It's time for some accountability Phoenix FC
By Garrett Cleverly
Phoenix FC's inaugural season came to a close on August 16th at Reach 11 when the Rochester Rhinos defeated the Wolves 4-3. Since then I have been conflicted on how AZKicksit should cover the highest level of professional soccer this state has ever seen.
On one hand, as a journalist, I feel a duty to cover the team fairly and given all the turmoil which has plagued the club I am proud to say AZKicksit has remained positive in our coverage and purposely failed to report and cover things that would cause negative publicity. AZKicksit believed the success of Phoenix FC was imperative to Arizona soccer.
Well, AZKicksit is starting to think differently.
How can AZKicksit cover a franchise that has done so little themselves and has burned way too many bridges along the way? For me, I'm willing to let things go. It's the first year, they are learning and in reality there is no blueprint on how to build a team from nothing and into something special. Some franchises get lucky and others are unlucky.
For Phoenix FC, this unlucky cloud, which has surrounded the club, is a matter of internal issues and mistakes. It would take about a day to explain how Phoenix FC lost the Academy; their fault. Then there is the ASU stadium situation, multiple lawsuits, treatment of season tickets holders. The list goes on.
And today the pinnacle occurred.
A player from Phoenix FC called me and asked if I knew what the current situation of Phoenix FC was. Are they coming back next year? Where are they playing? Do you know any news? These questions dominated our conversation. And on a side note, AZKicksit is hearing that if Phoenix FC comes back they will be playing at Mesa Community College.
A player asking a journalist for information is nothing new in the world of sports. However this situation is different. This player like many others is owed money. AZKicksit is hearing that multiple players are owed a sizable amount of money in unpaid bonuses. The bonuses were built into the contracts the players signed and the bonuses were supposed to be paid regularly.
Some of the players who have not been paid are from out of state and purposely moved here. With money running out, many players are going to have to make the tough choice to return home or stay in Arizona and remain optimistic. For the players who live in the state what do they do? They are the future of this state and the general sentiment I'm hearing is that many players are over soccer, which is just horrible to hear.
And where is the accountability from Phoenix FC? They have lied to countless people and need to put on some big boy pants and understand they run a professional franchise. And Phoenix FC, view what I say as constructive criticism. The fans are there. Look at the first home game. It had over 4,000 people.
But given what we have seen, I don't even know if having a team in Phoenix next year is worth it after we have seen how this franchise has operated in year one. How is year two going to be any different?