Phoenix Rising signs winger Marcus Epps to multi-year deal
Phoenix Rising FC announced its first new addition ahead of the 2022 USL Championship campaign on Wednesday.
The club signed 26-year-old winger/midfielder Marcus Epps to a multi-year contract.
“I’m very excited to be joining Phoenix Rising,” he said in a press release. “For years Phoenix has been a staple of excellence in the USL Championship.
“To be able to join such a great organization is exciting. I can’t wait to get out there, see the city, meet the staff, the players, the fans and make good things happen for the club in 2022.”
Epps is coming off of arguably his best year as a pro after leading San Antonio FC this season in appearances (35), starts (33) and minutes played (2,933).
In that time, he bagged a career-high seven goals and notched four assists (tied career high) while also leading the team with 56 aerial duels won.
Massive pickup for Phoenix, @marcusepps20 is absolute dynamo of a winger. He drives play on the dribble, tracks back as a defender in a pressing system, and generates a ton of shots in the process. He's a perfect complement to @SantiMoar on the opposite wing. https://t.co/lUULkUONkd pic.twitter.com/Ia0i6ZJsJ7
— john morrissey (@USLTactics) December 8, 2021
The winger’s 89 completed dribbles also finished second in the league and his 58 chances created ranked ninth.
In fact, nobody in all of USLC has completed more dribbles in the regular season since 2017 than PRFC winger Santi Moar (264) and Epps (253).
And coincidentally, this won’t be the duo’s first rodeo either after spending two seasons together at then-Bethlehem Steel (now Philadelphia Union II) from 2017-18.
“Marcus is extremely explosive and very talented,” manager Rick Schantz said in the release. “I have watched for many years now and I’m very excited to add Marcus to our roster. His athleticism and technical ability will fit in perfectly with our game model.”
With the likes of right winger Solomon Asante and midfielder Kevon Lambert still being free agents, Epps could potentially be a replacement should the captain not return for his fifth season in PRFC kit.
Despite his 5-foot-2 stature, the 31-year-old Ghanaian’s shoes would be massive to fill following Asante’s back-to-back MVP seasons in 2019-20, in addition to his leadership on and off the pitch.
Phoenix Rising is still in ongoing negotiations with “several players” and has 15 players signed to its roster ahead of the 2022 USL Championship season:
Goalkeeper: Lalo Delgado
Fullbacks: Joey Calistri, Ryan Flood, Darnell King
Center backs: Niall Dunn, Joe Farrell, Manuel Madrid, James Musa
Midfielders: Ivan Gutierrez, Jonathan Levin, Aodhan Quinn, Arturo Rodriguez, Luis Seijas
Forwards: Santi Moar, Marcus Epps