Phoenix Rising begins preparations for 2022 USL Championship campaign – Arizona Sports

This year’s USL Championship postseason may still be ongoing, but that hasn’t stopped Phoenix Rising from already getting started on preparations for the 2022 campaign.

After suffering an upset penalty shootout loss to RGV in the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 6, PRFC announced on Tuesday its initial batch of players returning for next season.

A total of 12 players were listed to be coming back — which is a normal amount for this time of year — as more signings will take place over the course of the next month or so with most of the league being on only one- or two-year contracts.

Phoenix Rising has announced 12 players returning for the 2022 #USL Championship season:

G: Delgado

D: Calistri, Dunn, Flood, King, Madrid, Musa

M: Gutierrez, Levin, Quinn, Rodriguez, Seijas#PRFC is still in ongoing discussions with several players from 2021. #RisingAsOne

— Jake Anderson (@jwa1994) November 16, 2021

And on Wednesday, Spanish forward and Phoenix Rising’s 2021 leading goalscorer (16) Santi Moar announced he had inked another two-year deal to keep him in the Valley through the 2023 season.

He did, however, give PRFC fans a quick scare that he was leaving the club before revealing that he re-signed with the club.

A message from Santi Moar…

— Phoenix Rising FC (@PHXRisingFC) November 17, 2021

“I am really glad to continue representing Phoenix Rising in 2022,” Moar said in a press release.

“My last two seasons here were filled with good moments and success on and off the field. However, we still have much more to accomplish. That really motivates me to keep working and help this organization get the trophies it deserves.”

But it was the glaring omissions from the returners list that turned heads this week.

Players who were either #MLS loanees, have parted ways or still in ongoing discussions:

G: Rawls (loan), Lubin

D: Billingsley (loan), Farrell, Schmitt (loan)

M: Bakero (parted ways), Lambert, Loera (loan)

F: Asante, Adekoya, Egbo (loan), Mattocks, Moar, Saydee#RisingAsOne

— Jake Anderson (@jwa1994) November 16, 2021

Among those are captain Solomon Asante, goalkeeper Zac Lubin, midfielder Kevon Lambert and center back Joe Farrell — all of whom have been with the team since 2018 at the latest.

PRFC is also still in ongoing negotiations with “several players,” but former vice-captain Jon Bakero already announced that he will not be returning for the 2022 campaign.

Thank you Phoenix. EHFAR ❤️

— Jon Bakero (@jonbakero7) November 9, 2021

“I’m very excited about the players we have returning next season,” manager Rick Schantz said in the release. “Continuity and consistency keep the club moving forward towards our goals.

“Work has already begun to build the most competitive and dynamic roster possible. With this group of returning players and the addition of some key targets in the offseason, I’m excited about our potential in 2022.”

Phoenix Rising currently has 13 players signed to its roster ahead of the 2022 USL Championship season:

Goalkeeper: Lalo Delgado

Fullbacks: Joey Calistri, Ryan Flood, Darnell King

Center backs: Niall Dunn, Manuel Madrid, James Musa

Midfielders: Ivan Guiterrez, Jonathan Levin, Aodhan Quinn, Arturo Rodriguez, Luis Seijas

Forward: Santi Moar

Follow @jwa1994