Phoenix Rising FC forward Billy Forbes his living his dream.
The Turks and Caicos native is in his first year with the Arizona soccer team and is looking forward to honing his skills with his idol, legendary Chelsea and Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba.
“He’s one of my favorite players of all time,” says Forbes, a new East Valley resident. “To get a little chance to play alongside his year is going to make my time here even better.
“He’s played everywhere in the world you can imagine. At the end of the day, he’s probably a cool guy to be around. There are some great guys here, though. I’m really looking forward to learning from all of them.”
He’ll begin his journey on Saturday, March 17, when Phoenix Rising kicks off its season at Orange County Soccer Club, followed by the home opener in Scottsdale on Saturday, March 24, against Oklahoma City Energy Football Club. In its second year with the United Soccer League, Phoenix Rising will play last year’s playoff opponent, Swope Park Rangers, on Saturday, April 21, at home.
Established in 2013, Phoenix Rising FC is owned by Drogba, Kona Grill CEO Berke Bakay and other business leaders and celebrities, including Diplo and Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz.
“I can’t wait for the season to start,” says the 27-year-old Forbes, who is engaged but hasn’t set a date yet. “My goals are always the same: score goals, get assists and help the team get to the playoffs and hopefully make it to the finals.”
Forbes has been surrounded by soccer most of his life. His mother played soccer and his dad, who is part English, is a fan.
“I just fell in love with the sport,” he says. “I watched my mom play. I used to do track and field in high school as well. I fell in love with soccer more than anything else. I dedicated my life to the sport and it’s paying off.”
Forbes began his career in 2006, with the Provopool Celtic. He made his international debut for Turks and Caicos Islands in 2008 at age 16. A year later, he earned a scholarship to Western Texas College. He also played college soccer for Lubbock Christian University. Forbes hit the pros with the Mississippi Brilla, WV King’s Warriors and San Antonio Scorpions. In May 2014, he scored the game-winning goal in the 2014 Soccer Bowl.
“That was the highlight of my career, winning the championship in 2014 and scoring the goal to win the championship,” Forbes says. “I am also proud of playing for my nation’s team.”
Since he moved to the Valley, Forbes has enjoyed hiking and the diverse restaurants.
“I went fishing the other day,” he says. “That was cool. I love it here so far.”
But his time here all comes down to winning another championship. He sees Phoenix Rising as a playoff contention team.
“What I can bring to the table is more excitement,” he adds. “It’s a booming market here and I can add to it.”
Phoenix Rising FC, 751 N. McClintock Drive, Scottsdale, 602.900.0083, phxrisingfc.com.