Eng Out as Arizona Owner, leaves brewing Trump controversy in wake

New Ownership Arizona

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

Majority owner Kyle Eng is out at Arizona United SC – and he leaves some controversy in his wake.

The club has announced that Berke Bakay, the CEO of Kona Grill, will be taking over as majority owner of the club. They also announced the hiring of David Farca as team president.

“We couldn’t be more excited at the opportunity we have with Arizona United by bringing together a who’s who of buisness leaders in the Phoenix area,” said Bakay. “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 Galatasary club in Istanbul.”

Kyle Eng was the majority owner who founded the club in 2014. In his time, he brought on additional investors, including Diplo, Pete Wentz and Brett M. Johnson and also hired notable former MLS talent and management, most notably former Chicago Fire boss, Frank Yallop.

“Launching Arizona United SC, the state’s only professional soccer franchise, ranks among my career highlights,” said Eng. “When we created the club in 2014 I envisioned a role as caretaker of a soccer side that would be a source of pride for the community. But I always planned to pass the torch to new owners who have a deeper passion for the great sport.”

Eng’s exit as majority owner follows one final act of controversy; his support of Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump. That endorsement caused outrage among team fans, most notably in their Hispanic support. After a series of tweets, the fan base and supporters groups acted quickly in claiming they would not support the club should Eng remain in power.

Supporters group La Hermandad 1912’s released a full statement on Twitter:

After months of work, outreach & dialogue with our communities, (something people at Arizona United are employed to do) all of that work has just been undone by Kyle Eng’s ignorance & carelessness. Everyone at La Hermandad 1912 has given up time, money & pride by backing this project and all for the sake of providing a legitimate soccer match experience for Phoenicians as well as giving an honest effort to support a local team. Since the beginning of the season, we have communicated to officials at the club that outreach to the soccer & Latino communities takes time, effort and sincerity on the part of the club. LH1912 has tried it’s best to make up for the lack of manpower & lack of direction. But as we’ve seen tonight, the leading ownership has its time, it’s effort & it’s sincerity with someone who’s openly put entire groups’ names to humiliation & danger. LH1912 will not b e returning as long as he’s in charge. Out.

In 2016, Arizona United is in 11th place in the Western Conference with a record of 8-11-6. Despite a dismal season, they are still only four points shy of eighth place and a playoff spot.

  • Bird man

    Phoenix is a no brainier for MLS but they need serious owners and a dome stadium.
    They can be an skc market right

  • Pancho villa

    Pathetic to pay 200 million to join a supposedly first division league ….with division 4 quality ….

  • rest of world

    MLS is the biggest Ponzi scheme in sports.
    Line current owner’s pockets with new owner’s investments.
    The scheme eventually runs out of new investors.

    Garber and Sunil are the two richest in this scheme.

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