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Edgardo Rito makes move to Phoenix Rising FC

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 12/20/23, 1:26PM EST


27-year-old claimed Championship All-League First Team honors with Oakland in 2022

Phoenix Rising FC has signed Venezuelan right back Edgardo Rito, who has made 96 appearances across the USL Championship's regular season and playoffs so far in his career. | Photo courtesy Hartford Athletic

PHOENIX – Phoenix Rising FC announced on Wednesday the club had signed defender Edgardo Rito ahead of the 2024 USL Championship season. The transaction is pending league and federation approval.

Rito joins Phoenix having most recently competed for fellow USL Championship club Hartford Athletic, where he recorded two assists in 19 appearances after a midseason transfer from Oakland Roots SC. The 27-year-old has made 96 appearances in the Championship across the regular season and playoffs during his career, recording nine goals and 12 assists.

“One of the many reasons I wanted to join Rising was my familiarity with [Rising head coach] Juan Guerra,” said Rito. “Secondly, it is a good club. Players speak very highly of Phoenix within the league. This is the right time for me to come to this club. It will help me to keep growing and advancing. I expect to take full advantage of this opportunity.”

Rito came to the U.S. for the first time in 2019-20, playing 34 matches and scoring twice for the New York Red Bulls II in the USL Championship. He returned to Colombia for the 2021 season, scoring three times in his second stint with Patriotas Boyaca (32 appearances) before joining current Rising FC Head Coach Juan Guerra when he coached Oakland Roots SC for the 2022 season. With Oakland, Rito recorded five goals and seven assists in 33 appearances to earn Championship All-League First Team honors. He also notched two goals and two assists in 10 appearances for Roots SC in 2023 before his move to Hartford.

“Rito’s mentality, athleticism, technical ability and understanding of our style of play make him a massive addition to our roster,” said Guerra. “His ability to go forward and create chances makes him a top player at any level. I am very happy to reunite with him. I am looking forward to seeing him adapts to his new teammates next month.”


Edgardo Rito’s move to Phoenix Rising FC bookends Tuesday’s announcement of the arrival of Juan Carlos Azocar at the club, reuniting the two wide threats that helped Oakland Roots SC advance to the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2022 USL Championship Playoffs with their former coach in Juan Guerra.

Rito has been a strong attacking defensive player in his career overall with his speed on the right side one of his eye-catching traits since arriving with the Red Bulls II in 2019. His defensive work has been more suspect – Rito’s career duel success rate is 44.9 percent, and his tackle success rate is 57.3 percent – but as a right-sided wingback he should be an immediate starter in this Phoenix lineup.

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