Mesa Community College will be the host field for the only professional soccer team in the East Valley, They will be playing at the John D. Riggs stadium as early as spring of 2017. The team will be called “Football Club (FC) Arizona,” and is owned by Chandler businessman Scott Taylor. Taylor says among the reasons for choosing MCC is its close proximity to two freeways and is easily accessible to anyone coming from all corners of the valley. “MCC has been great to work with and the location is solid,” said Taylor. “The team will be playing in the largest venue in the East Valley other than Sun Devil Stadium,” he added.John Mulhern is the Director of Athletics for MCC. “From a college standpoint, having the soccer participate at our football stadium is a great opportunity for our college, exposure for our college and it’s a good venue for the soccer organization,” said Mulhern. “I think it’s great and I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” he added.
Andrew Weber is the first player signed to the team, his signing was announced during FC Arizona’s launch party on August 5, 2016 Weber is a veteran goalkeeper in professional soccer, he spent nine seasons in Major League Soccer playing for D.C. United, San Jose Earthquakes, and the Seattle Sounders. Last year he won the MLS Cup with the Portland Timbers. The Tempe resident said he’s looking forward to playing close to home. During the launch party, Weber thanked Scott Taylor, “For allowing me to come home and play in front of my home fans. I’m really looking forward to it.” The hiring of Aiden Davison as head coach was also announced at the launch party. Davidson is a seasoned veteran of various teams in his native country of England from 1987 to 2008; He became a coach after retiring as a player in 2009.
FC Arizona will be playing in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), an organization that formed in 2003 in California with a handful of teams. The NPSL has expanded to include 84 teams in 29 states. FC Arizona will be in the Southwest Division and is expected to play most of their games against California teams. They will have 10 home games in the 2017 season. Other newer teams in the league, such as Orlando City SC and FC Cincinnati have found great success playing their games near college campuses. With low ticket prices and fans eager to root on local teams, attendance at games has been very high, selling as many as 7 or 8 thousand single game tickets. Taylor said the games won’t be a financial burden on students and local community. The $10 ticket price should add to the excitement of going to a game.During home games, the team will have live music and games in the Pita Jungle Parking lot across from the college campus. During the game, there will be a giant Jumbotron on the field.
Beginning in November, the team will have representatives on campus 2 to 3 days a week promoting the upcoming season and to inform people about the team. Taylor says, “No one really knows it’s coming and it should be exciting and fun”. Taylor got the idea of having a team in the East Valley after a trip to Scotland and England. He saw the passion and fire in the fans attending a match between Aberdeen and Dundee and wanted to bring some of that enthusiasm back home. Taylor says the team is recruiting players. Open tryouts for the FC Arizona will be held on November 25. More information can be found on the team’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/FCArizonaSoccer or the website at www.fcarizona.com.