Local Valley Boy Niall Dunn signs a professional contract with Phoenix Rising

Sandy Casariego

Nigel Msipa/Unsplash

PHOENIX, AZ — Phoenix Rising FC announced on July 29, 2021, that Niall Dunn, a 16-year-old defender from Chandler, Arizona has signed a professional contract with the club.

The defender has been making progress in the past few months from training with the professionals. Phoenix Rising coaching staff realizes that Dunn has a bigger future if he’s playing the professional game.

“For my hometown club to recognize me as someone that could have a great future at the club, it’s an honor,” said Dunn.

Dunn was born on October 18, 2004, in Scottsdale but grew up in Chandler, Arizona. In 2014 he joined Phoenix Rising’s youth ranks and work hard to reach the academy level in 2020.

He started training with Risings’ first team in early March and played against several MLS teams towards the end of pre-season.

He officially joined United Soccer League Academy on April 2021 to retain his eligibility to play college soccer without losing the opportunity to sign, train, and compete in matches with professional clubs.

Rising currently has seven youth players with USL Academy contracts and Dunn is the first player given the chance to sign a professional contract. Rick Schantz, Phoenix Rising head coach, said Dunn has been working hard to become a pro.

“This is only the second step. He knows he has a long way to go but I hope to one day see him competing for the U.S. National Team. I’ve always believed Arizona was loaded with talented players," said Schantz.

Dunn’s goal this season is to continue working hard and hopefully get to play some matches with the First Team.

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