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Phoenix Rising adds assistant coaches Juan Guerra, Danny Stone to staff

Rising's new assistant coaches Juan Guerra (left) and Danny Stone take in training on Sunday, March 7. (Phoenix Rising FC Photo)

Phoenix Rising FC announced the addition of assistant coaches Juan Guerra and Danny Stone on Monday.

The signings come after Scottsdale native and former PRFC player, assistant coach and interim manager Blair Gavin left to join defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew in a similar role.

The 2020 USL Championship campaign also saw former Rising player and assistant coach Peter Ramage return to his boyhood club of Newcastle United as the U23 manager.

“I couldn’t be more excited about adding Juan and Danny to our staff,” manager Rick Schantz said in a press release.

“Juan’s experience as a player and excitement about coaching will be very beneficial. Adding Danny Stone to the first-team staff is another step in the right direction towards assimilation between our academy and first team. His experience will help our team tremendously.”

Guerra comes over from Indy Eleven after two years of assistant coaching, which included a run to the 2019 Eastern Conference Final.

Born in Venezuela, he donned the national team shirt for his home country during World Cup qualifiers in 2014. Guerra also played for clubs in South America, Europe and the U.S. from 2009-2018.

“Year after year, Rising are competing for trophies with a clearly defined style of play,” Guerra said in the release.

“That style is very attractive to our players and to our fans. I share a lot of values with Rick and the organization as a whole. We’re obsessed with growth and development. This club is focused on improving each year and so am I.”

Guerra can also speak Spanish, which is something Schantz is excited about as this offseason saw the acquisitions of Mexican midfielder Arturo Rodriguez and forward Ivan Gutierrez added to the likes of Spaniards Jon Bakero and Santi Moar.

“I am very focused and determined to help this organization continue to develop,” Guerra said in the release. “Hopefully we achieve great things together. I don’t consider being here a gift. Representing Phoenix Rising is a great responsibility. I am very happy to be part of this family.”

Stone is a Liverpool native and spent time with Blackburn Rovers FC and Notts County FC before beginning his coaching career with MLS side Colorado Rapids in 2010 where he worked to build the club’s youth academy.

He was a first-team assistant coach for the Rapids from 2015-18 and spent the last two seasons as an assistant with fellow USLC side Oklahoma City Energy FC.

“I look forward to contributing to an already excellent group of players and club staff,” Stone said in the release. “I’ll work with Rick, Juan and (goalkeepers coach) Cory [Robertson] in all aspects of the training program, match-day preparation and coaching of the team.

“I’ll be heavily involved in planning training sessions and the analysis of our team and opponents. My goal is to continue the hard work, further improve Rising’s players and add to the overall environment at Phoenix Rising FC.”

Phoenix Rising youth academy director Steve Cooke — who made his way onto the touchline by seasons end last year — was also with Colorado from 2010-2018, where he would serve as a technical director (2010-12), assistant coach (2012-17) and interim manager (2017). Cooke also managed OKC from 2017 to 2019 before joining PRFC in last season.