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USL Academy Apr 13, 2024

Phoenix Rising FC signs five players to USL Academy Contracts

Phoenix Rising FC has signed five local Phoenix Rising Academy players to USL Academy Contracts.

USL Academy Contracts allow players to train and compete with professional players while retaining their college eligibility. Goalkeeper Skylar Odle, defender Christopher Grote, midfielders Cameron Kobey and Logan Veloria and forward Zachary Smuck have been training with the first team and through an offseason USL rule change, are eligible to be part of the matchday roster this season.

Veloria is a student at Arcadia High School, while Kobey attends Arizona College Prep in Chandler. Grote previously attended Hamilton High School. Smuck attends Barca Residency Academy in Casa Grande, Arizona. Isaiah Kaakoush, who Rising signed in January, also attended the Barca Residency Academy. He is currently in Spain training with the FC Barcelona Academy. JP Scearce (Chaparral), Jose Andres Hernandez (Maryvale) and Ryan Flood (Corona del Sol) also attended local high school before signing with Phoenix Rising.

“Each of these players has earned this opportunity through solid performances in the academy environment,” said Rising head coach Danny Stone, who also attended Corona del Sol high school in the 90’s. “This is important in merging our youth system and the professional side of the club. These players that have earned the opportunity to work with the first team are not only high-level players. They aid in what we’re able to do in first team training.

“These players development,” added Stone. “Led by Andy Chapman, David Shaw, Rafa Sifuentes and the rest of the Phoenix Rising Academy staff, is bolstered by this opportunity to be pushed, stretched and forced to have to adapt to a professional way of working.”

During the offseason, the USL Competition Committee passed an initiative allowing clubs to include two players under the age of 18 in the gameday roster. Those players do not count against the standard 18-man squad.

“This is a great opportunity for these players to gain the experience of what it is like to be a professional athlete,” said Stone. “When points are on the line it becomes a bridge from the academy to pro and on gamedays, from a pro training environment to a pro matchday experience. This can only add to them as players, as people, in whatever their journey ends up being.”​

Transaction: Rising signs Skylar Odle, Zachary Smuck, Logan Veloria, Christopher Grote and Cameron Kobey to USL Academy Contracts

Skylar Odle
Position: Goalkeeper
Former Club: Phoenix Rising Academy
College: Uncommitted
Height: 6-1
Weight: 170
DOB: January 16, 2005
Birthplace: Manhattan, Kansas
Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona

Zachary Smuck
Position: Forward
Former Club: Barca Residency
College: UC-Irvine
Height: 6-2
Weight: 175
DOB: February 18, 2006
Birthplace: Thousand Oaks, California
Hometown: Thousand Oaks, California

Logan Veloria
Position: Midfielder
Former Club: Phoenix Rising Academy
College: Uncommitted
Height: 5-10
Weight: 155
DOB: May 8, 2006
Birthplace: Phoenix, Arizona
Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona

Christopher Grote
Position: Defender
Former Club: Phoenix Rising Academy
College: Uncommitted
Height: 6-0
Weight: 180
DOB: June 8, 2006
Birthplace: Oak Park, Illinois
Hometown: Chandler, Arizona

Cameron Kobey
Position: Midfielder
Former Club: Phoenix Rising Academy
College: Uncommitted
Height: 6-0
Weight: 155
DOB: June 17, 2006
Birthplace: Chandler, Arizona
Hometown: Chandler, Arizona

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