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Phoenix adds versatile defender Laurence Wyke

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 01/26/24, 3:35PM EST


Veteran joins from Nashville SC, has made almost 100 appearances in Championship over career

New Phoenix Rising FC signing Laurence Wyke has shown off his versatiliy in 95 appearances in the USL Championship previously in his career. | Photo courtesy Matt May / Tampa Bay Rowdies

PHOENIX – Phoenix Rising FC announced on Friday the club had signed versatile defender Laurence Wyke ahead of the 2024 USL Championship season. The transaction is pending league and federation approval.

Wyke spent last season with Major League Soccer side, Nashville SC. He appeared in three U.S. Open Cup matches for the side, playing the full 90 minutes in each. Nashville SC earned shutouts against San Antonio FC and FC Dallas in those matches, allowing just 0.66 goals per game. Wyke assisted on Alex Muyl’s goal in a 2-1 loss to Inter Miami CF in the Round of 16 after sending in a dangerous cross from the right flank. 

“Laurence has been a high-quality player with an extremely competitive team in this league,” said Rising FC Head Coach Danny Stone. “He was a big part of the success they enjoyed in Tampa Bay. He will add competitiveness, quality, versatility, and presence here in Phoenix.”

Wyke also competed on loan with both the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the USL Championship and for Huntsville City FC, Nashville’s reserve team in MLS NEXT Pro. Wyke’s time on loan in Tampa Bay saw a return to the club for the versatile Englishman, who played as both a defender and midfielder for the Rowdies before signing with Nashville prior to the 2023 season.

“I’m really happy to be heading to Phoenix, the reigning USL champions,” said Wyke. “I’ve always had my eye on Phoenix. I like the way they play. It’s a very professional environment.”

Wyke has made 95 appearances in the USL Championship overall in his career, 66 of which came with Tampa Bay over two seasons. He previously competed for Atlanta United 2, where his performances in 2019 saw him earn an MLS contract with Atlanta United FC and earn seven appearances in Major League Soccer during the 2020 season.


Laurence Wyke is being billed as a defender by Phoenix Rising FC, but the versatility he brings to his new club could see him just as easily become a key component in the center of midfield this season after the departure via transfer of Carlos Harvey. The 27-year-old showed off his attacking qualities with three goals, eight assists and 60 chances created in 66 appearances for the Tampa Bay Rowdies between the 2021 and 2022 seasons while predominantly playing as a deep-lying midfielder.

What Wyke will also bring, though, is a strong ball-winning capability. He averaged 215 recoveries a season with Tampa Bay while also making 79 interceptions and winning 105 tackles at a 68.6 percent success rate. Wherever he slots into the Rising FC lineup, Wyke should have a positive impact.

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