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Rising FC reacquires goalkeeper Rocco Ríos Novo in loan deal

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 01/19/24, 12:09PM EST


Argentine goalkeeper proved key in run to 2023 USL Championship title, returns from Lanus for 2024 campaign

Rocco Ríos Novo was nominated for the Championship's Young Player of the Year award before playing a key role in Phoenix Rising FC's first league title. | Photo courtesy Irina Filenko / Sacramento Republic FC

PHOENIX – Phoenix Rising FC announced on Friday the club had acquired goalkeeper Rocco Ríos Novo on loan from Argentine club Lanus for a second consecutive campaign, returning the young standout to the squad after his key role in Rising FC’s 2023 USL Championship title. The transaction is pending league and federation approval, and receipt of the player’s International Transfer Certificate.

Ríos Novo had a breakout campaign for Phoenix last season, recording individual single-season bests with 102 saves and a 73.7 save percentage and seven shutouts in the regular season. The 21-year-old went on to record 14 saves in four postseason contests and came up with two decisive saves in the penalty shootout of the 2023 USL Championship Final against the Charleston Battery to claim MVP honors as Phoenix earned its first league title.

“Rocco was a tremendous addition for us last season,” said Phoenix Head Coach Danny Stone. “We knew of his ability to help us build out of the back before he arrived, but he excelled in that area beyond our expectations. His personality made him a massive connector within the team. Being so young, we only expect that will grow. We expect the competition between him and Patrick [Rakovsky] to be just as intense it was last season.”

Ríos Novo has made 54 regular season appearances in the Championship overall in his career, having previously competed for Atlanta United 2 over two seasons. He also made 16 appearances in Major League Soccer during his time with Atlanta and has competed for Argentina up to the U-23 level internationally.

“The team transformed into a great group throughout last season,” said Ríos Novo. “We overcame good moments and bad moments, which made us stronger when it came to playing important games like in the playoffs or the final. The fact the team knows each other well is now a great advantage for us. We are going to work very hard during the year to try to match what we did last season and to be able to continue giving joy and memorable moments to the fans.”


Rocco Ríos Novo’s return to Phoenix for a second season will see the young goalkeeper try to add to a breakthrough campaign in 2023. If he does, it should usher him into the upper echelon of goalkeepers in the USL Championship and provide a platform for even bigger things to come in the future.

Ríos Novo’s playoff heroics were impressive, but his raised level of consistency despite a heavy workload in the regular season and playoffs made him stand out. Nominated for the Championship’s Young Player of the Year award, the 21-year-old posted a Goals Prevented mark of -6.7 in the regular season while ranking second in the league with 102 saves. A repeat of that could provide the foundation for Phoenix to rise in the regular season standings our West as they defend their crown this campaign.

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