Start Small, Think Big – Rosario Lopez & Real Phoenix F.C. Are Building Their Program: Sending The First AZ Futsal Team To U.S. Nationals
Exciting times for soccer in the state of Arizona. FC Tucson is just about to finish their extraordinarily successful season, advancing to the playoffs in their first year in existence in the PDL. Grand Canyon University Men’s soccer program is looking like they will be in Division I soon, the first Men’s program to do this in AZ. Phoenix recently was just awarded a USL Pro franchise for the 2013 season, and in the midst of all this Rosario Lopez is quietly building his soccer program Real Phoenix F.C.
If Rosario’s name rings a bell it’s because he was in talks earlier this year to purchase and become involved with the Phoenix Monsoon. The deal never went though and Rosario, owner of the successful Arizona Saguaros Volleyball Club, decided to make his own soccer club.
Rosario believes in a pyramid philosophy to help build a successful organization. Instead of immediately fielding a team in any level of outdoor semi-pro soccer in America, Rosario will slowly be building his club starting with a futsal team.
“Starting with futsal as our first step is very important for Real Phoenix F.C. because futsal will always remain an important part of our training regiment. I believe that futsal teaches the complete game and so with futsal we will introduce Real Phoenix F.C. to the community.”
By preaching that an organization needs a foundation, Rosario has been able to recruit and train many talented valley players who share the same idea, start small think big.
One of those players is technically gifted Imad Id-Deen, who recently played for the PHX Monsoon and joined us on our podcast a few months ago. Imad agreed with the pyramid philosophy saying, “If you don’t have the money up front then obviously you have to build from the ground up, the PHX Monsoon just jumped into it. Rosario is doing a good job, has the girls with the volleyball so many people enjoying the club in general, a step in the right direction.”
Throughout the years Phoenix has seen numerous pro teams come and go. Rosario is looking to break this trend by creating a organization versus creating a team. Instead of just one team Rosario is looking to make an organization that ranges from youth teams to pro teams.
After futsal Rosario looks to create a PASL Pro team in the winter of 2012. This team will work in conjunction with already established indoor team Prove It FC. Once 2013 hits Rosario will begin preparation to field a PDL-USL team.
Until all this happens though Rosario’s focus is currently of his futsal team that will be leaving for California on Friday morning to compete in the 27th annual U.S. Futsal National Championships. They will become the first team from Arizona to compete in the tournament.
Rosario & Real Phoenix are looking to make a name for themselves at Nationals. With a roster full of former Division I, Pro & International players, the team feels they have a good chance.
“We got a good group of boys here from all over, lots of experience, young and older players,” said Tyler Little, originally from Yuma and played Division I soccer at Longwood University. “A lot of hard work is going on here. We know this tournament is going to be tough, but I think we come out with a lot of heart, you can tell that out here. I’m looking for a good tournament.”
By watching the team at practice you can tell the team has a perfect blend of younger players and older players. Rosario preaches the importance of having experienced players that can help teach the younger players the way. One of the most experienced players on the team is Heber Valenzuela, originally from Durango, Mexico. Heber has been living in the U.S. for 13 years now playing for Phoenix College, GCU & the Sahuaros.
“I’ve been playing here for 13 years now. Knowing good players out there and seeing them here means that there is something here of interest for every player, and I see a lot of professionalism coming from Rosario.”
Rosario’s ambition is contagious, and after seeing the display of talent that his team exhibited during practice its easy to see why this team and this organization has high hopes for the future.