After one season playing in Scottsdale, Arizona United – the only professional soccer team in Arizona – is coming back to where it started, the Peoria Sports Complex.
The team announced Jan. 26 it had agreed to a three-year deal to play home games at the Peoria Sports Complex, beginning this season with the first game scheduled for April 30 against the Portland Timbers.
“We happily welcome Arizona United and all their players and fans back to Peoria,” said Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat. “Arizona United is the type of franchise that will fit right into our baseball offerings and year-round first-class sports and entertainment at Peoria Sports Complex.”
The three-year contract will hold financial penalties against the team if they are not able to complete the entire contract, but Hyland adds that the city and staff of the complex are excited about the team’s return.
“Back in 2014, they averaged around 2400 fans and I believe AZ United can improve on that. Even switching stadiums each of their first three years, we believe they’ve developed some loyal fans and have also committed to enhancing their sales force in 2016, which should provide a direct affect in their attendance numbers.”
Arizona United will play 15 home matches Saturdays this season. The team plays four home matches in August, three in June and July, two in May and September, and one in April. All home games will begin 7:30 p.m.
“The sports complex received a call in late November or early December from AZ United that they were looking for a new home and wanted to meet with PSC staff to make a pitch and see if PSC was interested in bringing them back,” said Mike Hyland, superintendent, Sports Complex Operations.
The team also announced Grammy-nominated producer and deejay, DJ Diplo, is part of an investment consortium that also includes TMWRK Management, which has purchased a minority stake in the team and will sit on the team’s board of directors.
“I’ve been really fortunate to travel all over the world and experience different cultures through music. Wherever I am - Jamaica, Spain, England, China, etc. - soccer is a social constant,” said Diplo in a statement. “I wanted to figure out a way to get involved with the game and team sports so when Arizona United presented itself, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I see soccer the same way I see music, as a connective tissue linking the world’s cultures.”
TMWRK Management is a management group that represents artists around the world, including Diplo.
DJ Diplo is a deejay and record producer. He has made it clear over the past few years that he wants to increase his investments. He has invested in Spotify and expanded his record label, Mad Decent Block Party, to numerous other countries.
“Diplo, throughout his music career as a deejay, producer and artist, has always been about global culture, youth culture and inclusiveness, and we couldn’t think of a better match to, not only fit our core demographic, but to wrap our team around,” said Arizona United SC’s co-chairmen Kyle Eng and Brett Johnson in a written statement.
Arizona United Soccer Club is Arizona’s only professional soccer franchise. Established in 2014, the club enters its third year in United Soccer League. USL Pro Soccer league announced its two newest teams will make a trip to Arizona. Swope Park Rangers KC (July 9) and the San Antonio (Aug. 13) will be making their league debut in 2016.
The first regular season match of the year will be March 26 in Los Angeles against Los Angeles Galaxy II. Arizona United went 3-0-0 against Galaxy II last season.