July 22, 2011 |
Don Smolenski described it as a "moment where the wind got knocked out" of him. The Eagles' chief operating officer was referring to the disappointing news that Qatar was to receive the 2022 FIFA World Cup, despite exhaustive efforts from the United States to return the world's greatest sporting event back to these shores for the first time since 1994. Lincoln Financial Field was one of 18 final venues selected by U.S. Soccer's bid committee to host an event, and few worked more diligently than Smolenski and Co. to make it a reality.
July 20, 2011 |
"We don't put too much into what happens. It's a team that's worth hundreds of millions of dollars vs. a team that's worth maybe $10 or 15 [million] at the most. In the world of soccer, that's a massive difference and you expect them to win . . . We're not playing against Cristiano Ronaldo or Kaka in our league. We take it for what it is. " - Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan after a 4-1 loss to Real Madrid --- IN THE GRAND scheme, it's hard to disagree with Landon Donovan.
July 15, 2011 |
As the Union's chief executive officer and operating partner, Nick Sakiewicz gets to pull rank, which might explain why he will be in the starting lineup for Friday's inaugural River Cup Challenge, 6:30 p.m. at PPL Park. This unique event will pit the Union management in a benefit soccer game against the Sons of Ben supporters club. To the victor goes the coveted River Cup. But as Sakiewicz points out, the true winner will be Chester United, a soccer club the Union started for the youth of Chester, which has approximately 600 members.
July 10, 2011 |
In his office on the top floor of the old Delaware County Electric power plant along the river in Chester, Philadelphia Union chief executive officer and managing partner Nick Sakiewicz points to a photo of the December 2008 groundbreaking at PPL Park just down the block. "I was in such pain right there," Sakiewicz said as he glanced at the photo of himself with another Union partner. "I hugged him and whispered in his ear, 'I've got to get out of here.' " Sakiewicz assumed his acute lower-back pain was familiar, from his days as a goalkeeper.
June 7, 2011 |
When PPL Park was being built, Philadelphia Union fans imagined what it could become: a grand soccer locus that routinely hosted large crowds. That came to be. Now fans may need to envision the year-old stadium in a new way: bigger. Union officials are developing long-term plans to expand the arena, contemplating a three-phase process, the first to increase seating from 18,500 to 20,000. If all goes well, that construction could start in 2014, according to team chief executive officer Nick Sakiewicz.
June 3, 2011 |
For the second year in a row an international soccer power has decided to showcase its skills against the Union in Philadelphia while making a limited U.S. tour. A year ago, England's Manchester United played the Union at Lincoln Financial Field. And now, as announced two weeks ago, Spain's Real Madrid will be coming to the Linc on July 23 to play a friendly against the Union. Philadelphia was among four stops for Manchester United last year in its North American tour. Real Madrid will end a three-game U.S. trip in Philadelphia after playing in Los Angeles on July 7 and San Diego on July 20. So why is Philadelphia such a desirable stop?
May 27, 2011 |
Michael Farfan won't soon forget his first score. The Union rookie midfielder/defender from the University of North Carolina tallied his first Major League Soccer goal in Saturday's 2-1 win over the visiting Chicago Fire and broke a scoreless tie with the strike in the 64th minute. "I was excited to get on the field and get a start at home in front of our great fans and the goal was awesome," said Farfan, who was making his second start and third appearance of the season. "It definitely was a confidence booster just to get out there and compete at this level and was definitely a good thing.
May 19, 2011 |
Cristiano Ronaldo will get a chance to taste a cheesesteak this summer. As will Jose "The Special One" Mourinho. Because an announcement scheduled for this morning will confirm that the Union will host Real Madrid. Mourinho, Real's coach, and his star-studded cast will play the Union at Lincoln Financial Field on July 23 as part of the World Football Challenge, a schedule of summer exhibition matches between South American, European and Major League Soccer clubs that will run from July 13 to Aug. 6. On Tuesday, a source close to negotiations told the Daily News that scheduling issues and the Union's desire to play the Spanish Cup champions' first team and not a group of reserves delayed an announcement.
May 5, 2011 |
They all had a story - a reason why they were involved. When PPL Park hosts the inaugural Fall Brawl for a Cure college lacrosse tournament in October, it will be for more than just pride for the four teams involved. To them, it's another major step in efforts to eradicate cancer. Villanova, Stony Brook, Loyola (Md.) and Siena College will highlight an all-day tournament benefiting the American Cancer Society on Saturday, Oct. 22. Youth games will be played on adjacent fields set up around the stadium starting at 9 a.m., before the pairing of Stony Brook and Loyola at 3 p.m., followed by Siena and Villanova, currently ranked eighth in the nation.
April 27, 2011 |
The Union will host English Premier League club Everton on July 20 at PPL Park. Game time is 7:30 p.m. Everton features U.S. men's national team goalkeeper Tim Howard and Australian international Tim Cahill. Five-time FA Cup champions and winners of nine top flight league titles in England, the Blues are currently in seventh place in the Premier League, just five points behind Liverpool F.C. PPL Park is the Toffees' first stop on their United States tour. The team also visit D.C. United on July 23 at RFK Stadium.