Scottsdale a New Soccer Mecca? Phoenix Rising Looking to Use Vacant Scottsdale Space, Why That’s a Good Idea

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Scottsdale as the center of the Arizona soccer universe? It sounds crazy, but it may be closer to becoming reality, as the Phoenix Rising soccer team is considering purchasing or leasing the vacant lot near Oak and 68th Street for their junior league to use.

The Phoenix Rising Football Club is the highest-league soccer club in Arizona and is one of the more prominent clubs in the USL league, a “Division II” league which is one league under Major League Soccer. Founded in 2014, the team has built a considerable following with regular strong attendance and an energized fanbase of followers. In 2020 they made it to the league finals after a 11-2-3 season, but unfortunately the final game was cancelled due to a Covid outbreak on the opposing team.

Considering it’s a school property, the mechanics and decision-making must go through SUSD, with board members Cienewski and Greenburg giving positive statements about the possibility. The lot has not been used by the district since 2014, the same year that the Phoenix Rising FC began operations.

As soccer has risen in popularity in the United States and its coinciding with the exponential growth of Arizona’s population, Arizona makes a lot of sense to become a burgeoning soccer haven. With a large Latino population and a large youth population and our great winter weather, it’s not an impossibility to consider this team rising into the MLS, and Scottsdale becoming a winter training mecca not unlike it is for baseball. This may be Scottsdale’s foot in that door.

Let’s be real: development in Scottsdale has been hard to come by recently. Between incredibly high standards from elected officials and waves of NIMBYism, more projects are dying than thriving. But between the use of an unused lot (and financial windfall), as well as positive positioning in a growing sport with rabid followers, this partnership makes all the sense in the world. We only hope that the NIMBYs don’t invent some reason to be against it.