Soccer superstar talks about bringing passion for soccer to the Valley

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Omar Bravo is getting pumped for the new season for Phoenix Rising FC. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Omar Bravo is getting pumped for the new season for Phoenix Rising FC. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The team is hoping to build a fanbase and become part of the MLS. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The team is hoping to build a fanbase and become part of the MLS. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
A cadre of fans showed up at Sky Harbor airport to greet Bravo when he arrived in Phoenix more than a month ago. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A cadre of fans showed up at Sky Harbor airport to greet Bravo when he arrived in Phoenix more than a month ago. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Phoenix Rising FC logo. (Source: phxrisingfc.com) Phoenix Rising FC logo. (Source: phxrisingfc.com)
An illustration of what the stadium will eventually look like. (Source: phxrisingfc.com) An illustration of what the stadium will eventually look like. (Source: phxrisingfc.com)
CASA GRANDE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

When you first see the group of players kicking the ball around at a park in Casa Grande, you could mistake it for just another pickup game of soccer. 

Until you notice that is not just any player on the pitch, that's Omar Bravo. Omar Bravo, as in the leading scorer for C.D. Guadalajara, better known simply as Chivas. 

He also happens to have two goals in World Cup play against Iran in 2006.

Bravo is now with United Soccer League team, Phoenix Rising

We caught up with him at training camp in Casa Grande to find out what sold him on Arizona.

“There was a good opportunity here to keep playing soccer and keep trying to win things in the United States,” he says. “And bring the passion of soccer to Phoenix.”

Phoenix is in the running for a Major League Soccer expansion and Bravo is excited to be part of the excitement around the team.

[READ MORE: Phoenix Rising Football Club Officially Submits Expansion Application to Major League Soccer]

“To be in the major league, it is very important to be an elite team, a team that is being talked about,” Bravo said.

A cadre of fans showed up at Sky Harbor airport to greet Bravo when he arrived in Phoenix more than a month ago. He says he would like to see those fans now turn out for his new team.

“Without a doubt, without a doubt. That's the idea because this team is getting ready to go to the MLS. And to get to the MLS, you first have to have a leading team, and then gain a large fan base. The idea is to have a fast and contagious following for Phoenix Rising, just like at Chivas,” Bravo said.

Bravo says his teammates and the staff are all committed to building that kind of top team.

"The team is getting into a rhythm for the preseason, to do things the best possible way and get in good shape for the season in March,” Bravo said.

And he is looking forward not only to this season with this team, but hoping it inspires a whole new generation of homegrown soccer stars playing the beautiful game.

“Kids are the future of soccer, not only in Mexico but also here in the U.S.,” he says with a smile.

Phoenix Rising plays its home opener Saturday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. at its new “pop-up” stadium just north of the Loop 101-Loop 202 interchange on the Tempe-Scottsdale border.

[RELATED: Valley pro soccer team announces new name, stadium plans]

For more information visit http://www.phxrisingfc.com/.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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