Phoenix Rising Celebrates Solid 2021 at WHP, Team Looks Forward to Next Season
Gila River Indian News
November marked the end of the Phoenix Rising Football Club’s first regular season playing in their new home stadium at Wild Horse Pass. Phoenix Rising went undefeated at home this year, after the Community established a partnership with the team in December of last year.
The Rising’s electrifying 2020-2021 season was marked with many highs that featured upgrades to the fan experience in comparison to their previous location. The new stadium included a scoreboard, VIP and premier seating, better bathroom facilities, and access points from the I-10 and Loop 202. In addition, the season included cultural programming inclusive of their diverse fanbase and the Gila River Indian Community.
Governor Stephen Roe Lewis kicked off the home season by scoring a ceremonial “first goal” in April. Later in the season, the team screened a video paying homage to the Community’s front-line workers who helped stave off the COVID-19 pandemic, including from the Community’s police and fire departments, as well as Gila River Healthcare. The Rising also honored Indigenous Peoples Day by creating a custom warm-up jersey designed by the Community’s Jaime Jackson.
While the Rising boasted one of the best records for the USL, they fell to the Rio Grande Valley Toro’s Saturday, Nov. 6, in their first post-season match. The match concluded in a jaw-dropping 4-3 penalty kick shoot-out which ended the season for Rising. Even so, members of Rising’s dedicated fan group, “The Bandidos,” took to the field to congratulate the team for a great season.
Rising is working to build on their roster with the next season in sight, having already re-signed 13 of this season’s star players – all while building on the successful foundation at their new home at Wild Horse Pass.