On Wednesday morning, Arizona United SC announced the sale of club founder Kyle Eng’s majority shares to a new group.
The incoming investors are all local to the Phoenix area, and are led by Berke Bakay, President and CEO of nationwide restaurant chain Kona Grill. “We couldn’t be more excited at the opportunity we have with Arizona United by bringing together a who’s who of business leaders in the Phoenix area,” Bakay said in the release. “Soccer has always been in my blood. My interest and involvement in the soccer world has been positively influenced by one of my uncles serving as the Vice-Chairman of the famed Galatasaray club in Istanbul.”
The group has named David Farca as club president. Farca, President of the Board of Directors to the Arizona-Mexico Commission, is also the president of ToH Design Studio and CEO of International Business Group.
Eng is hopeful that Farca and the other new investors will take the groundwork that has been laid and build a great soccer culture.
“I’m not really a soccer guy, it was never my first love,” Eng said. “David is a guy who knows his soccer and is someone that can grow this brand and possibly help take this to the next level.”
The rest of the group is as follows:
- Mark Detmer, Managing Director of JLL
- Tim Riester, Founder and CEO of RIESTER Advertising
- Dave Stearns, Co-Founder and CEO of Connect Wireless
- Jim Scussel, Co-Founder of Four Peaks Brewing Company
- Richard Hauser, President and Owner of Capital Real Estate, Inc.
- Brandon McCarthy, professional baseball pitcher
“Kyle Eng unquestionably saved professional soccer in Phoenix when he launched Arizona United out of the ashes of Phoenix Wolves FC,” said existing minority owners Brett Johnson and David Rappaport. “We are excited to continue that work with our new partners and do everything in our power to make Arizona United the most popular professional sports team in the Valley.”
USL CEO Alec Papadakis was quoted in the club press release as saying, “I want to give credit and am very grateful to Kyle for his work with Arizona United SC since 2014 when he founded the team at a time when the USL was just beginning to expand west. We look forward to working with Arizona United’s new ownership group who recognize the club’s potential and have already made a commitment to raise the level of this team on and off the field.”
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