New Phoenix Rising FC goalkeeper Patrick Rakovsky has made 55 appearances in the league, and helped Orange County SC claim the title in 2021. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC
PHOENIX – Phoenix Rising FC announced on Tuesday the club had signed goalkeeper Patrick Rakovsky ahead of the 2023 USL Championship season. The transaction is pending league and federation approval.
“Patrick is a veteran goalkeeper that knows this league very well,” said Rising FC Head Coach Juan Guerra. “He has excelled at this level in the past and knows what it takes to win. He is very comfortable with the ball at his feet, which fits our style of play very well. He’s going to provide us with a lot of leadership and character. He’ll be an asset on the field and in the locker room for us.”
Rakovsky joins Phoenix having spent the past two seasons with fellow Championship club Orange County SC. The 29-year-old appeared in 55 matches for Orange County across the regular season and playoffs in the past two years, posting a save percentage of 67.7 percent on 153 saves and notching 13 shutouts.
In the 2021 season, Rakovsky helped lead Orange County to victory in the USL Championship Final, twice helping the side advance through penalty shootouts against Oakland Roots SC and San Antonio FC before making a key penalty save early in the Championship Final against the Tampa Bay Rowdies during the side’s 3-1 victory at Al Lang Stadium.
“Phoenix is one of the top teams in the USL, certainly in the West,” said Rakovsky. “The fans are passionate. The atmosphere is great. When I was here with Orange County we would always say ‘this is the best field we’re going to play on all year.’ On top of that for me was having a lot of friends and family in the stands. My wife is from Scottsdale, and I had over 100 friends and family in attendance each time we played here. Unfortunately for Phoenix, I had some really good games here, but now and because of all that, I am really excited to be here.”
Rakovsky previously made his professional debut in his home country of Germany as an 18-year-old in 2011 for then-Bundesliga side Nürnberg. His debut came in front of 80,000 Borussia Dortmund fans.
“I came from Schalke to Nürnberg, planning on being the third goalkeeper, but was able to win the battle for the second spot,” said Rakovsky. “The starter was injured in training prior to the third game, so I got the start in Dortmund having come from Schalke, BvB’s biggest rival. At that time, Manuel Neuer had just left Schalke, so the fans there were rooting for me to be the next guy. The fan base was behind me. A few thousand Schalke fans even came out to support me. It was amazing.”
Rakovsky played one more match in the Bundesliga and 14 more in the Regionalliga Bayern with Nürnberg II that season. He remained with Nürnberg through 2017, appearing in a total of 94 matches between the Bundesliga (8), 2. Bundesliga (31) and Regionalliga (55) in the next five years.
He was then transferred to Lierse in Belgium for the 2017-18 season, making 25 appearances. He then spent the 2019-20 seasons with Lahti of the Finnish Premier League. Rakovsky made 34 appearances before joining Orange County.