FC Tucson

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FC Tucson
FC Tucson logo.png
Full nameFC Tucson
FoundedOctober 10, 2010; 8 years ago (2010-10-10)
StadiumKino Sports Complex
North Stadium[1]
OwnerPhoenix Rising FC
Head CoachDarren Sawatzky
LeagueUSL League One
2018 (PDL)2nd, Mountain Division
Playoffs: Conference Final
WebsiteClub website
Current season
Active teams of Phoenix Rising FC
Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg

FC Tucson is an American soccer club based in Tucson, Arizona that will play in USL League One starting in 2019.[2] Organized in 2010, the club first fielded a team in March 2011, then joined the Premier Development League (PDL; now known as USL League Two) Western Conference in 2012.[3]

Tucson plays their home games at the 2,900-seat Kino Sports Complex North Stadium constructed in 2013.[1][4][5][6]


Beginnings: 2010–2011[edit]

FC Tucson was founded in 2010 to bring preseason Major League Soccer events to Tucson and generate interest in a new soccer club.[3] The organization first fielded a team on March 4, 2011 against the New York Red Bulls reserves in the 2011 Desert Cup, a 3–1 loss.[7] The club's first goal was scored by former Pima Community College and Salpointe Catholic High School player Fernando Gauna after entering the match as a substitute. Later in 2011 Tucson competed against various teams from the region in a loosely organized exhibition league.[8] Their first match following the Desert Cup took place on May 13, a 7–2 victory over Yavapai FC.[9] On December 15, 2011, FC Tucson announced its move to the PDL.[10]

Early PDL and Open Cup success: 2012–2013[edit]

In its first season of play in the United Soccer League's Premier Development League (USL PDL, now USL League Two) the team placed second in the Western Conference Southwest Division with a record of 9 wins, 3 losses and 4 ties, riding a ten-game unbeaten streak (7 wins, 3 ties) from May 12 until June 30.[11] In postseason play Tucson lost 2–1 to Seattle Sounders FC U-23 in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.[12] Defender Conor Spence was named to the All-Western Conference Team.[13][14] The club was named 2012 PDL Rookie Franchise of the Year.[15][16]

In May 2013 FC Tucson notched back-to-back victories over professional clubs to reach the third round of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. In the tournament's first round Tucson defeated Phoenix FC of the USL Pro 2–1 on an injury-time game winner scored by Connor Bevans.[17][18][19][20] Next they defeated the San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL in a 4–3 penalty shoot-out to break a 2–2 tie.[21][22][23][24][25] The run ended in Houston where they fell 2–0 to the MLS Dynamo.[26][27][28] As the first ever PDL club to defeat professional clubs in back-to-back matches, Tucson won the full $15,000 prize awarded to the PDL club with the best Open Cup finish. (Three other PDL teams also reached the third round.)[29][30][31] Tucson did not qualify for the PDL postseason in 2013, finishing fifth in the Southwest with 5 Wins, 5 Losses and 4 Ties.[32]

Mountain Division Dominance: 2014–2017[edit]

In 2014, competing in the newly created Mountain Division, FC Tucson won its first division title with 11 wins, 1 draw, and 2 losses in league play. The club recorded its first ever playoff victory with a 2–1 win over the Los Angeles Misioneros in Las Vegas.[33] The best regular-season record in the Western Conference earned Tucson the right to host the conference final four at Kino North Stadium where they defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 1–0 in the conference semifinals on a stoppage-time goal by Juan Sebastian De Rada. Tucson's postseason run came to an end in the Western Conference Championship game with a 3–0 loss to the Kitsap Pumas.[34] Team captain Ricardo Velazco, a midfielder, was named PDL Young (U21) Player of the Year. Billy Thompson was named PDL Goalkeeper of the Year. Both players were named to the All-League and All-Western Conference Teams.[35][36] FC Tucson was named PDL Organization of the Year.[37]

Tucson claimed its second-straight Mountain Division title in 2015 with a record of 8–2–4 in regular-season Premier Development League play.[38] Their two losses came against Albuquerque Sol FC on the road and Real Colorado at home.[39][40][41] In a July 4 home rematch against Albuquerque Tucson won 2–0 to claim the 2015 Southwestern Showdown rivalry series and retain possession of the Golden Rattler trophy.[42] Tucson's regular season concluded with four straight wins: at home against Real Colorado and against the Sol, and on the road against the Southwest Division's Fresno Fuego and OC Blues U23.[43] The streak put Tucson one point ahead of the Sol in the final PDL Mountain Division standings.[38][44][45]

Tucson defeated Albuquerque 2–1 at home in the 2015 postseason qualifier, and once again was selected to host the Western Conference final four.[46] After beating the previously-undefeated Kitsap Pumas 4–1 in the semis, the home side lost in the conference championship for the second-straight year, this time to the Seattle Sounders FC U-23 by a score of 2–1.[47][48][49] Forward Pedro Espindola and Defender Kalem Scott were named to the All-Western Conference team.[50]

Affiliation with Phoenix Rising FC & gaining pro status[edit]


FC Tucson was purchased by Phoenix Rising FC of the United Soccer League, now known as the USL Championship, on October 11, 2017, and initially served as its PDL affiliate.[51][52][53] The 2018 season was ultimately FC Tucson's last in the PDL, since renamed USL League Two; the team became fully professional after that season and will start play in USL League One in 2019.[54]

Colors and Badge[edit]

Tucson FC's official colors are red, black and white.

FC Tucson's badge was designed by Erik von Weber prior to the 2011 Desert Cup. Similar in appearance to the traditional soccer shield, the badge is instead shaped like an arrowhead in homage to Tucson's pre-Columbian history.[55] The badge was simplified in 2012 with the removal of five diamonds which arced above the crest to represent the major mountain ranges of the Tucson valley but had been confused with stars, typically used in football badges to represent titles won.[56]


Seasons Kit Manufacturer Kit Sponsor
2011–2012 Adidas
2013 Front: Audi Tucson
2014–2018 Front: Chapman Automotive
2019–present Macron Front: Banner-University Medicine[57]


Kino Sports Complex North Stadium (2014–)
Kino North Stadium was dedicated on October 30, 2013.[58][59] The stadium seats 2,900 with 1,800 in a partially-covered grandstand on the west sideline.[6][60] The stadium's construction was part of a larger package of soccer facilities improvements to the Kino Sports Complex approved by Pima County's Board of Supervisors in April 2012.[61] FC Tucson defeated MLS Chivas USA 1–0 on November 15, 2013 in the first match held at the stadium.[5][62]

Kino Sports Complex North Field #5 (2012–2013)
Field #5 was one of five Major League Baseball spring-training practice fields converted for soccer prior to Tucson's first PDL season. Seating was initially limited to an 850-seat grandstand on the west sideline. Bleachers behind the north goal were added later, raising capacity to slightly over 1,000.[1]

Murphey Field at Mulcahy Stadium (2011)
In its first season of play, FC Tucson made use of Murphey Field, home to the University of Arizona women's soccer team.[63]

Club Culture[edit]


Members of the local American Outlaws chapter organized an FC Tucson supporters group called the Cactus Pricks after FC Tucson's 2011 Desert Cup appearance.[64]


Football kit (red jersey, white shorts, and blue socks).
July 4th colors

In 2014 FC Tucson announced the Southwestern Showdown, an annual series with Albuquerque Sol FC, a PDL expansion team placed with Tucson in the Western Conference's newly-formed Mountain Division. The club earning the most league points over all regular-season meetings is awarded "The Golden Rattler" trophy to hold for the following year. Ties are broken by goal difference or, if there is none, final division standings.[65] For the final match of the series in both 2014 and 2015, the club wore red jerseys, white shorts, and blue socks in celebration of the 4th of July holiday. On both occasions Tucson won to claim the series title.[42][66]

La Copa Frontera, a supporters cup competition organized by the Cactus Pricks, the Las Vegas Mobsters' Mob Squad, and Albuquerque's Sandianistas, was organized in 2015.[67] In that year the Sol claimed La Copa with a sweep of the Mobsters, despite ultimately finishing second to Tucson in head-to-head competition by virtue of goal difference.[68]



As of June 15, 2019
Season Premier Development League Playoffs US Open Cup Top Scorer 1 Head Coach
P W L D GF GA Pts Pos Player Goals
2012 16 9 3 4 21 16 31 2nd, Southwest Conference Semifinals Ineligible United States Donny Toia 4 United States Rick Schantz
2013 14 5 5 4 31 17 19 5th, Southwest Did not qualify 3R United States David Clemens
United States Gabriel Silveira
5 United States Rick Schantz
2014 14 11 2 1 35 11 34 1st, Mountain Conference Final Did not qualify United States Ricardo Velazco 7 United States Rick Schantz
2015 14 8 2 4 28 15 28 1st, Mountain Conference Final 1R United States David Clemens 6 United States Rick Schantz
2016 14 11 1 2 38 12 35 1st, Southwest Conference Final 2R United States Afonso Pinheiro 9 United States Rick Schantz
2017 14 9 2 3 34 17 30 1st, Mountain Conference Semifinals 2R Israel Moshe Perez 12 United States Jon Pearlman
2018 14 7 3 4 29 19 25 2nd, Mountain Conference Final 2R United States Damian German 11 United States David Cosgrove
Season USL League One Playoffs US Open Cup Top Scorer 1 Head Coach
P W L D GF GA Pts Pos Player Goals
2019 12 4 5 3 16 15 15 4th TBD Ineligible (USLC owned team) United States Devyn Jambga 3 United States Darren Sawatzky

^ 1. Top Scorer includes statistics from league matches only.

Head coaches[edit]

  • Includes Regular Season, Playoffs & U.S. Open Cup. Excludes friendlies.
Coach Nationality Start End Games Win Loss Draw Win %
Rick Schantz  United States October 10, 2010 January 8, 2017 83 49 19 15 059.04
Jon Pearlman  United States January 9, 2017 December 22, 2017 17 10 4 3 058.82
David Cosgrove  United States March 6, 2018 December 11, 2018 18 9 5 4 050.00
Darren Sawatzky  United States December 12, 2018 Present 12 4 5 3 033.33


  • USL PDL Mountain Division Champions 2014, 2015, 2017
  • USL PDL Southwest Division Champions 2016

Player Honors[edit]

Year Pos Player Country Honor
2012 D Conor Spence  USA All-Western Conference Team
2014 M Ricardo Velazco  USA PDL Young (U21) Player of the Year
All-League Team
All-Western Conference Team
2014 G Billy Thompson  USA PDL Goalkeeper of the Year
All-League Team
All-Western Conference Team
2015 F Pedro Espindola  BRA All-Western Conference Team
2015 D Kalem Scott  CAN All-Western Conference Team
2016 D Gordon Hall  CAN All-Western Conference Team
2016 M Michael Turner  USA All-Western Conference Team
2017 M Moshe Perez  ISR All-League Team
All-Western Conference Team
2018 D Henry Lander  ENG All-Western Conference Team

Players and staff[edit]


Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth. Squad correct as of June 12, 2019.

No. Position Player Nation
0 Goalkeeper Kienan Weekes  United States
3 Defender José Terrón  Spain
6 Midfielder Raheem Somersall  Saint Kitts and Nevis
7 Forward Roy Abergil  Israel
8 Forward Eti Tavares  Guinea-Bissau
9 Forward Guillermo Delgado  Spain
10 Midfielder Luis Martínez  Mexico
11 Midfielder Jamael Cox  United States
12 Defender Kyle Venter  United States
13 Defender Luke Hauswirth  United States
14 Midfielder Colin Stripling  United States
16 Forward Devyn Jambga  United States
17 Midfielder Karsten Hanlin  United States
18 Goalkeeper Carlos Merancio  Mexico
19 Forward Zach Wright  United States
20 Defender Scott DeVoss (on loan from Hartford Athletic)  United States
22 Defender Lamar Batista (on loan from Los Angeles FC)  United States
24 Goalkeeper Phillip Ejimadu (on loan from Los Angeles FC)  United States
25 Forward Ilijah Paul (on loan from Phoenix Rising; [A])  United States
27 Defender Klisman Sousa (on loan from Hartford Athletic)  Cape Verde
28 Midfielder Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu  United States
30 Goalkeeper Rafael Guerrero  United States
33 Defender Kody Wakasa  United States
50 Midfielder Erik Virgen  United States
99 Forward Jordan Jones  United States
  1. ^ USL Academy Contract.

Players on Loan[edit]

Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth. Squad correct as of April 13, 2019.

No. Position Player Nation
2 Defender Austin Ledbetter (on loan to Phoenix Rising FC)  United States
23 Defender Kyle Bjornethun (on loan to Phoenix Rising FC)  United States


Front Office Staff
Director of Soccer Operations Jon Pearlman
Operations Manager Kyle Cornell
Sponsorship Sales Executive Cole Eckel
PR and Social Media Manager Dolphus Pearson III
Sales Manager Kelsi Darr
Account Executives Jonathan Mundine
Xavier Vasquez
Technical Staff
Head Coach Darren Sawatzky
Assistant Coach John Galas


Notable former players[edit]


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  56. ^ Prezelski, Ted (May 23, 2013). "Post Game Cigarette". www.mindingthe.net.
  57. ^ "Banner-University Medicine Becomes Official and Front-of-Jersey Partner of FC Tucson". FC Tucson. March 26, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  58. ^ Join Our Groundbreaking!
  59. ^ ‘This is your house and we’re going to protect it’
  60. ^ "The North Stadium at Kino Sports Complex". fctucson.com. March 6, 2013.
  61. ^ FC Tucson Finds Home At Kino Sports Complex
  62. ^ FC Tucson 1–0 Chivas USA
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External links[edit]