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Phoenix Rising signs FC Arizona wingback, Tempe native Ryan Flood

Phoenix Rising manager Rick Schantz (left), wingback Ryan Flood (center) and FC Arizona technical director Dave Rogers. (Phoenix Rising FC Photo)

Phoenix Rising FC announced the signing of wingback Ryan Flood on Wednesday after spending the 2021 preseason as a trialist with PRFC.

It doesn’t get more Arizona than Flood, who was born in Scottsdale, played youth soccer in the Valley and went to Corona del Sol High School in Tempe.

He is also a former FC Arizona and Sporting Arizona FC product, the latter of which featured a 2018 U.S. Open Cup run that included advancing past Phoenix Rising in penalties.

“It feels fantastic to sign with my hometown team,” Flood said in a press release. “FC Arizona created a professional pathway and culture for players like myself to showcase our talent.

“I will be forever grateful to Dave Rogers and owner Jamie Landreman. The journey was good for me and I wish FC Arizona all the success in the future.”

Flood notched an assist and converted on his penalty in the shootout against PRFC before scoring his side’s lone goal in a 2-1 AET defeat to Fresno FC in the following round.

“I played against Rising in the U.S. Open Cup and I know what that fan base is like,” Flood said. “It was amazing to see that in my hometown and to play in front of fans that are heckling you.

“Signing with the team now, I feel like it will be like coming home. Being able to connect with the fans that already know me a little bit, I hope to quickly establish a strong connection.”

After high school, Flood pursued a professional career in Brazil and Japan before joining FC Arizona.

“Going away and growing as an individual, growing into my boots as a professional player, I needed that,” Flood said. “Seeing different things about the game and being able to understand how grown men play soccer instead of kids, it made a huge difference for me to see that as a teenager.”

He then went on to be the co-leader on the team in scoring as a left winger in 2020.

“Ryan Flood is one of the best stories you can find. He has tried out for Phoenix Rising three times now,” manager Rick Schantz said in the release. “The first two, he returned to FC Arizona and continued to work hard under Dave Rogers.

“He has been rewarded because of his no-quit attitude and strong desire to be a pro. His journey is just beginning. He is a big, strong left-sided player who gives us depth. He has amazing range as a passer.”  

Flood, 22, was deployed as a left back in Phoenix’s friendly against Union Omaha on March 24 and as a forward in the rematch on March 27.

I was standing pitchside when Flood came on in the first of the two matches and was used as a left fullback.

What’s immediately noticable about the new Rising signee is his physical stature — standing at 6-foot-2 — coupled with both his pace and strength, something FC Arizona technical director Dave Rogers has praised about Flood.

“I am absolutely delighted to see Ryan sign with Phoenix Rising,” Rogers said in the release. “A local boy from Arizona has the chance to progress his career at the best USL club in the country.

“Ryan’s work ethic and desire to learn has earned him this fantastic opportunity. This is a really proud moment for FC Arizona, our owner Jamie Landreman and myself. We wish Ryan every success on his new journey.”

Phoenix Rising now has 19 players signed to its roster ahead of the 2021 USLC campaign — not including academy contracts — which begins on April 30 against San Diego Loyal SC at Wild Horse Pass:

Goalkeepers: Zac Lubin and Andre Rawls

Fullbacks: Darnell King, Joey Calistri, Deklan Wynne, Jeremy Kelly and Ryan Flood

Center backs: Joey Farrell, Tobi Adewole and James Musa

Midfielders: Jon Bakero, Kevon Lambert, Aodhan Quinn and Arturo Rodriguez

Forwards: Solomon Asante, Rufat Dadashov, Santi Moar, Ivan Gutierrez and Prince Saydee