Birds' kindness bubbles over

Posted: December 13, 2013

THE EAGLES have always reached out to the local community. Everything from charity appearances, to visiting fans in hospitals, to building playgrounds.

Last night the Birds soared to new heights by making their practice bubble available to the West Chester University football team so it could prepare for Saturday's Division II national semifinal against Lenoir-Rhyne.

Due to the recent snowfalls, many area fields are unplayable so the Eagles are allowing several teams to use the facility.

This afternoon, St. Joseph's Prep will get a bubblicious experience as it practices for Saturday's PIAA championship vs. Pittsburgh Central Catholic.

"We have relationships with many of the local teams through various connections within the organization," Eagles CFO Frank Gumienny said via email last night. "A couple of those teams had reached out to us to see if our facilities would be available and Don and Howie wanted to be supportive of those teams given the storms that came through over the past few days. They figured that if we had an opportunity to be a good neighbor, we should certainly help out any way we could."

Don is Eagles president Don Smolenski, and Howie is general manager Howie Roseman. They are part of an organization with a winning reputation on and off the field.

"On Saturday we have time reserved for the soccer teams who are coming in for the NCAA Final Four," said Gumienny. "There is a chance that Army and/or Navy will also use the facilities, since they will be playing on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field."

Gumienny said Roseman and head coach Chip Kelly were "on board" with the decision to share the facility, which is something that is not often done.

"We have made our facilities available to teams who come in from time to time," Gumienny explained. "The U.S. men's national soccer team has practiced here a few times, as well as some of the international soccer teams who have come through Philadelphia over the years. Last year the teams involved in the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four all practiced here due to inclement weather. The Soul have also used it a few times."

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