Phoenix Rising FC

Phoenix Rising FC Signs Five Youth Academy Players to USL Academy Contracts

April 12, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Phoenix Rising FC News Release

Phoenix Rising FC has signed five local Phoenix Rising Academy players to USL Academy Contracts, the club announced today.

USL Academy Contracts allow players to train and compete with professional players while retaining their college eligibility. Goalkeeper Skylar Odle, defender Christopher Grote, midfielders Cameron Kobey and Logan Veloria and forward Zachary Smuck have been training with the first team and through an offseason USL rule change, are eligible to be part of the matchday roster this season.

Veloria is a student at Arcadia High School, while Kobey attends Arizona College Prep in Chandler. Grote previously attended Hamilton High School. Smuck attends Barca Residency Academy in Casa Grande, Arizona. Isaiah Kaakoush, who Rising signed in January, also attended the Barca Residency Academy. He is currently in Spain training with the FC Barcelona Academy. JP Scearce (Chaparral), Jose Andres Hernandez (Maryvale) and Ryan Flood (Corona del Sol) also attended local high school before signing with Phoenix Rising.

"Each of these players has earned this opportunity through solid performances in the academy environment," said Rising head coach Danny Stone, who also attended Corona del Sol high school in the 90's. "This is important in merging our youth system and the professional side of the club. These players that have earned the opportunity to work with the first team are not only high-level players. They aid in what we're able to do in first team training.

"These players development," added Stone. "Led by Andy Chapman, David Shaw, Rafa Sifuentes and the rest of the Phoenix Rising Academy staff, is bolstered by this opportunity to be pushed, stretched and forced to have to adapt to a professional way of working."

During the offseason, the USL Competition Committee passed an initiative allowing clubs to include two players under the age of 18 in the gameday roster. Those players do not count against the standard 18-man squad.

"This is a great opportunity for these players to gain the experience of what it is like to be a professional athlete," said Stone. "When points are on the line it becomes a bridge from the academy to pro and on gamedays, from a pro training environment to a pro matchday experience. This can only add to them as players, as people, in whatever their journey ends up being."

Transaction: Rising signs Skylar Odle, Zachary Smuck, Logan Veloria, Christopher Grote and Cameron Kobey to USL Academy Contracts

Name: Skylar Odle

Position: Goalkeeper

Former Club: Phoenix Rising Academy

College: Uncommitted

Height: 6-1

Weight: 170

DOB: January 16, 2005

Birthplace: Manhattan, Kansas

Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona

Name: Zachary Smuck

Position: Forward

Former Club: Barca Residency

College: UC-Irvine

Height: 6-2

Weight: 175

DOB: February 18, 2006

Birthplace: Thousand Oaks, California

Hometown: Thousand Oaks, California

Name: Logan Veloria

Position: Midfielder

Former Club: Phoenix Rising Academy

College: Uncommitted

Height: 5-10

Weight: 155

DOB: May 8, 2006

Birthplace: Phoenix, Arizona

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona

Name: Christopher Grote

Position: Defender

Former Club: Phoenix Rising Academy

College: Uncommitted

Height: 6-0

Weight: 180

DOB: June 8, 2006

Birthplace: Oak Park, Illinois

Hometown: Chandler, Arizona

Name: Cameron Kobey

Position: Midfielder

Former Club: Phoenix Rising Academy

College: Uncommitted

Height: 6-0

Weight: 155

DOB: June 17, 2006

Birthplace: Chandler, Arizona

Hometown: Chandler, Arizona

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