- NBC Sports to live broadcast Premier League studio show in downtown Phoenix on Jan. 31
- Devon Grousis in talks with USL PRO and NASL clubs but hoping for Arizona United return
- Rob Valentino, still striving for MLS, but focused on Arizona United
- Mexico to play Gold Cup match at University of Phoenix Stadium in July
- Arizona United to play in new stadium starting 2015 USL PRO season, sources said
Arizona United SC’s signed players: announced and unannounced
- Updated: April 8, 2014
Arizona United has been training as a team since last Friday. It has 19 players signed with a few more on trial.
The club announced four players on Monday, with more to come throughout the week leading up to its first ever match — at home at Peoria Sports Complex vs. fellow USL PRO expansion team Oklahoma City Energy FC.
Let’s touch on the players who have been announced as well as those who have yet to be officially announced:
PLAYERS ANNOUNCED ON MONDAY
Brad Stisser, striker
Date of Birth: September 24, 1986
Hometown: Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Former club: Atlanta Silverbacks
Stisser was one of the several players who was supposed to sign with the now defunct USL PRO franchise Phoenix FC and even traveled to Phoenix earlier this year to train ahead of the season. He has been in Phoenix for more than a month, training on his own as well as with former Phoenix FC players who were waiting to sign.
Stisser, entering his fifth year as a professional, played last season with the 2013 NASL Soccer Bowl runner-up Atlanta Silverbacks, scoring two goals in 18 appearances.
Brandon Swartzendruber, striker
Date of Birth: April 2, 1985
Hometown: Grand Junction, Colo.
Former club: Dayton Dutch Lions
Swartzendruber is no stranger to the Valley. He played at Chandler-Gilbert Community College from 2003-2004. He was another player who was supposed to sign with Phoenix FC.
Swartzendruber has played two seasons in USL’s first division. His first with the Harrisburg City Islanders in 2009, scoring four goals in 18 appearances, and with the Dayton Dutch Lions last season, scoring six goals in 25 appearances.
Daniel Antunez, defender
Date of Birth: February 10, 1986
Hometown: Santa Ana, Calif.
Former club: Chivas USA
In his six-year professional career, Antunez played for the Rochester Rhinos in the USL First Division in 2008, Findland second-division club Pallo-Ilirot in 2009, Findland top division side FC Inter Turku in 2010 and 2012, then Mexican fist-division club Estudiantes Tecos in 2011 and MLS club Chivas USA in 2013.
Matt Kassel, midfielder
Kassel is one of the more nationally well-known players who will suit up for Arizona United this season. Kassel first bursted on the national scene as a star midfielder in the U.S. U-15 and U-18 national teams. He was a Home Grown player contract with the New York Red Bulls in 2011.
Kassel played in USL PRO in 2012 for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, earning second team all-league honors after scoring six goals in 18 appearances. He moved on to the Philadelphia Union last season, making five appearances. Union waived Kassel in March.
Date of Birth: October 30, 1989
Hometown: Bridgewater, N.J.
Former club: Philadelphia Union
PLAYERS YET TO BE ANNOUNCED
Scott Morrison, midfielder/defender
Morrison, a former Phoenix FC player, is in the Valley and has signed a contract with Arizona United, according to sources. The left-footed Scot would not have flown in from his native country early this month if that wasn’t the case.
Morrison played left midfield and left back, his natural position, last season for Phoenix FC. He scored three goals in 23 appearances, all from free kicks. He spent his first 10 professional seasons playing in Scotland’s top division.
Devon Grousis, defender
Grousis started at center back and right back for Phoenix FC last season. He has lived in the Valley since signing with the now defunct club, coaching club youth soccer.
Grousis was slated to sign with Phoenix FC and had been training on his own as well as with others who were set to sign. Grousis is training with Arizona United and is likely to sign.
Joseph Toby, defender
Toby, a natural left back who signed with Orlando City in January after spending time with the club’s U-23 setup, tweeted this on April 3:
Toby did not latch on with Orlando City after the club’s preseason. He played for PDL club IMG Academy Bradenton in 2013 PDL season, recording two assists in 11 appearances.
Evan Newton, goalkeeper
Newton, 26, may be the frontrunner to start in goal for Arizona United. The 6-foot-2 Virginia native was selected 7th overall in the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft by the Houston Dynamo. He spent one season in Houston, being loaned to NASL club Tampa Bay Rowdies that May. He then spent the last two seasons with MLS club San Jose Earthquakes.
Earlier this month, Newton tweeted:
Kadeem Dacres, midfielder
Dacres, a 5-foot-8, Rosedale, New York native, is a first-year pro. He recorded seven goals and four assists in 19 starts for the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. He was named the America East Conference Midfielder of the Year and earned first-team all-conference honors.
What coaches had to say about Dacres, courtesy of MLSsoccer.com:
“He’s tough. Good body: Athletic … Hard player. You knew he was going to bring it with everything he had. … Good wide left, tricky, fast, strong, tough. Good feet. Good player … Always had good skill and now has good edge to him… Explosive … He’s fantastic … Like a pro player on the field … Played wide left against us … The moment he gets moving with the ball, it’s so tough. He gets past the first player easily … He’s got power. Makes good choices … Out wide it works better for him … Very good with both feet. I’d say he’s right-footed (hits ball harder) but I’ve seen him do everything with his left.”
Dacres recently changed his bio on Twitter:
Kevin Cope, defender
Cope, a 6-foot-1 Michigan native, was the 25th overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft out of Michigan State. He was selected in the second round by the Philadelphia Union but didn’t end up signing a contract with the club. Cope is known for his leadership qualities and for being strong in the air.
This is what coaches had to say about him, courtesy of MLSsoccer.com:
“Prototypical center back who can probably play right away in MLS … Really, really good leader and competitor; that’s by far the best quality about him … He’s a winner; he makes the guys around him better … He’s terrific in the air, including on the attacking end, despite not being that tall … I don’t think he passes particularly well: He doesn’t look clean like a professional should … Played through cracked ribs in their playoff games.”
Cope tweeted this earlier this month:
NOTE: 17-year-old Tucson native Justen Glad, 17, signed a Home Grown player contract with Real Salt Lake on Monday. Glad joins RSL’s first team after spending two years at the RSL-Arizona Academy residency program.
And now, your Moment of Zin(edine Zidane):