Arizona United owner Eng sells majority share of team

Arizona United owner Kyle Eng seen before a preseason game against FC Tucson Feb. 24, 2016 in Tucson, AZ. Photo credit: Michael Rincon/Michael Rincon Photography
Arizona United owner Kyle Eng seen before a preseason game against FC Tucson Feb. 24, 2016 in Tucson, AZ. Photo credit: Michael Rincon/Michael Rincon Photography

 

Arizona United owner Kyle Eng has sold his majority share ownership of the team, and announced his resignation Wednesday to club personnel.

“Launching Arizona United SC will go down as one of the highlights of my professional career,” Eng said in a letter to the team. “And to think we were able to secure the rights from USL and field a team in just 29 days!  Yes, that was crazy!”

Eng helped to keep professional soccer in Arizona in 2014, when the USL was going to remove the Phoenix FC franchise from the Valley. A meeting between Eng and the league took place in February 2014 at a hotel near Sky Harbor Airport, and league officials convinced Eng to buy the franchise and keep it afloat.

“I was excited when I purchased the rights for Arizona United SC in 2014 and I’m even more excited about the new investment group coming aboard,” Eng continued in the letter. “I’ve always known that I would be a caretaker, if you will, of professional soccer in Arizona.  I’ve been blessed to bear that responsibility to the first three seasons and now pass the torch to some great local business leaders you will love working alongside.”

Eng anchored the team in Peoria for the 2014 season, moved it to Scottsdale in 2015, and returned to Peoria for the 2016 season after leasing terms in Scottsdale became unworkable.

“I’m not really a soccer guy, it was never my first love,” Eng said. “The new investors are people that know soccer and can grow this brand and possibly help take this to the next level.”

Eng also enlisted a group of minority owners at the end of last season. They included Brett Johnson, the founder and Managing Partner of Benevolent Capital, music DJ Diplo, musician Pete Wentz and music attorney David Rappaport. Those minority investors will remain part of the new ownership group moving forward.

“I want to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for all you’ve done,” Eng said in closing his letter. ” I couldn’t be prouder of the way our team conducted themselves on-and-off the pitch and in the community.  It was a honor and a privilege to be your teammate.”