After a sale of the team to founder and current head coach Jon Pearlman, FC Tucson will be dropping to USL League Two from League One–but will work toward a return to USL League One, contingent on a new stadium for the squad.
It’s yet another change in leagues and ownership for the team, now playing out of the Kino Sports Complex North Stadium. The team was launched as a member of the Premier Development League, predecessor to USL League Two, and sold in 2017 to Phoenix Rising FC owner Benevolent Sports. Benevolent Sports owner Brett Johnson had been working toward a Phoenix MLS team before COVID hit, and since has spearheaded development of a new soccer stadium development in downtown Pawtucket for an expansion USL Championship team.
Technically, the team’s brand rights were sold to a new, Tucson-based ownership group led by Pearlman. Pearlman’s group has acquired an option for the club’s USL League One rights that is contingent upon a long-term stadium solution in Tucson.
“The Tucson community has truly embraced their soccer club, and we know that Jon Pearlman and his group of local investors will be excellent stewards of FC Tucson and everything we love about it,” said Brett Johnson, CEO of Benevolent Sports, via press release. “We are grateful to all the fans, sponsors and community members who have supported FC Tucson during the past four years.
“For me, selling FC Tucson is a logical step at this time as I devote my time, attention and capital to the USL Championship expansion team in Rhode Island.”
Pearlman has been with the team since its launch in 2012.
“It is important to the Tucson soccer and business community to build upon our successes, and the best way to do that is to field a League Two team with the intent to return the club to the professional ranks in the near future,” said Pearlman. “We are committed to finding a viable stadium solution which is key to building a successful, sustainable professional club. I have been involved in soccer in this community for nearly three decades, and I am dedicated to seeing FC Tucson continue to be an integral part of Tucson’s storied sports landscape.”
In addition to fielding a League Two team, FC Tucson will continue its women’s program and its partnership with FC Tucson Youth, southern Arizona’s largest youth soccer club.