Valley professional soccer team hopes to gain fans and Major League status during upcoming season

It's believed soccer is the most popular sport in the world, but one Valley professional team could use some fan support if they want to be a Major League team in the Valley.

The Phoenix Wolves Football Club may be new to the Valley, but its future depends on the fans.

Club leaders are aiming to make it an Major League Soccer team in the future.

"I really think Phoenix needs an MLS team," said Wolves head coach David Robertson.  "It's the fastest growing sport in the United States and particularly in a place like Phoenix you know we just need to make sure people know we exist."

Last year, the Wolves kicked off the season with a crowd of about 4,500 people. The crowds fluctuated throughout the season without a consistent base.

"To be successful we need the community, we need to connect with the community and make sure they know we are here," said General Manager Rui Bento.

The Wolves recently signed a deal to play the upcoming season at the Peoria Sports Complex. The season kicks off in March.

"It's great, we're excited it's (Peoria) is a great place and the fans will enjoy it," said Bento.

Bento's mission is to continue to grow team support and eventually get a MLS team here in Phoenix.

"We need the support of the community and a winning team on the field with a product that creates excitement for everyone," said Bento.

Bento admits, while there is a plan in place, it will take some time before they can making a hard pitch to MLS officials.

"It could take four or five or even six years for us to get there, we have to be very careful how we handle this and we have to be winning and bringing fans first," he said.

The Wolves are part of the USLPro network which is connected to MLS.

"We're competing against the other pro teams of course, but we also play against MLS teams as well and we have players with us who should possibly be playing in the MLS and we have some who have played in MLS," said Robertson.

As the general manager, Bento says he is focused first on fans and the success of the club and with an eye on the MLS in the future, there have been some sleepless nights.

"It all makes me nervous and excited, he said.

Bento says a new marketing plan is in the works to better inform Valley residents of the professional soccer players and team that's kicking the ball right in their backyard.

Robertson said his goal is to win and find the best players in an effort to provide fans with a positive experience.

"We're competing against other major league sports, but I think the population of Phoenix as a whole and I think it's the 5th or 6th largest city in the United States and there definitely needs to be an MLS team," said Robertson.

"This is a game, a sport, a passion for everyone, it's great opportunity for all of us to enjoy the game we love," said Bento.

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