FC Tucson Leads USL Division III's West Coast Expansion
February 6, 2018 - United Soccer League Division III (USL D3) News Release
TUCSON, Ariz. - USL Division III welcomed today FC Tucson as its first founding member of the league's West Coast conference. Recently acquired by the USL's Phoenix Rising FC, FC Tucson will bring professional soccer to the more than one-million residents of the second-largest city in Arizona. Today's announcement also marks the first formal affiliation between USL and USL Division III clubs. An in-market announcement celebrating FC Tucson's move to the new professional league will occur later this year.
FC Tucson has consistently delivered on-field success in the Premier Development League since beginning play in 2012, having:
amassed a record of 53-15-18 in the regular season and 5-5 record in the PDL Playoffs.
garnered three PDL Mountain Division Championships (2014, 2015, 2017).
secured one PDL Southwest Division Championship (2016).
finished as three-time PDL Western Conference Finalists (2014, 2015, 2016).
competed in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup four times (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017).
"FC Tucson's move to USL Division III demonstrates the visionary ownership that exists within the USL system, and I applaud the club's leadership for recognizing the opportunity to continue growing their clubs and the communities in which they operate," said USL CEO Alec Papadakis. "We are thrilled to have FC Tucson as a founding member of USL Division III alongside South Georgia Tormenta FC, and expect the club to continue its tremendous record of success from the Premier Development League."
Phoenix Rising FC Governor Berke Bakay leads an ownership comprised of successful and experienced CEOs, private equity financiers, entrepreneurs, real estate experts, surgeons and global leaders in the entertainment industry - including multi-platinum recording artist Diplo, Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz and veteran Major League Baseball pitcher Brandon McCarthy. The ownership group also includes Tucson native Dr. Mark Leber. The successful USL club acquired FC Tucson in October 2017, continuing to reinforce its investment into professional soccer in Arizona.
"We're on the front lines of the growth of professional soccer in the U.S., and we see tremendous potential for professional soccer in Tucson," said Dr. Leber. "The city has proven time and again, through its successful MLS Preseason tournament and support of FC Tucson in the PDL, that there is an appetite for professional soccer in the market. At Phoenix Rising FC, we intend to continue raising the bar for the quality of soccer in the state, and launching a professional team in Tucson will help us establish a true player development pipeline."
The city of Tucson has experienced the thrill of professional soccer for years, as FC Tucson has hosted an MLS Preseason event, the Mobile Mini Sun Cup, since 2011. The event regularly draws sellout crowds, and is featuring 11 MLS clubs, as well as Phoenix Rising FC, for this year's tournament at Kino Sports Complex which began with a sell-out crowd on February 3rd and will continue through February 24th.
FC Tucson - which currently competes at Kino North Stadium - will anchor the western expansion of USL Division III, as the league grows to a three-conference structure, emphasizing regional rivalries. The club joins South Georgia Tormenta FC, based in Statesboro, Georgia, as a founding member of the new league. Led by Majority Owners Darin and Netra Van Tassell, Tormenta FC has established itself as one of the premier amateur teams across the United States. Tormenta FC recently filed plans to construct a new state-of-the-art 5,000-seat soccer-specific stadium in Statesboro, which will provide an exciting and authentic professional soccer experience for fans and players.
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