“Playing hurt,” but still talking Arizona soccer

16 03 2011

I’ve been sick the last two days but work calls, and I’m on the clock so it’s live from a night game tonight (Wednesday) between the Mariners and Milwaukee Brewers.

Nice night for a ballgame. We’ve got one of Mexico’s finest, Yovani Gallardo, on the mound for the Brewers.

Speaking of Mexico, I had about an hour-long talk with a big advocate for pro soccer here in Phoenix, an Adrian Quintero. Quintero is among those from the Phoenix Monsoon (yes there is about a month-long monsoon season here during the summer), an indoor soccer team that hopes to be up and running in town as soon as this summer in the Professional Arena Soccer League.

Quintero wanted to talk about my recent article for SB Nation Arizona about how MLS could work in these parts. He brought up a time three years ago when Pachuca, a club from Mexico’s First Division, considered the Phoenix area as a home for a United Soccer Leagues (USL)  franchise. It didn’t pan out, but the point is that Mexican powerhouse clubs have come into this area before to explore expansion.

Since then, the local government has cracked down on and passed legislation that targets the area’s Mexican immigrants, which obviously hasn’t sat well with Pachuca or plenty of other Mexican teams. Which raises the point that this state’s restrictive and discriminatory laws could keep a team, especially from Mexico, from considering Phoenix or even Tucson, which could be just as good a market for pro soccer given the sports saturation in  Phoenix.

At some point, the situation for Mexicans will get better, probably in the next decade, Quintero reasoned. But any team here would need its own facility, something that would keep out the spring-summer-fall heat.

Of course, the Monsoon wouldn’t have to worry about being outside. The plan would be for them to use the largely vacant Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum, former home of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, for games. Couple those with some Mexican music concerts, and Quintero just might have something he can build from for future higher-level pro soccer in the city.

Gotta start somewhere.

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