In less than a season, Phoenix Rising Football Club has cemented itself as one of Arizona's best and most exciting professional sports franchises -- and if you have yet to check them out, now's the time to change that.
Originally called Arizona United when the club was founded in 2014, a new ownership group purchased and rebranded the team as Phoenix Rising last year, and moved its home games from Peoria to Tempe before the 2017 season. The team just clinched a playoff spot in the United Soccer League, the second tier of professional soccer in the United States behind Major League Soccer.
— Shane Dale (@ShaneDaleABC15) June 11, 2017
Phoenix Rising has three remaining home games before the postseason begins -- and the next home game happens to be $1 Beer Night.
— Phoenix Rising FC (@PHXRisingFC) October 2, 2017
Not convinced? Here are five more reasons why now is a great time to hop on the Phoenix Rising bandwagon:
1. They're a good team
Valley fans have a lot of choices when it comes to spending their money on sporting events, which is why they're hesitant to spend it on losing teams. Enter Phoenix Rising, which had a five-game winning streak and 11-game undefeated streak going before finally suffering a loss Saturday night in Sacramento.
The Diamondbacks are playoff-bound, but let's be honest: We haven't had a lot of winning pro teams in the Valley lately. Fans have an opportunity to reward one of the teams that is winning, and at a very affordable price.
2. Amazing atmosphere
In just its first season in the East Valley, Phoenix Rising has enjoyed some of the best fan support in the entire United Soccer League. The team's average attendance of 6,122 fans per home game is the sixth-best among all 30 USL teams.
But what really makes Phoenix Rising games fun are the hardcore fans. Fans in the supporters section stand and sing throughout each game and celebrate in a big way when its team scores. The atmosphere at the stadium is never dull, and that makes for an awesome fan experience, win or lose.
— ABC15 Sports (@abc15sports) March 26, 2017
3. Convenient location
One reason for the strong fan turnout? The location of the Phoenix Rising FC Stadium Complex, a 6,200-seat facility that was built in less than two months. The stadium is located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, at 751 N McClintock Dr. in Tempe near the 101/202 intersection, on the other side of the 202 from Tempe Marketplace.
The stadium is just a 15-minute drive from downtown Phoenix and not far from most East Valley suburbs. It's easy to get in and out of the parking lot, and a parking fee of $1.50 is built into every ticket purchased. Click here for directions.
One of the world's best, most recognized soccer players just so happens to play here in the Valley. Didier Drogba, a former star in the English Premier League who made ESPN's "World Fame 100" list, joined Phoenix Rising as a player and co-owner in April. Phoenix Rising received international attention when Drogba made his on-field debut with the team two months later.
Drogba has scored five goals with the club so far this season. He has missed some time due to a minor groin injury, but the team hopes to have him back in the lineup soon.
5. MLS dreams
All the moves Phoenix Rising have made in the last year have been part of the club's effort to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to the Valley.
MLS is expected to announce two new expansion franchises by the end of this year, and two more next year. With the ability to create a tax-free, state-of-the-art MLS-sized stadium on or near the same land as their current stadium, Phoenix Rising has an excellent chance to land one of those franchises, making now as good a time as ever to jump aboard the bandwagon.
— ABC15 Sports (@abc15sports) May 10, 2017