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Yallop to steer the good ship Arizona United

Soccer team will also make appearance at Desert Diamond Cup

A familiar face will be taking the reins at Arizona United SC. Former Major League Soccer Coach of the Year Frank Yallop has been named head coach and president of soccer operations.

The move is part of a series of changes that has been announced by the team in recent weeks. Phoenix businessman Brett M. Johnson was brought on as co-chairman with Kyle Eng on Dec. 9.

Yallop brings an extensive resume to the job. He spent a decade and a half with English club Ipswich Town FC before ending his playing years with the Tampa Bay Mutiny in the then new MLS. He also earned 52 caps for Canada. He coached a Landon Donovan-led San Jose Earthquakes to two MLS Cups in 2001 and 2003.

His later coaching gigs were not quite as successful. He was the head coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007 when the team signed David Beckham. He was shooed out in the attendant circus that happened. He made a return to the Quakes and won a Supporters’ Shield with them, but a move to Chicago Fire SC in 2013 produced that two of that team’s worst seasons. Yallop was given his walking papers in September, along with several other club officials.

Despite the trouble in Chicago, Arizona United fans are hopeful for a new look team under Yallop.

“Yallop is a very positive direction for the club,” said Goyo Spradlin, one-time president of the team’s supporter’s group, La Furia Roja. “The style of fight he gets from his players is going to connect to Arizona fans. It’s a good choice.”

Yallop’s second run of coaching for the team in 2007 – 2013 was known as the “Goonies” era, and featured scrappy players like Stephen Lenhart, Alan Gordon and Chris Wondolowski. It was a style Spradlin described as “Old school English-type guys, enforcer roles, all of them clawing and fighting for stuff.”

Yallop and team to make an appearance at Kino

The announcements from the team also included a bit about preseason. Arizona United SC will be playing in their first Desert Diamond Cup.

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The team will be playing in two matches in Tucson, one against USL side Swope Park Rangers on Feb. 20 and another against one of the participating MLS teams on Feb. 27.

There have been attempts to schedule friendlies between United and FC Tucson over the last two seasons, but this will be the first time Arizona United will play in Tucson. It’s a development Spradlin likes, both because it will be the first time United has had a real preseason and because he likes the give and take between Tucson and Phoenix.

“It’s long overdue,” said Spradlin. “It’s been really disappointing that there hasn’t been that partnership. There is so much potential for a good rivalry there. This is another positive sign.”

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Soccer preseason in Tucson

Desert Friendlies

Wednesday, February 3
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders 5 pm, Grandstand Field (3x45min)
Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo 6 pm, North Stadium

Saturday, February 6
Houston Dynamo vs. New England Revolution 4:30 pm, North Stadium
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Vancouver Whitecaps 5 pm, Grandstand Field
Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders 7 pm, North Stadium

Tuesday, February 9
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Houston Dynamo 6 pm, Grandstand Field
Seattle Sounders vs. Celaya FC 7 pm, North Stadium

Desert Diamond Cup

Wednesday, February 17
Colorado Rapids vs. Swope Park Rangers, 5 pm, Kino North Stadium
Sporting Kansas City vs. Columbus Crew, 6 pm, Kino North Grandstand
New England Revolution vs. Real Salt Lake, 8pm, Kino North Stadium

Saturday, February 20
Arizona United vs. Swope Park Rangers, 4:30 pm, Kino North Grandstand
Columbus Crew vs. Real Salt Lake, 5 pm, Kino North Stadium
Colorado Rapids vs. Houston Dynamo, 7 pm, Kino North Grandstand
Sporting Kansas City vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 pm, Kino North Stadium

Wednesday, February 24
New England Evolution vs. Houston Dynamo, 5:30 pm, Kino North Stadium
Swope Park Rangers vs. Columbus Crew SC, 6 pm, Kino North Grandstand
Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting Kansas City, 8 pm, Kino North Stadium

Saturday, February 27
Swope Park Rangers vs. FC Tucson, 4 pm, Kino North Grandstand
Arizona United vs. 5th Place, 4:30 pm, Kino North Stadium
3rd Place vs. 4th Place, 6:30 pm, Kino North Grandstand
1st Place vs. 2nd Place, 7:00 pm, Kino North Stadium