Greg Vanney did some great things while representing Arizona as a professional soccer player.
Vanney retired about 18 months ago and now is giving back to the game he loves, helping develop Arizona’s youth players. The state’s prodigal soccer son runs a new soccer facility on a resort, Francisco Grande, in Casa Grande that the San Francisco Giants used as their first spring-training home.
The soccer facility has the potential of becoming a premier soccer spot with the services it provides. Three of Major Leagues Soccer’s teams trained and lived at the resort before this season started.
U.S. Soccer will inform Vanney after May 23rd if a youth team based in Casa Grande will compete in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy’s league this year. Vanney’s former L.A. Galaxy teammate Mike Munoz and former U.S. national team goalkeeper
Juergen Sommer will help coach the team that will represent Arizona and pro team Real Salt Lake.
RSL is the nearest MLS team to Arizona. Most of the players on the RSL youth team will be from Arizona.
“I think there is a lot of talent in the state,” Vanney said.
On Saturday Vanney, 35, will represent his alma mater, Tempe Marcos de Niza, where Vanney also coaches, again as a soccer player.
Marcos de Niza and Phoenix Brophy will replay their 1990 state title game that ended in a 0-0 tie. Brophy alum Brian Wendel organized the game and got Gatorade to promote the 7 p.m. game at Brophy.
The Marcos de Niza-Brophy rivalry produced a handful of college and professional players.
“It (Saturday’s game) is going to be fun,” Vanney said. “It’s a reunion, but as soon as the whistle blows and somebody gets fouled it’s going to turn into a game.”
For more information on the Francisco Grande soccer