FC Arizona launched their mission to be Arizona’s first professional soccer team on August 5th. Soccer fans from around the East Valley flocked to MCC and drew on the enthusiasm and determination of the young franchise’s owner, Scott Taylor, as he pledged to them his dedication to the local community and local talent he hopes to draw from.
The event centered on announcements relating to the team. They showcased their seal, done in the tradition of European football clubs with Arizona touches – copper gilding and iconography of the state flag. Their mascot, Rampant the lion, also made an appearance, taking pictures and winning over fans before and after the presentation. The launch party’s big topics of interest for attendees were the announcement of their first contracted player and hearing from the head staff how they plan to bring this team to life.
Mesa’s Mayor John Giles and John Lewis, East Valley Partnership director and former mayor of Gilbert, lead the speech making with enthusiastic support. Both mentioned the high performance of amateur players in the schools and in leagues. The emphasis on pride in local talent hit a high point when they announced their first signed player, Andrew Weber. He attended McClintock High School and was goal keeper for the Portland Timbers in 2015 when they won the MLS Cup.
Brother Scott Taylor of Chandler took this dream of an East Valley-based team and is running with it, full-steam, backed with a knowledge of sound business practices and a love of the game’s rich traditions. He coached his son’s youth team, watches professional games, and he really grabbed hold of the mission for FC AZ after a visit to Scotland and England. “We really want to focus on the atmosphere of the game,” he said, reminiscing on the enthusiasm and local pride he saw at a Dundee v. Aberdeen match.
Coach Aiden Davison, of Durham, England, reinforced the importance of local support. “Clubs like this,” he said, “are nothing without community and fans.” Of course, they’re nothing without good play, either. Using his experience with clubs in England and Ireland, he promised his coaching and the team would stand strong on three pillar values: “hard work, commitment, and dedication.”
Although Coach Davison comes from the classic tradition, FC Arizona is all about drumming up local support and local talent. In Mayor Giles’ opening comments, he shared a bit about the “huge interest” in the community for soccer, and how the city is working hard to develop youth and amateur soccer facilities to meet the high demand. Exceptional Arizona players will now have an outlet on the professional level. Those who are interested should keep an eye on the FC AZ website for camps, open tryouts, and open invitational games to help Davison and his coaching staff recruit the best Arizona has to offer.
Games will begin in March 2017, and tickets will start at around $10. Check out their website for announcements, youth events and leagues, and support club opportunities. FC AZ’s current venue is MCC, and the greatest support the community can give is attendance!