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Phoenix Rising FC Launches Professional Development Academy

By Phoenix Rising , 03/06/20, 3:30PM MST


Fully Funded Pathway to Professional Soccer in Arizona

PHOENIX (March 2, 2020 ) — Phoenix Rising FC is proud to announce its acceptance into the prestigious US Soccer Development Academy. The new Phoenix Rising FC Professional Academy will be a fully-funded professional soccer academy, with the only direct pathway to playing at the professional level in the State of Arizona. The process to providing opportunities to boys in the U13 and U14 age levels will begin immediately.

“The Phoenix Rising FC Professional Academy will provide the very best environment and developmental platform for our players, and their teams, to be prepared for the professional level,” said Phoenix Rising FC Head Coach Rick Schantz. “Our whole club commitment to elite player development will provide outstanding opportunities and experiences for the dedicated and ambitious soccer player.”  

The Phoenix Rising FC Professional Academy will provide an innovative and developmentally appropriate program to enhance each player’s individual pathway. All Professional Academy teams will be fully integrated and developed alongside the Phoenix Rising FC professional team and will be immersed in the same winning culture, core values and professional standards of excellence. Identification events and the training of the Professional Academy will be conducted at Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex.

"The U.S. Soccer Development Academy is looking forward to Phoenix Rising joining the program next season," said U.S. Soccer Development staff. "It’s great to have another fully-funded professional club part of the Academy, and we’re excited to work with their coaches and players."

“Having already signed players who were developed in the Arizona soccer community to both full professional and Professional Academy contracts, we believe that the implementation of a Phoenix Rising FC fully funded Professional Academy will only create more opportunities for young players throughout Arizona,” said Phoenix Rising FC General Manager Bobby Dulle. “We will extend every resource into developing the next group of homegrown players for our professional team. This adds to the tremendous opportunities for coaches and players, of all ages and all levels of experience, to enjoy the huge benefits of participating in the Phoenix Rising FC programs.” 

The Phoenix Rising FC Professional Academy will be led by the Phoenix Rising FC Professional Technical Staff, through Director of Soccer Development Steve Cooke, and an impressive team of vastly experienced and highly qualified coaches, performance and medical experts.  Cooke recently served as head coach of the USL Championship side OKC Energy FC and previously served as interim head coach and first assistant coach of Major League Soccer side Colorado Rapids where he was responsible for creating its successful professional development academy.  

“At the inception of this program, we will conduct a talent identification process, alongside our scouting network, that will help to identify those players who possess the necessary playing qualities and high-level character traits to participate in our Professional Academy,” Cooke said. “We are very confident that the Phoenix Rising FC philosophy, culture and professional club environment will expedite the development of our young players. This will give our young homegrown players the chance to compete at the professional level in the future, and hopefully with Phoenix Rising FC.” 

For more information on the Professional Academy please visit

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 You can also follow the team on Facebook (PHXRisingFC), Twitter (@PHXRisingFC), Instagram (@PHXRisingFC) and YouTube (PhoenixRisingFootballClub) or by downloading the Official Team App in the App Store or Google Play.

For more information on the US Soccer Development Academy click here