Former Chelsea and Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba has broken new ground with his new position as a player and part owner Phoenix Rising FC of the second division U.S.L.
Drogba hasn’t played since the end of the 2016 MLS season with the Montreal Impact. Although he scored 23 goals in 41 matches for Montreal, Drogba’s tenure with the Impact ended on down note with the powerful striker finishing his MLS playing days as a reserve after losing a power struggle with coach Mauro Biello.
The Arizona club is one of 12 clubs/cities vying for a place in Major League Soccer and is no doubt hoping that the addition of Drogba to its eclectic ownership group will raise its profile and boost the group’s chances of landing one of four remaining franchises in Don Garber’s Expansion extravaganza, five if Miami’s oft-delayed bid falls through.
Drogba joins celebs Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy fame, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy, and DJ Diplo as minority partners in the ambitious ownership group. Drogba will link up on the playing field with Shaun Wright-Phillips, another former Premier League vet who played most recently for the New York Red Bulls and longtime Mexican international Omar Bravo.
“I have taken my time in deciding what I wanted to do next and am really excited about the opportunity at Phoenix Rising FC,” Drogba said in a statement released by the club.
“After seeing first-hand the potential for expansion of the sport in North America and getting to know the ownership group in Phoenix, I am convinced that I can help them develop their organization on and off the pitch,” Drogba said in that same release. “I look forward to their continued success in the USL, and no city is better positioned than Phoenix for expansion into the MLS.”
If Drogba can help deliver Major League Soccer to the desert he just might beat fellow ex-Premier League and Major League Soccer star, David Beckham to the punch.