MLS / Reading United AC / Union / USL

Union link with minor league team

Philadelphia Union have brought on Reading United AC as a minor league affiliate, the team announced Monday.

Former Reading player Aaron Wheeler

“Our technical staff will work closely with the coaches at YSC and Reading United AC to ensure everyone in the program has the best insights to the game we can provide,” Philadelphia Union manager Peter Nowak said.

Reading United, known until recently as the Reading Rage, plays in the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League. The team’s new name was only reported in the last few days, with the change likely made in anticipation of the partnership.

The Reading squad is currently led by former U.S. national team player and team vice president Troy Snyder and coach Brendan Burke. They play at Don Thomas Stadium, a high school site in Exeter, Pa.

The partnership with the Union is just another sign that this team will take youth development very seriously and tie in closely to the local soccer community.

Union assistant John Hackworth has worked with U.S. youth internationals for years, but this is different: A grass roots initiative to bring local soccer players into the team, in a way closer to how it’s done in other countries. The Chicago Fire have similarly hosted a team in the PDL, but other Major League Soccer teams have been slow to follow. The Union talked about it early on, and now they’re following through.

Reading isn’t the only PDL team in this area. The Ocean City Barons play just outside of Cape May.

For those unfamiliar with the PDL, it’s a mostly amateur league that is considered the fourth tier of American soccer, below MLS, USL-1 and USL-2. Most players are under the age of 23, and their season takes place largely during the summer months.

What do you think of the partnership? What does it say about this Union organization to you? Do you know anything about the Reading club? Were they right choice, or should the Union have gone instead with Ocean City? Weigh in via comments below.

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  1. Ed Farnsworth says:

    I wonder if the fact that the Union aligned with a PDL team rather than as USL-2 team like the Harrisburg City Islanders has anything to do with USL rules?

  2. James Kilroy says:

    The Union has professed that they will be club neutral when it comes to the youth clubs. What happens to the Rage’s youth academy and their teams. I assume that there is a reason that they make no mention of them and the fact that the youth side’s website makes no mention of this news is interesting.

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