TUCSON, Ariz. (December 12, 2018) — FC Tucson announced today that former Seattle Sounders Youth Development Director and current Tacoma Stars Head Coach Darren Sawatzky has been named the head coach of FC Tucson effective immediately. Sawatzky becomes the club’s fourth-ever head coach and the first head coach in the team’s new professional era in USL League One.
"I am very excited and grateful for the opportunity to help build on the history of FC Tucson and all of the great people that have built the brand and opportunity in Tucson,” Sawatzky said. “Helping the development pathway for Phoenix Rising through the USL League One team in Tucson is a great opportunity and working with Rick and the staff at Rising is something I am really looking forward to. A big thank you to Bobby Dulle and the ownership group at Phoenix Rising and to Lane Smith and Cliff McElroy at the Tacoma Stars/Sounders U23 for everything in this process. We are looking forward to building a winner."
Sawatzky has a long history of coaching up and down the soccer development pipeline from the amateur to the professional ranks and has been a coaching mainstay in the soccer-rich Pacific Northwest.
Among his many stops was a stint as the Director of Youth Development for the Seattle Sounders. During his tenure, the U16 and U18 boys teams won multiple division titles with the U16 team reaching the national semifinal once. The academy also produced numerous players who went on to become professionals including most notably US National Team members DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United) and Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders).
“We are privileged to have someone with Darren’s wealth of experience to lead FC Tucson in our first year as a professional club,” said Phoenix Rising General Manager Bobby Dulle. “His strong relationship with Rick Schantz will allow him to have a significant impact on our plan of developing talented players that can succeed at the top professional levels in the United States and around the world.”
FC Tucson’s new head coach also brings nearly a decade of professional soccer experience with him to the job which includes stints with Major League Soccer and United Soccer League clubs. At the end of his career, Sawatzky played with then-USL side Seattle Sounders, appearing in 67 matches and scoring 22 goals.
Sawatzky will lead FC Tucson into its first-ever professional season in USL League One. The 2019 season will consist of 28 matches with FC Tucson playing 14 home matches and 14 away matches. The season runs from March 30 to October 4. The USL League 1 playoffs will consist of four teams with the semifinals held on the weekend of October 11-13 and the final to take place from October 17-21.
Fans can now place $25 deposits on season tickets by going to FCTucson.com today.
About FC Tucson
FC Tucson, established in 2010, is participating in its first-ever professional season in USL League 1. In 2012, FC Tucson was named the USL League 2 Rookie Franchise of the Year. To stay up to date on the club, check out the team’s website at www.fctucson.com. You can also visit the team’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FCTUCSON and follow all of the news related to FC Tucson on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FCTucson.
About USL League One
USL League One is shaping the future of the game in the United States, uniting passionate fans in new markets with the thrill of a proven professional soccer experience. League One submitted its sanctioning application to the U.S. Soccer Federation on Aug. 14. South Georgia Tormenta FC, FC Tucson, Greenville Triumph SC, Forward Madison FC, Chattanooga Red Wolves SC, Toronto FC II, Orlando City B, Lansing Ignite FC, North Texas SCand the Richmond Kickers have been revealed as teams set to compete in the inaugural 2019 season.