Phoenix is a world-class entertainment destination. We already have the four major sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL) as well as a multitude of performing arts venues, golf courses and year round parties! Whether you’re a first time visitor or a Valley of the Sun native, you never run out of things to do. And now, if the Phoenix Rising Football Club has it’s way, Major League Soccer will be added to the list of great activities to enjoy.
At first glance, adding a major league soccer team to the mix may seem unnecessary. There are already enough stadium seats to fill, tickets to buy and players to follow. While I could go on for days about the financial benefits of an MLS team, or preach to you about how interest in sports like football and baseball are rapidly declining while soccer continues to grow in global popularity, I won’t. These are obvious reasons and if you’re reading this, you probably already know the main talking points used to gather local support for MLS expansion teams. I’m here to outline a few reasons to support an MLS team that might not already be top of mind.
Soccer brings a city together
From the Emerald City Supporters in Seattle down to the Iron Law Firm of Orlando, soccer supporters are an extremely passionate, close-knit group of fans. The enthusiasm and camaraderie displayed in these groups is incomparable to anything else we see in professional sports. Because Phoenix is a top travel destination, home games for teams like the Suns or Diamondbacks often feel like road games for the Phoenix faithful. Don’t we want a team of our own, one with which we can celebrate victories and mourn losses? Soccer fans across the globe are like no others, and I can only imagine the fellowship Phoenix would feel while rallying together behind Phoenix Rising.
Soccer fans have something to watch nearly all year
For football fans, Sunday afternoons from September to January are by far the best Sundays of the year. We’re all familiar with the postseason slump that kicks in mid-February, peppered with minor excitements like the NFL Combine, draft and training camp. But nothing compares to the excitement of watching regular and postseason games. Soccer is different. The season runs from March through December, giving supporters a short three-month offseason to catch their breath before diving back into nine months of fabulous futball.
Phoenix Rising will bring soccer stars to the Valley
While the MLS talent pool may not be quite on par with established leagues like the English Premier League, it’s no secret that top European talent like Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard often cross the pond to try their hand at American soccer before retiring. As children are continually encouraged to choose soccer over perennial favorites like football, hosting legends will give them a face to face look at their idols, giving them the opportunity to watch players live on the pitch in front of them. There’s no better way to instill sport culture than by experiencing the best it has to offer firsthand.
Bringing a soccer team to Arizona would bring jobs. It would bring money! We can all agree that those are good things. But beyond these basics, it brings an entirely new sport culture to the Valley, something local soccer fans can all cheer for! Keep on crossing those fingers, toes and any other body parts that can cross. The road to winning an expansion team is long – but the prize is great. #RisingAsOne