Ex-Chelsea star sings a player-administrator deal
This deal affirms the drive of America to develop its soccer league, and rival other major leagues in the world.
This deal was celebrated by the USL on twitter.
According to statement from the club, Drogba will initially join the club in a playing role before transitioning to an executive position.
“Didier Drogba will help us express our appreciation for the tremendous partnership we have received from the League by serving as an ambassador for soccer on the pitch and within USL cities we will be visiting across North America.”
“The professionalism, financial stability and growth of the USL has created an unprecedented platform for us to attract internationally acclaimed soccer players to Phoenix,” said Phoenix Rising FC Governor, Berke Bakay.
For Phoenix Rising, signing Drogba is a part of its long-term plans to become an expansion franchise in Major League Soccer. Drogba said in a statement “…after seeing first-hand the potential for expansion of the sport in North America and getting to know the ownership group in Phoenix, I am convinced that I can help them develop their organization on and off the pitch. I look forward to their continued success in the USL, and no city is better positioned than Phoenix for expansion into the MLS."
This new deal by Drogba, alongside other previous signing of players like Omar Bravo, Joe Cole, Marcel Schafer and Shaun Wright-Phillip, has elevated the USL to its role in the North American soccer landscape, securing Division II status from the U.S. Soccer Federation and launching the 2017 season with the largest field of teams in its history at 31.
The success of the league is due to its passionate and committed ownership groups, sophisticated and proven business model, and ongoing investments in key areas such as stadium infrastructure, broadcast and player development initiatives.
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