2,890 minutes). He was second on the team in goals scored (17) and he contributed the third-most assists on the team (6). Jahn, along with teammate Solomon Asante, set the USL record for most goals scored by a duo (39). The forward also led the team in areal duels won (113) and finished third in duels won (178).
Flemmings appeared in 30 matches and started in 25 of them (2,275 minutes). He was third on the team in goals scored (16) and tied for second on the team in assists (7). Flemmings, along with teammates Solomon Asante and Adam Jahn, were the first trio in USL history to each score at least 15 goals in a single season. In addition to his club accolades, Flemmings received two Jamaican National Team call ups in 2019.
Lubin appeared in 31 matches and started all 31 of them (2,820 minutes). He set a club record for most clean sheets in a season (14) and made 87 saves. His 14 clean sheets were tied for the most in the league.
Cochran appeared in 26 matches and started in all of them (2,341 minutes). He was a part of a defense that collected a club-record 15 clean sheets in 2019. He led the team in blocks (22), was second on the team in clearances (80) and areal duels won (111), third on the team in interceptions (36), and fourth in tackles won (29).
Whelan was a mid-season addition to the club in 2019 and appeared in nine matches, all starts (838 minutes). In his limited time with the club, the former Liverpool U23 defender had 28 clearances, 13 blocks, five interceptions, 32 duels won, and 21 areal duels won.
Lambert appeared in 28 matches and started 23 of them (2,208 minutes). He scored four goals and contributed one assist and 15 key passes. Defensively, Lambert led the club in interceptions (45) and tackles won (53). He finished second on the team in duels won (188). Lambert also received a Jamaican National Team call up in 2019.
Calistri appeared in 31 matches and started in 13 of them (1,335 minutes). His six goals scored was fourth-best on the team and he, along with teammates Solomon Asante, Junior Flemmings, and Adam Jahn, set the league record for most goals scored by a foursome of teammates (61). Calistri also tallied two assists.
Aguinaga appeared in 31 matches and started in 29 of them (2,315 minutes). He finished the season tied for second in assists (7) and fourth in key passes (41). He also tallied three goals.
Ledbetter was the first player in club history to be called up from USL League One club FC Tucson. He appeared in eight matches and started in five of them (536 minutes).
Bjornethun was the second player in club history to be called up from USL League One club FC Tucson. The defender appeared in five matches and started in three of them (272 minutes). He also had one assist.
2020 Phoenix Rising Roster
About Phoenix Rising FC
Phoenix Rising FC is the highest-level professional soccer franchise in Arizona’s history and the 2019 USL Regular Season Title Winners. The club also holds the record for the longest win streak in American professional soccer history at 20 matches. The club is owned by legendary Chelsea and Ivory Coast striker, Didier Drogba, Advantage Sports Union CEO, Alex Zheng, club governor Berke Bakay, and an impressive collection of business leaders and international celebrities. Established in 2016, Phoenix Rising FC is applying for Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion and currently plays in the USL Championship, the largest Division 2 professional league in the world. The team also owns FC Tucson, which brings USL League One professional soccer to Southern Arizona. For season tickets or more information call 623-594-9606 or visit PHXRisingFC.com. You can also follow the team on Facebook (PHXRisingFC), Twitter (@PHXRisingFC), Instagram (@PHXRisingFC) and YouTube (PhoenixRisingFootballClub) or buy downloading the Official Team App in the App Store or Google Play.