Sporting Arizona FC Article

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Full nameSporting Arizona Football Club
Nickname(s)Sporting AZ FC
Founded1989
Capacity1,500
ChairmanTim Marchisotto
Manager Aidan Davison
League UPSL
Website Club website

Sporting Arizona FC is an American soccer team based in Gilbert, Arizona. Founded in 1989, the team was a member of several professional and semi-pro leagues. They are now a member of the Arizona Conference of the United Premier Soccer League.

History

The club originally started in 1989 as the Phoenix Hearts in the original indoor SISL league. They made an immediate impact on the league when they went to the 1989–1990 SISL indoor championship before falling to the Addison Arrows. Heat coach Peter Baralić was named Coach of the Year. [1] They changed their name to the Arizona Cotton in 1992 and played both indoor and outdoor for one more year in the USISL, before joining the amateur USISL Premier League in 1995. In 1992, they again went to the final of the USISL Indoor season, losing to the Atlanta Magic. The Arizona coach, Zelimar Antonievic, was named Coach of the Year. [2] In 1996, the team became the Arizona Phoenix. In 1997, they changed their name again, this time to Arizona Sahuaros, and moved up to the USISL D-3 Pro League. In 1998, the Sahuaros front office named 3 player coaches to take over the Sahuaros Professional franchise, Mate Kozul (Head Coach), Edson Rico and Roger Salazar (Assistant coaches). With their connections in the Valley they assembled a strong team of former HS Gatorade Players of the Year, College All Americans and National JUCO Champions from Yavapai College. That year the Sahuaros were crowned the Western Division Champions and coach Matt Kozul was named USISL Coach of the Year. [3] After the 2002 season, the Sahuaros left the USL D-3 Pro League and helped form the new Men's Premier Soccer League, finishing the season as champions in the first year. The Sahuaros competed in the NPSL until 2004, after which the club chose to play in USASA affiliated leagues. They re-joined the NPSL in 2008. In 2000–2009, the Sahuaros hired Petar Draksin as their head coach, he made a significant contribution to the Sahuaros franchise by bringing in many talented players and winning many significant games in the different leagues.

The Sahuaros were renamed Sporting Arizona FC. They joined the UPSL on January 8, 2017 and were placed in the Arizona Conference along with the Arizona Scorpions FC, El Salto United FC & Super Inter AZ. [4]

Players

Notable former players

  • Honduras Roger Espinoza (2013 – Premier League – Wigan Athletic) [5] (2008 Super Draft – MLS 11th pick in the 1st round – Kansas City) [6]
  • United States Allen Chapman (Professional referee working in MLS since 2012) [7]
  • United States Nick DeLeon (2012 Super Draft – MLS 7th pick in the 1st round – DC United) [8]
  • United States Justin Meram [9]
  • United States Scott Maxwell (1991/92 Indoor Season – acquired from SISL's Amarillo Challengers)
  • United States Randy Soderman

Year-by-year

Outdoor team

Year Division League Reg. Season Playoffs Open Cup
Phoenix Hearts
1990 SISL 3rd, Western Quarter-finals Did not enter
1991 SISL 5th, Southwest Did not qualify Did not enter
Arizona Cotton
1992 USISL 4th, Southwest Did not qualify Did not enter
1993 USISL 7th, Southwest Did not qualify Did not enter
1994 3 USISL 5th, Southwest Did not qualify Did not enter
1995 4 USISL Premier League 6th, Western Did not qualify Did not qualify
Arizona Phoenix
1996 4 USISL Premier League 3rd, Western Southern Division Semi-finals Did not qualify
Arizona Sahuaros
1997 3 USISL D-3 Pro League 6th, West Did not qualify Did not qualify
1998 3 USISL D-3 Pro League 1st, Western Division Quarter-finals 2nd round
1999 3 USL D-3 Pro League 3rd, Western Conference Semi-finals 2nd round
2000 3 USL D-3 Pro League 6th, Western Did not qualify Did not qualify
2001 3 USL D-3 Pro League 4th, Western Conference Semi-finals Did not qualify
2002 3 USL D-3 Pro League 3rd, Western 1st round Did not qualify
2003 4 MPSL 3rd Champions Did not qualify
2004 4 MPSL 3rd Runner-up Did not qualify
2005 On Hiatus
2006 USASA n/a n/a 1st round – Sahuaros (USASA) vs BYU Cougars (USL-PDL) 5–1 [10]
2nd Round – Sahuaros (USASA) vs Virginia Beach Mariners (USL-D1) 0–1 [11]
2007 USASA n/a n/a Did not qualify
2008 4 NPSL 2nd, Southwest Did not qualify 1st round
2009 USASA n/a n/a 1st round – El Paso Patriots (USL-PDL) vs Sahuaros (USASA) 2–1 [12]
2010 USASA n/a n/a 1st round – Sahuaros (NPSL) vs Ventura County Fusion (USL-PDL) 1–1 regulation 4–2 PKs [13]
2nd Round – Austin Aztex (USSF-D2) vs Sahuaros (NPSL) 3–1 [14]
2011 On Hiatus
2012 USASA n/a n/a Did not qualify
2013 USASA n/a n/a Did not qualify
2014 USASA n/a n/a Did not qualify
2015 USASA n/a n/a Did not qualify
2016 USASA n/a n/a Did not qualify
Sporting Arizona FC
2017 (Spring) UPSL 1st, Arizona Conference Quarter-finals Did not qualify
2018 (Spring) UPSL 1st, Southwest Conference Championship Final 1st round – Sporting AZ FC (UPSL) vs FC Arizona (NPSL) 1–0 [15]
2nd Round – Sporting AZ FC (UPSL) vs Phoenix Rising FC (USL) 1–1 regulation 5–4 PKs [16]
3rd Round – Fresno FC (USL) vs Sporting AZ FC (UPSL) 2–1 in overtime.

Indoor team

Year League Reg. Season Playoffs
Phoenix Hearts
1989/90 SISL Indoor 1st, Cactus Championship Final
1990/91 SISL Indoor 4th, Southwest Quarter-finals
1991/92 USISL Indoor 4th, Southwest Did not qualify
Arizona Cotton
1992/93 USISL Indoor 2nd, Southwest Championship Final

Honors

  • MPSL Champions 2003
  • USL D-3 Pro League West Division Champions 1998
  • SISL Cactus Division Champions 1989/90 (Indoor)
  • UPSL Arizona Conference Champions 2017 (Spring Season)
  • UPSL Southwest Conference Champions 2018 (Spring Season)

Hall of Fame

Head coaches/Assistant coaches

Stadia

  • Stadium at Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, Arizona (1989–2012)
  • Pioneer Park, Peoria AZ & Grande Sports World, Casa Grande, AZ (2012–2017)
  • Chandler-Gilbert Community College (2017–present)

References

  1. ^ The Year in American Soccer – 1990
  2. ^ The Year in American Soccer – 1993
  3. ^ The Year in American Soccer – 1998
  4. ^ "United Premier Soccer League Welcomes Sporting AZ Football Club as Expansion Team for 2017". prlog.org. January 8, 2017. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  5. ^ http://www.wiganlatics.co.uk/news/article/13-01-04-espinoza-deal-complete-578621.aspx
  6. ^ http://www.mlssoccer.com/players/roger-espinoza
  7. ^ http://soccerstats.us/bios/allen-chapman/
  8. ^ http://www.mlssoccer.com/players/nick-deleon
  9. ^ http://www.azsahuaros.com/tate.html
  10. ^ http://thecup.us/2006-lamar-hunt-us-open-cup-bracket/
  11. ^ http://thecup.us/2006-lamar-hunt-us-open-cup-bracket/
  12. ^ http://thecup.us/2009-lamar-hunt-us-open-cup-bracket/
  13. ^ http://thecup.us/2010-us-open-cup-first-round-sahuaros-knock-out-defending-pdl-champions-in-pk-shootout/
  14. ^ http://thecup.us/2010-us-open-cup-second-round-marosevic-sparks-aztex-past-sahuaros/
  15. ^ http://thecup.us/2018/05/16/2018-us-open-cup-round-1-sporting-az-edges-fc-arizona-in-budding-rivalry-in-the-desert/
  16. ^ http://thecup.us/2018/05/21/2018-us-open-cup-round-2-sporting-az-lone-upsl-team-left-after-pk-upset-of-phoenix-rising/

External links