Phoenix Rising FC names former assistant Juan Guerra as new manager

Aug 22, 2022, 11:36 AM | Updated: 12:55 pm
Phoenix Rising FC coach Juan Guerra. (Ashley Orellana Photo)...
Phoenix Rising FC coach Juan Guerra. (Ashley Orellana Photo)
(Ashley Orellana Photo)

Phoenix Rising FC named former assistant coach Juan Guerra as the team’s new manager, the club announced on Monday.

The signing comes less than one week after PRFC and former manager Rick Schantz parted ways after five seasons last Wednesday.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to return to Phoenix Rising,” Guerra said in a release. “My time in Oakland was short but I will forever be thankful to their community, fan base, organization and most importantly the players and staff. I intend to get to work immediately with the goal of helping Phoenix to reach the playoffs.

“There is a lot of work to be done and no time to waste. My family and I cannot wait to reunite with our fans and the community.”

Guerra returns to the Valley where he served as the top assistant coach under Schantz for the 2021 USL Championship campaign, with the team’s success leading to the Venezuelan becoming manager of Western Conference side Oakland Roots SC.

Phoenix said Monday it agreed with Guerra after “finalizing an agreement” with Oakland. Roots placed its former manager on administrative leave last Thursday, one day after Schantz’s departure.

“We were fortunate to interview a number of highly qualified candidates for our head coach position,” Phoenix Rising FC general manager Bobby Dulle said in a statement. “Naturally, Juan was at the top of our list because of his excellent service to our club last year as assistant coach. I really appreciate the leadership at Oakland Roots SC working with us to make this possible.”

In less than one full season at the helm, Guerra led Oakland to a 6W-12D-7L record (30 points) and currently sits in ninth place with a one-point lead over PRFC, who are on the outside looking in and five points behind the seventh and final playoff spot with 10 matches remaining.

And despite Rising drawing Roots 0-0 on the road earlier this season (July 27), Guerra was not on the touchline after receiving a one-game suspension for a red card in the prior match. Rising hosts Roots at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler on Sept. 10.

Guerra’s only other coaching stop was at Indy Eleven from 2019-20 as an assistant, which featured a run to the 2019 Eastern Conference Final.

The former midfielder also represented Venezuela in 2014 World Cup qualifiers and played for clubs in South America, Europe and the U.S. from 2009-2018, including the USLC’s Tampa Bay Rowdies and Indy Eleven.

Additionally, Guerra played a part in the arrival of PRFC’s most experienced player, midfielder Luis Seijas, as the two were teammates on the Venezuela National Team.

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