PHOENIX RISING FC

Phoenix Rising signs former Cruz Azul center back Manuel Madrid

Jul 15, 2021, 1:21 PM | Updated: 1:35 pm
(Phoenix Rising FC Photo)...
(Phoenix Rising FC Photo)
(Phoenix Rising FC Photo)

Phoenix Rising FC announced the signing of a new center back on Thursday.

PRFC has signed former Cruz Azul defender Manuel Madrid for the remainder of the 2021 USL Championship season.

Madrid made his pro debut at the age of 20 for Cruz Azul in 2013.

The 27-year-old center back made 14 appearances for the Liga MX side prior to scoring eight goals in 132 caps with Cruz Azul Hildago, Loros Universidad, Leones Negros, Tampico Madero and Mineros de Zacatecas in Expansión MX.

“Manuel brings a lot of experience from Mexico,” Phoenix Rising manager Rick Schantz said in a press release. “He has played at a very high level: Liga MX and Expansión MX.

“We really like that he is composed on the ball. He’s also 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4. He’s solid, very strong, good in the air. He’s going to create one heck of a competition at center back for us.”

That competition will feature the likes of James Musa, Joe Farrell and Tobi Adewole, as Madrid marks the fourth true center back on the roster.

Valley native Tate Schmitt, who is a joker card of a player — meaning he can play a wide variety of positions — has also already served time at center back for Schantz this season.

Defender Noah Billingsley has also spent time as a right back and was learning how to play center back earlier in the year.

At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Madrid stands as the biggest central defender on the squad.

“It has been a very good experience,” Madrid said in the release. “It feels great to be here. Phoenix Rising has a very professional feel to it.

“It is a place I feel I can become a better player while also helping the team win. I’m always going to give the team everything I have when out on the field. I will work hard to help this team achieve victory.”

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