FC Tucson named rookie franchise of the year

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Posted by Dave Cooney @CooneyLand

For Desert Diamond Ticket info: FCTucson.com

Tucson, AZ - On Friday, December 14, FC Tucson was named the 2012 PDL Rookie Franchise of the Year by United Soccer Leagues and the Premier Developmental League. The award is the first club honor received by FC Tucson. The first-year PDL club had also been one of five clubs nominated for best marketing in the PDL.

"This is an incredible honor and everyone at the club, from the ownership to the players and support staff, should take credit for this award," said FC Tucson GM and co-managing member Jon Pearlman. "From day one our goal was to run a top class organization and to be honored by the league in our first year of existence is a great start."

In FC Tucson's debut season the club earned 31 points in 16 matches, which was good enough for second-place in the Southwest Division, just seven points behind the Ventura County Fusion. FC Tucson's record was 9-3-4.

"Out of 13 new franchises added to the PDL in 2012, FC Tucson's outstanding ownership group was able to leverage their resources and experience to produce the best product and presentation of any new franchise," said Senior Director of the Premier Development League Jeff McRaney. "We couldn't be more pleased with the addition of FC Tucson to the PDL and the USL family."

Added FC Tucson co-managing member Greg Foster: "This award isn't just for the organization; it's also for the fans, the Cactus Pricks and our great local youth and adult soccer organizations. This club belongs to the fans and it belongs to the city of Tucson. FC Tucson doesn't exist without its supporters and every week we had the best crowds in the PDL cheering, chanting and willing our club to some exciting wins. Without them, we couldn't win this award."

FC Tucson allowed the second-fewest goals in the Southwest Division and at one point the club had shut out opponents for 548 consecutive minutes. At home FC Tucson was nearly unbeatable with a 5-1-2 record. It's lone loss came to eventual division champion Ventura County.

FC Tucson's players also received a host of honors over the course of the season. Four players (Dom Papa, Travis Campbell, Carlos Montes and Reid Hukari) were named to the PDL Team of the Week while Donny Toia was a Team of the Week Honorable Mention. And Campbell was named PDL Player of the Week on June 14.

"I couldn't be prouder of the team and the organization," said FC Tucson head coach Rick Schantz. "It wasn't just the players and my fellow coaches that made coming in to work a joy but it was also the support staff and the fans. I wish I could hand a copy of this plaque to everyone involved in making this the best new club in the PDL because everyone had a small part in making this happen."

Added FC Tucson Chief Business Officer and co-managing member Chris Keeney: "The support from Pima County and from our wonderful sponsors like Desert Diamond Casinos, Adidas and Chapman Automotive gave us the opportunity to put on the best show in the PDL. "Without their shared vision of Tucson as an elite soccer town, we don't have a world-class environment to train or a gorgeous home field to defend. And with their continued support and our growing fan base, we promise to be the best franchise in the PDL and the entire USL"