The Arizona United soccer team has made some big-league moves in the last few weeks to win a major league soccer franchise for the Valley in the next four years.
"Diplo is absolutely (a) big-league move," Kyle Eng, the Peoria advertising executive who owns the team, said in an interview Wednesday.
Diplo isn't a midfielder from Brazil. He's an international electronic dance music star, and now an Arizona United co-owner and board member.
Eng rattled off the stats: "Most downloaded song on Spotify last year -- 40 million downloads."
Diplo's 1.6 million Twitter followers get those stats. They're also getting his tweets about Arizona United season tickets.
"They really have this emotional connection between millenials that is really hard to define," Eng said. "These millenials (are) all where it is right now."
Celebrity owners with young followers are part of the formula for teams like Arizona United that want to make the leap from minor league soccer to the big leagues -- Major League Soccer.
Eng expects his three-year-old team to be in MLS in four years.
"For sure it's our goal to get into MLS by 2020," he said.
A big-league coach is another part of the formula. The team recently hired MLS veteran Frank Yallop.
"He's the fifth winningest coach in MLS," Eng said. "Why would he come here? Because he sees the vision of what we can do here."
Eng's big missing piece is a soccer-only stadium. He says he has investors who can pay for it. Potential sites include the Arizona State Fairgrounds or Phoenix Greyhound Park.
"I think it's highly ambitious, which is good," said Adam Thelwell, who runs SmallGoalSoccer.com, a nationwide, recreational soccer league. He's also an Arizona United season ticket holder.
"It can never hurt to have a celebrity endorsement. I think that's huge to be able to connect to the fans through music and entertainment."
But Thelwell says there's not shortage of cities seeking MLS franchises, and the Valley lacks the amenities and support those other cities have.
"I think they really need to unite soccer fans across the city with a common goal in mind," Thelwell said.
One of challenges in uniting fans is finding a permanent home. The team will play this season at the Peoria Sports Complex after spending last season at Scottsdale Stadium.
The team's first home game this season is April 30.