USL PRO News Release
Monday, July 2, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. – USL PRO announced today it has awarded an expansion franchise to the Phoenix, Arizona market with the team commencing participation in the 2013 season.
The franchise will be owned and operated by BDR Sports, LLC, a consortium of Phoenix-based investors led by local developer Tim Thomas. Rui Filipe Bento, a longtime Phoenix soccer entrepreneur with vast experience in professional club management, will serve as its General Manager.
“This is an important moment for USL PRO as we continue to build for the future,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “USL PRO is already experiencing a great deal of success on and off the field, and the addition of a solid group in Phoenix continues our plan of western expansion which will ultimately lead to eastern and western conferences. BDR Sports’ leaders possess the vision and experience to make professional soccer a success in Phoenix through USL PRO, and we welcome them into our family.”
“The Valley has waited a long time for a professional soccer team to call its own,” Thomas said. “For the first time in Arizona history we have a soccer program that affiliates its youth with the pros - a USL PRO team that will field the world’s best. Now that’s a kick!”
In addition to Thomas and Bento, other BDR Sports principals include Damon Del Deo and Shawn Diedtrich. Del Deo has a portfolio of businesses that includes logging, mining and various other real estate development projects. Diedtrich is a respected intellectual property and business attorney operating in the Phoenix area.
The Phoenix USL PRO franchise will host a launch event including the formal announcement of the team name, stadium, and coaching staff later this summer.