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Phoenix Rising FC

How the Rising beat the heat

© Antranik Tavitian/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Phoenix Rising’s season spans from March to October, with two and a half of those months being unbearably hot in Phoenix and temperatures averaging 105 degrees. Even more challenges presented themselves during the 2023 summer as it was one for the record books with highs averaging 114 degrees. 

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“It’s a massive, massive challenge that we have for two and half months,” manager Juan Guerra said. “On the other side of the coin when you play at home and the teams come in, they suffer it as well, (but) our players have been dealing with that (heat) for seven or six days of training.”

Hot cleats and outdoor games during 114 degree heat is something that Rising players and coaches have had to learn to adapt to. Because of the heat, the Rising have historically held home games no earlier than 7:30 p.m. – or sunset.

The Rising faced the Las Vegas Lights FC on the road on Aug. 26 and have had two more home games since, totaling to three games over a span of a week. 

When the team faces a demanding schedule, Guerra would like to let the team get a rest day and sleep-in to recover. However, given the scorching heat in Phoenix, this is an unfeasible option if he wants to get a practice session in.

“It’s been 115 since (Vegas),” Guerra said. “We still gotta wake them up very early to beat the highest wave (of heat).”

It takes more to keep the players safe and healthy than managing their time on the field and what they doe in the locker room post-practice or match. Recovery never stops when overcoming the heat and players need to continue their recovery away from the staff as well.

“It’s what we do here, but also what are they doing when they’re not here,” Guerra said. “So, I think it comes from both sides, from the staff and also the players.”

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Taylyn Hadley is a sports and general assignment reporter for Burn City Sports. You can follow her on X via @TAYLYNH11.

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