In our series of 5 Names to Watch in Arizona Soccer we explore some of the most influential soccer names in the Grand Canyon State. Katie Cole led the series as a woman that is defining female player development not just in Arizona, but in the nation. Today we introduce a coach that has long had an impact on developing the best soccer talent in the country on the men’s side.
There’s a new coach on the Arizona soccer scene, and his name is Jon Pearlman. Pearlman took over as the head coach of FC Tucson back in February. However, he’s been integral in the team’s success since its inception. Pearlman has been FC Tucson’s general manager since 2010, where he oversees club management and scouting. His success as a recruiter has helped FC Tucson attract roughly 30 local and foreign professional players since their inaugural season. Seven former players have moved on to play at the pro level for Major League Soccer.
Pearlman admits that his new role will be a challenge, but says he’s up for the task. “It is a new challenge in a league I know well,” Pearlman said. “To be able to coach the players you have selected as a GM and Technical Director and design the playing vision on the field is a special opportunity.”
Pearlman took over for former head coach Rick Schantz, who moved on to a coaching role with Arizona’s professional soccer team, Phoenix Rising FC. Pearlman has led Tucson to an impressive start since taking over as head coach. They currently sit atop the Mountain Division standings. They also earned a 1-1 draw against the Phoenix Rising FC in a late April scrimmage. The game was played in Kino Sports Complex in front of over 2,000 Tucson soccer fans.
Pearlman has helped to establish FC Tucson as a major player in the Arizona soccer scene. The rise of FC Tucson has helped Tucson become one of the Southwest’s major soccer hubs. They have partnered with MLS to host preseason games and preseason tournaments featuring big name franchises like the New York Red Bulls, Seattle Sounders FC, and Portland Timbers.
“We have some extremely exciting things happening on the youth, first team, and MLS preseason side,” said Pearlman. “Everyone should stay tuned for the next few months there are many new developments on the horizon.”
Pearlman is also a community leader and has contributed to the rise of Tucson soccer for over 20 years. Pearlman’s efforts are primarily towards developing youth programs in the area. He led Sabino High School’s team to a state championship in 2005 and has been a U.S. Soccer Federation Youth National Team Scout since 2010.
Pearlman has also contributed to local youth soccer development through the Tanque Verde Soccer Club. The club seeks to provide opportunities for youth soccer development on a local level. Pearlman has served as the group’s Executive Director of coaching for the past 15 years.
The sky appears to be the limit for Tucson soccer with people like Pearlman at the helm. Pearlman’s influence on local soccer has been seen in every facet from scouting to player development and coaching.
“I think we have a wealth of talent and a community that loves the game,” Pearlman said. “Tucson is an excellent soccer city and I believe stacks up well in many areas against any city in the U.S.”
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