Didier Drogba has earned worldwide acclaim as one of the most celebrated successful professional soccer players. The legendary former Chelsea striker recently joined American Football League Division II club Phoenix Rising FC, in a historic deal, which is expected to help the rise of the team.
According to statement from the club, the 39 year old striker will initially join the club in a playing role before transitioning to an executive position by the end of the season. He will be the face of the Phoenix bid to enter Major League Soccer in America.
The club is currently in its fourth season in the United Soccer League (USL), the largest division II league in the world. Per club and USL policy, the financial terms of the contract will not be made public.
“Didier Drogba will help us express our appreciation for the tremendous partnership we have received from the League by serving as an ambassador for soccer on the pitch and within USL cities we will be visiting across North America,” said Phoenix Rising FC Governor, Berke Bakay to members of the press.
Phoenix is one of the 12 teams of Amazon club currently playing in the second division in the United Soccer League, but as part of his executive role Drogba will be charged with helping the franchise secure entry to the American Major League Soccer and help develop the club’s major plans of building a new stadium.
“I have taken my time in deciding what I wanted to do next and am really excited about the opportunity at Phoenix Rising FC,” Drogba said.
“After seeing first hand the potential for expansion of the sport in North America and getting to know the ownership group in Phoenix, I am convinced that I can help them develop their organization on and off the pitch. I look forward to their continued success in the USL, and no city is better positioned than Phoenix for expansion into the MLS,” Drogba said in a statement.
“The USL is a league on the rise, and today we welcome global superstar Didier Drogba, who joins the growing number of elite, world-class players and rising young talent who choose to make our league their home,” said USL President Jake Edwards.
“I also applaud Didier’s commitment to further the overall growth of the game in North America. He will be a great ambassador for our sport, using his experience, talent and vision to benefit fans, as well as fellow players. His invaluable mentorship will guide our young stars in the locker room and on the field, contributing to the future success of our league and the game for years to come,” Edwards added.
Drogba’s remarkable achievements
Drogba was born on March 11, 1978, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. At the age of five, he was sent to live in France with an uncle, a professional soccer player, to expose him to more opportunities.
Didier is undoubtedly one of the most successful African and world soccer players of all time and one of the most lethal strikers to have played in European Football Leagues and African Cup of nations. Drogba has made several remarkable contributions in his footballing career, and leaves a trail of fascinating achievements wherever he plays.
In 2004, after playing a starring role in helping Marseille reach the UEFA Cup final, Drogba was a hot cake, and top European clubs wanted his signature.
During his time at the Chelsea, he reached his peak moment, winning four Premier League titles, and the the Ivorian played an instrumental role in each campaign. In the process, he helped establish the London club as a global football force, which is being felt today. With 104 Premier League goals in 254 Chelsea games, the striker remains the only African to reach 100 goals in the Premier League.
At international level, Drogba graced the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cup tournaments. Drogba is the Ivory Coast’s all-time leading goal scorer.