Phoenix Rising FC: Didier Drogba Joins Star-Studded USL Franchise As Player/Co-Owner

Chris Wright

13th, April 2017



Didier Drogba has signed on for United Soccer League (USL) side Phoenix Rising as both a player and a co-owner.

Phoenix have just begun their fourth season in the USL, the second tier of the US league system, but are currently bidding against 12 other clubs for one of two available MLS franchise expansion berths.

As such, Drogba has joined the club’s ownership group, where he will enjoy co-ownership with music producer Diplo and Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz among others.

As a functioning squad member, the former Chelsea striker will also be playing alongside such luminaries as Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jordan Stewart and Peter Ramage.

After the news was broken on social media, Drogba, 39, told the United Soccer League website:

To own a team and be a player at the same time is unusual but it’s going to be very exciting.

It’s a good transition because I want to carry on playing but I’m almost 40 and it’s important for me to prepare for my later career.

What a truly magical time to be alive.

Posted in International football, MLS, Newsnow

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  1. Liam says:

    USL is actually the third tier, behind MLS (obviously) and NASL.

    • Liam says:

      To correct myself… it’s seen as the third tier as the standard is considered slightly below that of the NASL even though US Soccer categorises it at the same level.

      • Chris Wright says:

        @Liam: I understand what you’re getting at, but the USL is *technically* the same tier of the league system as NASL – i.e, the second.

        • ChrisCan says:

          As of this year, USL is officially second tier. NASL is also technically still second tier (the US Federation is weird like that), but it has truly become a shambles and many of its decent clubs jumped ship recently and joined USL (after the collapse — again — of the ownership of the New York Cosmos). NASL only has eight clubs left, and the league has been terribly mismanaged over the last several years. I wouldn’t be surprised if it folded within a year. USL, however, is going very strong with 31 teams, has a promising partnership with MLS, and looks like it will be the true American second-tier league for years to come.

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