Phoenix Rising’s Prince Saydee: ‘We can do more as a team’
A year ago around this time, Phoenix Rising FC was getting prepared to begin preseason training.
That’s because friendlies with MLS clubs were on the docket in late January and most of February in preparation for the start of the regular season in March.
But due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 USL Championship season isn’t scheduled to commence until the beginning of May. So from a timeline perspective, next season sits roughly four months away, which is how long the offseason usually is. In fact, Phoenix Rising players haven’t been given a date to report yet, which means preseason training will probably start closer to March.
Until then, manager Rick Schantz and GM Bobby Dulle will use that time to fill out the rest of the roster. As it stands, there are only 14 players officially signed to PRFC for the 2021 campaign, the latest of which was former Miami FC winger Prince Saydee.
“For me, I think they’re one of the top teams in USL Championship,” Prince said of his decision to join Phoenix. “I think playing with them, I can do more in forwarding my career and I can do more with the kind of players I’ll be playing with — we can do more as a team.”
Although Prince can play in the midfield, expect to see him used out wide in attacking positions where he can take defenders on one-on-one. The 26-year-old Liberian has the skill to both cut in and shoot on his right foot, while also possessing the ability to play balls in for his teammates.
“I’m more of a wide player, I’m more of a winger,” he said. “With me playing more out wide, I can get a chance to go one-on-one, so I prefer playing out wide. I try to cut in, score and send a lot of crosses, but I like doing all those things because I want my team to win.”
As things stand, it looks like Prince will be battling with Ivan Gutierrez — another new signee — for the first spot off the bench to replace either starting winger Santi Moar or captain Solomon Asante. The Liberian shares similar qualities with Rising’s captain in that both are African wingers who led their teams in assists last season and have represented their country in the past.
“I’m looking forward to working with him because he’s a great player,” Prince said of Asante. “If we work together as a team, I think we can move the team forward to a lot of success.”
Prince and his family immigrated to the U.S. from Liberia a few years ago. When he’s not on the pitch, the winger says you can find him either at home or at the gym. And despite never having been to Phoenix before, Prince is excited to see all that the Valley has to offer both on and off the pitch.
“I heard a few things about the weather, but it’s no different because where I’m from in Africa is hot also,” he said. “I’m happy to join Phoenix for the 2021 season and I can’t wait to meet the fans and to help move the team forward.”