July 1, 2015 |
Union coach Jim Curtin knows who his goalkeeper will be for his team's U.S. Open Cup game against D.C. United Tuesday night at PPL Park. But Curtin isn't willing to disclose his decision. Brian Sylvestre has started the last nine Major League Soccer games for the Union in goal, but he is ineligible to play for them in this tournament since he competed in the earlier rounds for the Carolina RailHawks of the NASL. Curtin's choice is either John McCarthy or Andre Blake. McCarthy starred in the Union's opening U.S. Open Cup game, a 3-1 win in penalty kicks against the Rochester Rhinos.
June 5, 2015 |
Our outsize investments of time, energy, and money in athletes and arenas tempt us to regard sports as more than just games. Politicians are no exception, forever buying and selling the idea that stadiums aren't only a means of providing entertainment and reaping profits, but the linchpins of the economic revivals that have so far eluded any number of American cities. In fact, study after study has failed to attribute any significant economic impact to sports facilities. Chester is one of many towns relearning that lesson, in this case at the feet of PPL Park, a professional soccer stadium surrounded by the same economic wasteland that greeted its arrival five years ago this month.
June 1, 2015 |
Inside the gates of PPL Park on game days, nearly 18,500 fans bustle around the $122 million Major League Soccer stadium on the Chester waterfront. They cheer the Union, they relax, they buy drinks and food. For a few hours, it's an image from Chester that few might recognize. But by the day's end, those visitors abruptly leave - returning to homes far outside Chester's city limits - without ever venturing beyond the I-95 ramp leading to the complex. It's been nearly five years since PPL Park opened with high expectations: The stadium would become a hub for economic development, the centerpiece of a waterfront stretch that would include housing, corporate offices, and a convention center.
May 20, 2015 |
Once again, the Union are looking for a head of soccer operations. The team's CEO and operating partner, Nick Sakiewicz, said Monday that Rene Meulensteen's six-month term as consultant will end this month and will not be extended. Meulensteen is leaving for personal reasons, Sakiewicz said. Jim Curtin is the Union's head coach and Chris Albright is technical director, directly involved in player management and movement in addition to coaching decisions. Sakiewicz has been the object of recent fan derision.
May 10, 2015 |
The Union are in a dire goalkeeping situation. Goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi, who returned to the Union this week after the team suggested he take time off after a rough start, didn't travel to Vancouver, and won't play in Saturday's Major League Soccer game against the Whitecaps. He attended practice Tuesday and Wednesday and wasn't on the field with the team on Thursday before they departed for Vancouver. Brian Sylvestre, 22, was acquired by short-term loan and will be the Union's starting goalie.
March 8, 2015 |
The sun was shining on PPL Park on Friday morning as Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" blasted through the speakers. But even the famous song could not drown out the chorus of scraping shovels and beeping trucks that echoed through the stadium. Workers in parkas, hats, and gloves moved through each row, using orange shovels to scrape snow and ice from seats and stairways. A dump truck carried snow across the field and out of the stadium before returning for another load. The snowstorm that hit the Philadelphia region Thursday arrived just two days before the Union's Major League Soccer home opener against the Colorado Rapids.
January 28, 2015 |
IF THERE IS one thing that won't surprise Union head coach Jim Curtin and technical director/assistant coach Chris Albright, it will be the high expectations placed on them by the team's fan base. Not too long ago, Curtin and Albright were on the other side of the fence, demanding commitments of excellence from the management of the Eagles, Flyers, Phillies and Sixers. Curtin is from Oreland and in 2001 became the first Villanova player taken in the Major League Soccer draft, by the Chicago Fire.
July 25, 2014
THE FINAL, semifinal and third-place games of this October's CONCACAF women's championship will be played at Chester's PPL Park, U.S. Soccer announced yesterday. The games will be held Oct. 24 and 26, with the winner, runner-up and third-place finisher automatically qualifying for next year's FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada. Ticket information is not yet available, and kickoff times for the tournament will not be set until Sept. 5. Fox Sports will broadcast the matches across its multiple channels.
July 2, 2014 |
Asking whether the United States is now a "soccer nation," which has become a timely if peculiar fascination during the excitement of the World Cup, is like asking if the U.S. is a "broccoli nation. " Soccer is consumed here regularly; fervidly by some, occasionally by others, and not at all by those who simply don't care for it. For the most part in this country - with the notable exception of the NFL - that's no different than any other sport. The United States has many basketball fans and hockey fans, but none of them feel it necessary to hear that this is a "basketball nation" or "hockey nation.
June 14, 2014 |
The two men on the dais Thursday morning at PPL Park could not have dressed more differently. Union CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz, the man tasked with rebuilding the club once more, wore a patterned shirt unbuttoned at the collar, his sleeves rolled up. Work mode, he called it. At his right elbow, interim manager Jim Curtin sat in a dark suit, his tie crisply knotted, the mop of red hair from his MLS playing days neatly shorn....