Thomas Wesley Pentz, better known as five-time Grammy-nominated producer, DJ, and recording artist Diplo, has had many illustrious collaborators since his rise in the early 2000s — M.I.A., Shakira, Robyn, Kid Cudi, Bruno Mars, No Doubt, and Snoop Dogg, to name a few. Now to that list you can add — drum roll, please — Phoenix's Arizona United Soccer Club.
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Diplo, along with TMWRK Management, heads up a group of music executives and other recording artists who have purchased a minority stake in the Arizona United Soccer Club, the state's only professional soccer franchise. The club is now in its third year in the United Soccer League (USL), the fastest-growing American professional soccer league recognized by the U.S. Soccer Federation.
In a statement released January 27, Diplo said, “I’ve been really fortunate to travel all over the world and experience different cultures through music. Wherever I am — Jamaica, Spain, England, China, etc., — soccer is a social constant. I wanted to figure out a way to get involved with the game and team sports, so when Arizona United presented itself, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I see soccer the same way I see music, as a connective tissue linking the world’s cultures.”
Could this concentrated interest from such a high-profile backer make all the difference in finally making the world's football our own? Arizona United SC co-chairmen Kyle Eng and Brett Johnson seem to think so. In a statement, they said, “Diplo, throughout his music career as a DJ, Producer, and artist, has always been about global culture, youth culture, and inclusiveness, and we couldn’t think of a better match to not only fit our core demographic, but to wrap our team around.”