Phoenix FC has been terminated from USL PRO after just one season, ODFC news learned Friday night.
ODFC news learned the club had its USL PRO franchise agreement retracted by the league because it defaulted on a deposit; did not follow several bylaws in the franchise agreement in regards to game operations, club operations and club-to-league communication; and failed to pay players in a timely manner during the club’s inaugural 2013 USL PRO season.
The missteps in Phoenix FC’s one season came early and far too often. Off the field or on, it did not matter. From high ticket prices, fan interaction and customer service (or lack thereof), stadium issues, a rumored player revolt attempt to a two-month winless streak (that helped the team finish second from the bottom of the league) and a heart-breaking, last-second loss in what has turned out to be the club’s final match, Phoenix FC’s one and only season was disastrous.
The club’s initial operating costs were too high and several cost-cutting moves followed by the midpoint of the season as the club’s management members invested more of their own money to try and slow the bleeding.
Phoenix FC’s termination from USL PRO will be heart-breaking news to the club’s players and its entire staff as well as soccer fans in the Valley who stuck by the club throughout the mistakes and losses, holding on to a thin string of hope that professional soccer would finally thrive in Phoenix. Even more so after ODFC news confirmed that the club was set to sign a new stadium deal for the 2014 season just days earlier.
But that season will not come to pass.
The USL PRO has the right to award a franchise in Arizona to another group, if they decide to award one at all. If a franchise is not awarded to another group, then BDR Sports may apply for a franchise in the future.
ODFC news has reached out to Phoenix FC Managing Director Rui Filipe Bento and acting president Tim Donald and is awaiting a response.
What was once a promising start for professional soccer in Phoenix has come down to history repeating itself. Phoenix FC becomes yet another example in the long list of failed attempts to bring professional soccer to the area. Phoenix is again one of the largest metropolitan cities to not have a soccer franchise in the top four tiers of the U.S. soccer league system. That Phoenix FC almost made it to a second season, the farthest any group has ever gone in a full professional league, must be applauded. But it also will set Phoenix professional soccer back another era.