Didier Drogba has said that Phoenix is an ideal place for the Major League Soccer (MLS)as the United Soccer League side seeks one of the slots in the MLS expansion bid.

The club signed the former Chelsea player on a two year deal and the Ivorian joined the ownership ranks.

Phoenix Rising FC are hoping to be amongst the 12 cities as the 22-year old MLS expands. At a news conference in Scottsdale on Tuesday, Drogba said Phoenix can be an MLS city and that it was the prospect of the project that won his heart over.

Drogba was at the conference alongside the President and Deputy Commissioner of the MLS Mark Abbott on a site visit of the club’s complex. Abbott said the United States has become a soccer nation with the way the MLS has grown over time. Abbott added that he was impressed with the attention given to creating “a great fan experience” at the new stadium. He saw it as a sign of better things to come from the club owners.

The MLS has expanded from the 10 teams that played in the 1990s to the 22 teams in it now. Phoenix is amongst the candidates for expansion alongside San Antonio, San Diego, St Louis, Tampa/St Petersburg, Raleigh/Durham, Nashville, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Sacramento and Indianapolis.

The demographics of the city with a heavy Hispanic representation and the big media market is expected to play a positive role as Phoenix dreams of the MLS. Most of the expansion candidates have MLS sides within 300 miles unlike Phoenix. With more recognition and branding, the fans at games have significantly improved.

Drogba is expected to finish his career at the club before moving into an executive role. The former Montreal Impact star has first-hand experience of the league that should help him during his stay in Phoenix.