Didier Drogba looks set to end speculation about his own playing career by signing with the United Soccer League’s Phoenix Rising FC. The Chelsea legend, who had been a free agent since his contract with the Montreal Impact expired in December, had previously been linked, among others, with Corinthians in Brazil, as well as a possible non-playing position at Chelsea. But it sounds like he’s not quite ready to quit playing just yet.
To be clear, that’s Phoenix Rising offering Drogba $250,000 (presumably for the whole season), as opposed to the other way around.
Phoenix, formerly known as Arizona United SC, play in the USL, the second tier of the American soccer pyramid, and have been making headlines lately with some high profile signings. Drogba’s former teammate Shaun Wright-Phillips arrived last month, alongside former Mexico international Omar Bravo.
The head coach is another big name, Ipswich Town legend Frank Yallop, while former Premier League defender Peter Ramage, once of Newcastle and QPR and Crystal Palace has been with the team since the summer. Former Leicester City and Watford left back Jordan Stewart also signed recently; he had been playing for San Jose Earthquakes since 2013.
Phoenix’s first game of the new season is this weekend, so presumably even if Drogba signs, he probably won’t be playing just yet.
On a personal note, my local team, the Sacramento Republic also play in the USL, so I get to look forward to visits from both Phoenix & Drogba as well as Tampa Bay & Joey Cole!