Growing the game of soccer in Arizona is part of the greater vision of Sporting AZ FC, and that’s why one of our state’s most successful players is involved.
Tempe native and Sporting goalkeeper Andrew Weber caught the eye of Sporting owner Barry Rybicki years ago through Weber’s offseason youth coaching. Rybicki wanted Weber to lead the Sporting squad, and made no mistake in communicating his goals to the 2015 MLS Cup winner. “Barry is someone who has the vision I do,” Weber says.
In the pursuit of a life’s work, the journey often makes the destination, and that’s the way “Webs” looks at it. Born in Texas, Weber and his family, including twin brother and future pro teammate Elliot Weber, moved to Tempe in 1987.
After a successful youth career at TSC Pros in Tempe and his local McClintock High School, Weber attended the University of New Mexico, where he still holds several career records, including wins and saves.
In the summers of 2003 and 2004, Weber and several UNM teammates played in the PDL for Methembe Mblovu, currently the manager of Bantu Rovers in Zimbabwe, and won a national title in 2003 with the Cape Cod Crusaders. “I enjoyed it,” he says. “We all got to develop together, and most of the guys had a chance to go pro. It was a good experience.”
Weber signed with MLS side DC United out of college, and improved his game while training with the likes of Troy Perkins and Nick Rimando. But in 2006, needing a new club and having driven up and down the east coast trialing for various teams, he signed with the Montreal Impact, then playing in the USL First Division.
After three good seasons in Montreal, Weber returned to MLS, signing with the San Jose Earthquakes through a connection with goalkeeper coach Jason Batty. “I’ve been fortunate to train with top-notch goalkeeper coaches,” Weber says. “They all made a huge impact on my professional career.”
Weber played in San Jose alongside Joe Cannon and Chris Wondolowski, before moving on to MLS side Seattle Sounders FC. Eagle-eyed fans spotted Andrew and Elliot on Season 20 of The Amazing Race, as the 2012 MLS season was getting underway.
In 2013, Weber was the star signing for Phoenix FC Wolves of then-USL PRO, before the Sounders beckoned him back to Seattle to complete their campaign. In 2014 he became one of a small group of players to play for both the Sounders and their MLS rivals Portland Timbers FC.
After lifting MLS Cup with the Timbers in 2015, Weber returned to the Valley again, nursing a back injury and getting in some training with local USL side Arizona United SC, then led by Weber’s San Jose manager, Frank Yallop.
Wanting to build something in his home state, Weber had several long conversations with Aidan Davison, head coach of expansion NPSL side FC Arizona, and decided to sign on. “The team was very special,” Weber says. “We were good - undefeated. Aidan was a big part of that.”
FC Arizona, backstopped by Weber, gave up only three goals in 16 regular season matches en route to a conference championship. The core of that side, including Davison, are now signed to Sporting AZ FC, and have qualified for the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
“We’ve got our own thing going on over here,” Weber says of Sporting. “When I saw Barry’s commitment, I decided to join. We have a target on our backs now, and who knows how much longer I’m going to play, but I’ll wear my colors strong.”