Phoenix Rising, only a month into their USL season and mere days after signing player-owner Didier Drogba, has lost its coach after a mere 18 months. Coach Yallop has spent the past year and a half commuting between Phoenix and his family in Northern California, a commute he has cited as the main reason contributing to his resignation. Yallop’s coaching history includes bringing David Beckham to the LA Galaxy, coaching the Canadian Men’s National team and leading the San Jose Earthquakes to 2 MLS titles.
This certainly comes as a surprise to the fans – but even Drogba and Rising owner Berke Bakay were shocked by the news, according to an ESPN report. Yallop will assist the team in naming a new coach, while assistant coach Rich Schantz takes over in the interim. Schantz came to PHX Rising in January after a storied career in local soccer as the Head Coach for FC Tucson and an integral player in the development of youth soccer in the state.
We’ll find out what this means for the team in the coming weeks. They are 2-2 so far in the current USL season and will travel to Tucson this week to play FC Tucson in an exhibition match. They’re back to in-season games in May with four games against competitive teams like San Antonio FC and LA Galaxy II.
It seems to me that the brand new facility, MLS expansion bid, and Drogba’s signing should be able to attract some top soccer coaches to this position. While Yallop helped to set the table for success, it’s unquestionable that this coaching decision will be a major factor in the future success of Phoenix Rising.