Didier Drogba joins Phoenix Rising FC with an eye on MLS

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Former Chelsea and Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba has joined United Soccer League side Phoenix Rising as a player and co-owner.

With Drogba and the ownership group's star power (and money), Phoenix Rising are positioning themselves to win one of Major League Soccer's upcoming expansion slots.

The veteran's last season in the MLS was marked by tension between the player and his club, with the nadir coming in October when he refused to be a part of the Impact's matchday squad after learning he was not in the starting line-up.

"We want our club and our city to be synonymous with worldwide excellence, and Didier Drogba is a testament to Phoenix Rising FC's commitment to that mission", said Phoenix governor Berke Bakay.

While he's intent on making his last season as a player- under head coach Frank Yallop, who, ironically, was the Chicago Fire manager when the club tried and failed to sign him two years ago- a successful one, Drogba isn't keeping his true role at the club secret.

"We want our club and our city to be synonymous with global excellence, and Didier Drogba is a testament to Phoenix Rising FC's commitment to that mission", said Phoenix Rising Club Governor Berke Bakay.

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Lukaku is the top scorer in this season's Premier League after netting 23 times in 31 appearances for the Toffees, and when Cotterill asked Drogba if he knew what the Belgian is doing this summer, he responded: "I know". 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 team now has three points for three games so far this season.

A Phoenix statement said Drogba, 39, would be a member of the club's playing staff before eventually switching to an executive role.

The Chelsea legend has joined the ownership group at the USL side but will also feature as a player on their roster.

Though he will be 40 next year, the Ivorian can still contribute a bit on the pitch. MLS has always been enamored with the idea of star players eventually owning teams (see Beckham, David), but it has a ton of contenders for potential new franchises.

Phoenix Rising is a third tier club in the U.S. football league known as United Soccer League. You can also follow the team on Facebook (PHXRisingFC), Twitter (@PHXRisingFC), Instagram (@PHXRisingFC), Snapchat (PHXRisingFC) and YouTube (PhoenixRisingFootballClub).

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