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SOCCER

MLS goal in reach, say Rising players

By - May 31, 2017

By Bianca Barajas/For The Sporting Nation
 
 
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Rising FC is playing to sellout crowds, has a huge international name in Didier Drogba who is soon to make his playing debut and is making its case for a future in Major League Soccer.
 
The team's brand new soccer stadium was built in just 52 days in South Scottsdale and was intended to lure fan’s interest in attendance. Rising has also signed former MLS defender Jordan Stewart, Mexican fan favorite Omar Bravo and Shaun Wright-Phillips from the English Premier League, and is owned by some high-profile investors.
 
Midfielder Matt Watson believes bringing in the bigger names has attracted many fans to the home games.
 
“It’s exciting, you feel the adrenaline boost even with the ups and downs and the fact they are all watching you, it gives the extra push to keep on going,” said Watson.
 
The helpfulness of the crowd's support and chants really intrigues goalkeeper Josh Cohen when playing on the field because it gives him the extra boost of energy whether (Rising) is winning or losing.
 
“It’s fantastic, it gives us a lot of energy on the field  to see everyone in the stands, especially the supporters section… Those guys are awesome and it’s really great to have everyone out there,” said Cohen.
 
Defender Peter Ramage gives credit to all the “behind the scenes” people and everyone who has promoted Phoenix Rising FC to get crowds of people to come and watch the first-year team play.
 
“I think it’s 6,200 (capacity) but you know what, we've been getting over 7,000 which is unbelievable for a new franchise… And for that to happen, it’s magnificent and hopefully it will grow and grow and grow,” said Ramage. 
 
With new coach and former professional player Patrice Carteron in town, the players seem excited to see what he brings to the table.
 
Watson mentioned that Carteron did speak a few words to the players in the locker room recently.
 
“He seems very positive and he seems like he's going to come in and keep the same mentality going, and try to just rectify anything that’s wrong so I’m excited to see what happens,” said Watson. 
 
Carteron will be replacing Frank Yallop, who stepped down as head coach in April to be with his family back in California. Carteron will be taking over on June 5, with Rick Schantz staying as interim coach until then. 
 
“Obviously everybody was disappointed to see Frank leave but we understood his reasonings and its part of football… The new coach is coming in and I can’t wait to work with him, he’s won cups and competitions all over the world and technically he’s a really good coach and it can only benefit us,” said Ramage.
 
Phoenix Rising has been very successful regarding attendance and interest in the franchise, compared to others seeking to get into MLS.
 
“The end goal is to get into MLS and they're doing everything right to get there… This (stadium) built in 52 days just shows the commitment to the cause and hopefully with more hard work, we can get to where they want us to be and that’s in MLS,” said Ramage. 
 

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