Does Rising FC need Didier Drogba on the pitch anymore? I’ve been getting that question from fans quite a bit over the last month. Drogba has been at the World Cup in Russia serving as an analyst for the BBC , while Rising FC has gone unbeaten in his absence. It’s the best of both worlds really. A fresh Drogba for the stretch run and postseason is a positive. The team learning how to play and win without him, bodes very well for next season when Drogba is officially retired from playing.
It’s my understanding that while Drogba hasn’t been on the field in Phoenix, he’s been helping the team in ways that cannot be measured in Russia, Drogba has been at events that MLS commissioner Don Garber has attended. Drogba has been in position to advocate with those in the soccer world about the virtues of Phoenix as a soccer market. How much of a difference that will make when it comes to decision time by Garber on expansion remains to be seen, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. As one of the Rising FC owners pointed out to me, “fans have been able to latch on to our other players while Didier is at the World Cup representing the franchise, that’s a positive.” Good point.
In my sit-down interview with Drogba back in the Spring, he wasn’t ready to say on camera that this would be his final season, but clearly as the season has progressed, it’s become very apparent that this will be the last year he laces up his boots. Monday the team announced their first annual Charity Soccer Ball for October 12th. The “save the date” had this line attached.
Honoring the distinguished playing career
and final season of Didier Drogba.
When will Drogba be back in the Rising FC lineup? My educated guess would be late August,but there’s no reason to rush him back on the field. The team is tied for the second best record in the entire USL. They have a showdown with first place Real Monarchs in a couple of weeks in Salt Lake City. Focus on the players that are here, but understand that Drogba can help the franchise even more off of it in their pursuit of MLS this December.