Phoenix Rising FC is now days away from the beginning of the USL season, and the opening of the team’s new 6,000-seat facility.
For the upcoming season, Rising FC will play at a new “pop-up” stadium that been constructed at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex, which is located in south Scottsdale off McClintock Drive. As noted here last month, however, the facility reflects the organization’s long-term goal–to secure an MLS expansion franchise.
Phoenix submitted an MLS expansion bid at the end of January, and its concept for a new stadium calls for a permanent, privately-financed, and climate-controlled facility that would replace the pop-up venue. Organization officials believe that many of the other elements for a successful expansion bid–including a stadium plan, the right demographics, and a solid ownership group–are already in place. CEO Bobby Dulle and other team officials hope that with the new season comes strong fan support, and believe that Saturday’s opener could set the tone. More from ABC 15:
“Butts in seats is kind of the mantra we’re living by right now, and we’re doing great,” Dulle told ABC15 on Monday. “The numbers that we’re selling right now are off the charts. The excitement, the buzz that we’re feeling right now is great.
“I can’t wait until we have a sold-out house here on Saturday night and just build on that momentum and catapult this from a 6,000-seat to a 10,000-seat (stadium), and we can do that really quickly.”
Phoenix is one of 12 cities in the mix for this round of MLS expansion, which is expected to produce four new teams, two of which will debut by the 2020 season. Whether Phoenix can emerge as a successful contender should become more evident over the coming months, but for now the focus will be on a strong season in the USL, starting with the match on Saturday against Toronto FC II.
Image courtesy Phoenix Rising FC.