TUCSON, Ariz. – USL Division III announced Tuesday FC Tucson as its first founding member of the league’s West Coast conference.

The club joins South Georgia Tormenta FC, based in Statesboro, Georgia, as a founding member of the new league.

Recently acquired by the USL’s Phoenix Rising FC, FC Tucson will bring professional soccer to the more than one million residents of the second-largest city in Arizona.

The announcement also marked the first formal affiliation between USL and USL Division III clubs. An in-market announcement celebrating FC Tucson’s move to the new professional league will occur later this year.

FC Tucson has delivered on-field success in the Premier Development League since beginning play in 2012:

* It has amassed a record of 53-15-18 in the regular season and 5-5 record in the PDL playoffs.

* It secured three PDL Mountain Division Championships (2014, 2015, 2017).

* Captured one PDL Southwest Division Championship (2016).

* Finished as three-time PDL Western Conference finalists (2014, 2015, 2016).

* Competed in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup four times (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017).

“FC Tucson’s move to USL Division III demonstrates the visionary ownership that exists within the USL system, and I applaud the club’s leadership for recognizing the opportunity to continue growing their clubs and the communities in which they operate,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have FC Tucson as a founding member of USL Division III alongside South Georgia Tormenta FC, and expect the club to continue its tremendous record of success from the Premier Development League.”

Phoenix Rising FC Governor Berke Bakay leads an ownership comprised of experienced CEOs, private equity financiers, entrepreneurs, real estate experts, surgeons and global leaders in the entertainment industry – including multi-platinum recording artist Diplo, Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz and veteran Major League Baseball pitcher Brandon McCarthy. The ownership group also includes Tucson native Dr. Mark Leber.

“We’re on the front lines of the growth of professional soccer in the U.S., and we see tremendous potential for professional soccer in Tucson,” Dr. Leber said. “The city has proven time and again, through its successful MLS Preseason tournament and support of FC Tucson in the PDL, that there is an appetite for professional soccer in the market. At Phoenix Rising FC, we intend to continue raising the bar for the quality of soccer in the state, and launching a professional team in Tucson will help us establish a true player development pipeline.”

FC Tucson, which currently competes at Kino North Stadium, will anchor the western expansion of USL Division III, as the league grows to a three-conference structure, emphasizing regional rivalries.

Tormenta FC recently filed plans to construct a new state-of-the-art 5,000-seat soccer-specific stadium in Statesboro, which will provide an exciting and authentic professional soccer experience for fans and players.