Photo courtesy Michael Rincon / Phoenix Rising FC
PHOENIX – Phoenix Rising FC announced on Friday it had re-signed midfielder Gladson Awako and defender Doue Mala for the 2018 USL season, continuing the retention of the club’s core from its past season. The signings are pending league and federation approval.
A Ghanaian international, Awako recorded an 81.6 percent passing accuracy rate in 11 appearances for the club in 2017 and helped lead Rising FC’s surge into the USL Cup Playoffs for the first time in club history.
Awako made his debut for Phoenix on Sept. 6 as a substitute in Rising FC’s 0-0 draw with Orange County SC. He came to the club from TP Mazambe, a Congolese soccer club that was once led by current Phoenix Rising coach Patrice Carteron. Awako also has played internationally, appearing in the 2009 FIFA U20 World Cup for the U20 Ghanaian National Team.
Mala also arrived past the halfway point of the USL regular season, but quickly became a stalwart along the backline for the club, finishing the season third in clearances despite coming to Phoenix late in the season.
The 23-year-old native of the Ivory Coast made his Rising FC debut on Aug. 12th in a 1-1 draw with Rio Grande Valley FC, and ended the season with 21 interceptions in 10 matches. Mala had previously played for Ivorian side Williamsville Athletic Club. He helped Williamsville finish second in the Ivory Coast’s top division, which qualified them for the 2018 CAF Champions League.