France Football reports that Didier Drogba has signed with USL's Phoenix Rising FC: three years, with a view to moving from the playing staff to an administrative role (sporting director, it is suggested) after this season.
The report advances a rumor that had been floating around: the notion is 39-year-old Drogba still wants to play, hadn't found satisfying options elsewhere, and had been attracted to the idea of joining his former Chelsea teammate, Shaun Wright-Phillips, in Phoenix.
Ambitious Phoenix is rising as promised. If confirmed, Drogba will join a team that has already raised its profile by snapping up SWP and former Mexico international Omar Bravo.
Phoenix Rising FC sold out its USL home opener, but lost, 1-0, to TFC II.
Already boosted by a celebrity ownership group that includes Diplo, and one of the more eye-catching kits in American soccer, the club hopes to be part of the next wave of MLS expansion. That ambition rests more on convincing MLS of its commercial appeal than results on the pitch, and at the moment there are few teams in lower league American soccer promoting themselves more aggressively than the one in Phoenix.
New York Red Bulls II do not have a scheduled game in USL against Phoenix this season. The two teams will only meet this year if they each make the USL Cup final.