A new MLS expansion contender is emerging, as Phoenix Rising FC officials have confirmed that they are submitting a bid.
Phoenix was not included in the list of 10 expansion candidates released by the league in December. That was despite some significant changes for the USL franchise that came in the later stages of 2016, but it is now clear that those steps have led them to this stage.
In November, the club announced that it was changing its name from Arizona Untied SC, and simultaneously unveiled plans for a new stadium and training complex at the northwest corner of the 101 and 202 freeway. That came months after an ownership change, as it was revealed last summer that a group led by Berke Bakay was purchasing the team.
On Thursday, the club issued an announcement revealing that organization leaders had met MLS officials before deciding to submit the bid. “Being invited to submit an MLS expansion team application is an honor,” said Bakay in the announcement. “It has always been our intention to bring Division 1 professional soccer to Arizona. But, we will need every soccer fan, business and community leader to quickly come together and support our application effort in order to achieve this incredible goal for our state.”
The entry of Phoenix comes just days in advance of the application deadline. Submissions for expansion are due on January 31, and two cities are expected to be accepted by the league later this year.
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