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.
Mercato : Didier Drogba signe au Phoenix Rising FC, en D2 américaine! https://t.co/CTDajt2QBL pic.twitter.com/g4IFFBfWs6— France Football (@francefootball) March 28, 2017
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.
.@PHXRisingFC pro #soccer team sells out first home game in #Phoenix - @USL #RisingAsOne. Via @azfamily https://t.co/djBbMKi9a2 pic.twitter.com/SW2TrhmxYU— Crain's (@crains) March 28, 2017
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.
Single-match tickets are on sale now! It's about time you hang out with us this summer. #RisingAsOne TICKETS: https://t.co/31j9oiTNbf pic.twitter.com/miFo3ddB0e— Phoenix Rising FC (@PHXRisingFC) March 17, 2017
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.