Phoenix Rising signs Azerbaijan international forward Rufat Dadashov
Phoenix Rising FC has signed forward Rufat Dadashov for the 2020 season pending league and federation approval, the club announced on Monday.
Dadashov, 28, is Phoenix’s seventh signing since Dec. 3, following the signings of fullbacks Owusu-Ansah Kontor and Darnell King; forward Santi Moar; and midfielders Jack Barmby, Jon Bakero and Jordan Schweitzer.
Per club policy, the terms and details of the contract were not disclosed.
It's time to officially welcome Rufat Dadashov to the Rising family!
— Phoenix Rising FC (@PHXRisingFC) January 13, 2020
“For me, playing for Phoenix Rising FC is a dream come true,” Dadashov said in a press release. “Since 2014, when we played with the Azerbaijan National Team against the U.S. National Team, I’ve closely followed soccer in America and it is very impressive to see the great development.
“I really wanted to be part of this. After talking to Rick Schantz, I knew 100% that I wanted to play for Phoenix. I cannot wait to get started and meet my teammates, the fans and see Arizona and most importantly, help Phoenix Rising to win games.”
Dadashov spent the last two seasons with Preussen Muenster (German third division), where he scored 14 goals and notched two assists in 52 appearances (3,466 minutes). And while his eight goals in 2018-19 may have only finished third on the team, the forward’s six goals in only 20 matches on the 2019-20 campaign still has him atop Preussen Muenster’s goalscoring charts.
The 28-year-old has also scored five goals in 24 caps for Azerbaijan that include European and World Cup qualifiers.
So while Dadashov may be away from the team during international breaks, the new Rising signee is in no danger of missing time due to this summer’s European Cup, as Azerbaijan failed to qualify despite Baku — its capital and the birthplace of Dadashov — being one of 12 hosting cities.
“Rufat’s size, power and precision are something that will be very beneficial to Phoenix Rising,” manager Rick Schantz said in the release.
“His ability to hold up the ball will allow our wingers and attacking midfielders to get involved and make runs off of him. He has been playing in a very good league in Germany. I expect that this will translate extremely well into the USL.”
The forward becomes the club’s 19th signing ahead of the 2020 campaign.
Goalkeeper: Zac Lubin
Fullbacks: Austin Ledbetter, Kyle Bjornethun, Owusu-Ansah Kontor and Darnell King
Center backs: Corey Whelan, A.J. Cochran and Joey Farrell
Midfielders: Kevon Lambert, Jose Aguinaga, Joey Calistri, Jack Barmby, Jon Bakero and Jordan Schweitzer
Forwards: Solomon Asante, Adam Jahn, Junior Flemmings, Santi Moar and Rufat Dadashov