Friday, February 14, 2014

SC Phoenix

The base of the team in Phoenix was started with Phoenix FC of the USL. The Wolves were still around after the NASL picked the USL dry. They were rumored to make the jump to the NASL, but the USL shot down those rumors in an attempt to get them to stay in the 3rd tier. The team really did want to move to the NASL, but the league felt they needed such a big market to sustain the league for the future. By 2019 the team and the league were at each other’s necks. But what they did was declare that they were going to fold at the end of the year, and a new team would begin playing in the NASL the next year.

After all this drama, the team began playing using the SC Phoenix moniker. Using desert colors, the team tried to get the soccer interest of Phoenix and the surrounding area. They got the backing of some rich people from Arizona, and the team started to make moves. In addition to the same basic roster, they picked up a MLS player looking to get back into the top league to put at midfield. They also picked up a former Mexican international that had gotten kicked out of Liga MX due to a match fixing scandal to put in defense. The support was growing, thanks to the more marketability of the new league. Playing teams like the Cosmos and Indy Eleven was more appealing to fans than playing teams from Charleston or Harrisburg. But the team was still playing in the Padres/Mariners spring training stadium the nearby city of Peoria, the home of Phoenix FC. They began looking at places in downtown Phoenix that could hold a stadium. In 2024 they signed a deal to bring an 18,000 seat stadium to downtown, near the Suns’ arena. This was huge because the promotion/relegation deal had just been made, and everyone was gearing themselves for promotion. The owners then wanted to spend and spend to bring the very best team to the area in time for the move. The cost was split 50-50 between public and private money to build the “Phoenix Soccer Complex”. They began signing good players to huge contracts, and building a better youth facility. The previous players had been training on surrounding baseball fields at the spring training complex. A Mexican U-20 team player was brought in to help out at attack, the main area for Phoenix’ lack of trophies. They also picked up a player the Cosmos were in a contract discussion with, but didn’t want to shell out the money the player wanted. Him at defense would help the whole back line. The team had a mix of US and Mexican players, and the community was getting really into it. In 2026, the team made the playoffs for the first time. Everything was on pace for promotion. They had won 3 straight Desert Derbies over Las Vegas and later Albuquerque. Going into 2027, the fans had a new stadium, and two former top division European players to look forward to. Specifically, a player from the Dutch league, and a player from the Czech Republic. The Saguaros were picked as a team with a chance to win the Soccer Bowl, but the week leading up to the championship, the worst thing happened. Their rich owner was arrested for insider trading on the stock market. This was a huge blow, they didn’t have the main source of income for the team. A month into the season, a story broke about the players not being paid. By the end of that year, the team was bankrupt. To save face, and the risk of only fielding 23 teams in the first promotion/relegation season, the league ran the team. With the help of the city of Phoenix(who didn’t want to spend public money for a stadium to have them fold), they sold off all of their players, and picked up the cheapest free agents they could. The 2028 team was historically bad, but that was because the league ran everything but the lineup. The coach did show some class and took what he could with the team he was given. He accepted a pay cut to help the team. In 2029, the team averaged 22.4 years of age, mostly youth players rushed into the starting lineup. Decent USL players were brought in too. In June of the season, the team got out of the red, and the owner of the Cardinals picked up the tab, and SC Phoenix finally got to their feet. They did go out and pick up some former MLS players to help train the youngsters, but a lot of people have Phoenix as being relegated. They still averaged 9k fans a game, even though all the trouble. If they can save themselves for one year, and build upon it, they might be able to turn everything around and make the top tier down the road.

The colors were the colors of a Diamondback concept I did at one time. It was the old colors with black instead of purple. I used a shape I played with and some cacti I made last year, with the Arizona flag on top. I went with a Manchester United type look for them, and matched with the rare teal uniform, I thought it looked halfway decent. The clash has some of that bronze I used, but I didn’t want to pull the trigger on a metallic top.

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