Didier Drogba just does not seem to want to stop playing football. The Ivorian, who is 39 years old right now, has been without a club since he left Major League Soccer (MLS) side Montreal Impact in November. Now, the former Chelsea star is set to become the first player/owner of a club after he signed with United Soccer League side Phoenix Rising.
Drogba signed on as a player initially and will step up to an executive role at the United Soccer League club later on. Phoenix Rising are looking to join the MLS as an expansion franchise and Drogba is expected to play a major role in developing the club off the field.
After signing for Phoenix Rising, Drogba will link up with former Chelsea teammate Shaun Wright-Phillips and two former Premier League players in Jordan Stewart and Peter Ramage.
Minnesota United and Atlanta United were the other two expansion sides who were welcomed to the MLS for the start of the current season and Drogba is convinced he can help Phoenix Rising develop and said no city is better positioned than Phoenix for expansion into the MLS.
"I have taken my time in deciding what I wanted to do next and am really excited about the opportunity at Phoenix Rising FC," Phoenix Rising's official website quoted Drogba as saying.
"After seeing firsthand 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."
His move became official after he tweeted about it saying: 'Happy to announce I have signed with and will be part of the ownership group hoping to take Phoenix to the MLS.'
Drogba's experience and knowledge of the game will certainly be of big help for everyone involved with Phoenix Rising as they look to be a part of America's top soccer league. United Soccer League president Jake Edwards said he will be a great ambassador for the sport and he will help further the overall growth of the game in North America.
"The United Soccer League 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," Edwards said.
"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."