After four weeks of searching, the wait for a new Phoenix Rising Coach has ended. In an official press release, the team announced that Patrice Carteron would begin his coaching duties with Rising as early as June 5.
Patrice Carteron is not a household name in American soccer circles, but a look at his playing and coaching resume speaks for itself. Carteron enjoyed a 16-year playing career in France from 1990-2007. During that time, he played right-back for Olympique Lyon and AS Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1, the French top tier.
Afterwards, Carteron began his managerial career in 2008 with second-division AS Cannes. He then managed Dijon FCO from 2009-2012, and helped promote the club to Ligue 1 for the first time ever. Since then, he has achieved the following accomplishments.
- Mali placed third in the Africa Cup of Nations and rose to a FIFA rank of 23.
- TP Mazembe won two league titles, three African Super Cup titles and one African Champions League title.
- Wadi Degla won 20 matches, tied four and lost only six during its 30-match season.
- And, most recently in 2017, Al Nassr finished third qualifying for the Asian Champion’s League.
Analysis: This move makes sense for a multitude of reasons.
- Carteron has a track record of success on three continents. At each stop, he helped players reach their full potential en route to team success.
- Like Carteron, Didier Drogba started his professional career in France and speaks French as a first-language. Both men also have strong ties to African football, which could make Phoenix the primary destination for African players in North America. This hiring is fantastic from the academy/player development angle.
- Phoenix Rising’s glaring weakness this season has been in defense, particularly at the right back position. Carteron played right back for over a decade, and figures to be the perfect person to develop defenders while using strong tactics. Kody Wakasa may benefit greatly from Carteron’s mentorship.
- Carteron has an MLS-caliber resume, and his hiring loudly sends the following message to Don Garber: Phoenix Rising is already operating like a first-class MLS franchise, and Rising ownership intends for the Carteron-Drogba partnership to lead Phoenix into MLS.
It remains to be seen how the team will respond to Carteron, or whether his new tactics will strengthen the defense and bring the USL Playoffs to Phoenix. However, this hiring shows that Phoenix Rising did its due diligence in conducting a thorough coaching search. Fans can be optimistic that Carteron becomes a successful, long-term manager for Rising.
For more instant analysis on the hiring, listen to this episode of the Rising as One podcast.