Daily news roundups / Featured

Califf rumors quiet, more Adu, taxes, USOC begins

Photo: Nicolae Stoian

Philadelphia Union

On Sunday, Union sporting director Diego Gutiérrez was not wrong when he said of the Danny Califf trade rumors, “Whether he’s here tomorrow or not—my guess is he will be.” Did anyone think to ask him if Califf would still be a member of the Union on Tuesday?

There was expectation on Monday after first one than another outlet reported that Chivas would be holding a press conference to announce a deal for Califf. Chivas general manager Jose Domene said via his Twitter account, “I heard there was a press conference today at 10am. Really? Because nobody here knows about it…” A press conference did not happen.

At Goal.com, Shane Evans looks at the Union’s drop from being one of the best teams in the league in 2011 to being “a complete shambles.” He continues, “Just think, only six month ago you could attach words like ‘playoffs’ and ‘promise’ and ‘excitement’ to this team. After the trading of the franchise’s star player, over a dozen new players and a miserably slow start, what does it have now?” For now, at least, the answer to that question is the fans.

More on the Adu dismissal. In the piece, Adu tries to “look at the positives from this game. The positive is, even though we lost this game, this was the best game we have played as a team all year long, plain and simple.”

Adu expressed his appreciation for the support he received from fans as he walked the sidelines to the locker room after his red card.

In this week’s power rankings roundup, the Union fall from No. 15 to No. 16 at ESPN and SBI. The drop is from 14th to 17th at Sporting News, 15th to 17th at Goal.com. The Union remain at No. 18 at Soccer America.

Philly Union Talk eloquently recaps Sunday’s game and suggest that Peter Nowak should be judged by the same utilitarian and unsentimental standards by which he apparently judges his players.

The latest Inside Doop offers nothing you don’t already know or haven’t already thought about.

The Sons of Ben have announced open tryouts for the 18 spots on the 30-player squad that will face the Union Front Office in the 2nd Annual River Cup. The remaining 12 spots will be chosen by the SoB board. You must be a SoB member by May 20 to tryout.

The Philadelphia Business Journal and the 700 Level have also picked up on the Delco Times article by Timothy Logue about the proposed taxes on tickets and parking at PPL Park, a move that Nick Sakiewicz says “would effectively put us out of business over time.”

The Chester Spirit, which apparently thinks ticket prices “range from $10 to $25,” spoke to Chester city council member Nafis Nichols. “All agreements are on the table,” Nichol’s said. “We”re looking at everything and we’re trying to make sure we do whatever we can to ensure our residents get the best bang for their buck.” He continued, “I saw a figure in what they’re making in parking. They can spare it. We can make a whole lot more money and everyone in the city will benefit.”

The Delco Times article notes, “Sakiewicz said the city’s decision to issue temporary permits to landowners along the Industrial Highway to use their lots for parking has already cost the club about $500,000, 10 percent of which would have gone to the city.”

Sakiewicz tells the Inquirer that the Union have halted plans for developing a $10 million office complex as a result of the new tax proposal. He earlier told the Delco Times that the proposal had put a halt on plans to expand the stadium.

As the Chester City Blog says, “Posturing has already begun on the entertainment and parking tax increase proposed by the City of Chester…It’s going to come down to who has the bigger guns when it comes to negotiating business tax changes in Chester, city government or big business.”

Another piece in the Delco Times concludes, “Stay tuned. This one could get ugly.”

Local

US Open Cup play begins tonight and three area teams are in the mix.

  • Union-affiliate Reading United will host four-time Open Cup winners New York Greek American Atlas (USASA) at Fleetwood High School’s Ray Buss Field with a 7pm kickoff.
  • FC Sonic (NPSL) will host PDL side Long Island Rough Riders at Lehigh University’s Ulrich Sports Complex in Bethlehem. Kickoff is at 7:05pm and the winner will face Union-affiliate Harrisburg City Islanders in the second round on May 22. The Sonics open their 2012 regular season on Friday against Philadelphia’s Junior Lone Star.
  • Farther afield, Lakewood, New Jersey’s Jersey Shore Boca are in Pontiac, Michigan to face the Michigan Bucks of the PDL. Did you know that Union goalkeeper Chris Konopka used to play for Jersey Shore Boca? You can learn more about them here.

Harrisburg have signed former Reading United goalkeeper Brian Holt.

MLS

The Soccer Observer calls New York’s win over the Union unconvincing. It has some excellent illustrations that show where the Union defense broke down and the offense missed golden opportunities.

Here’s a match report on Sunday’s loss from a New York perspective. If that didn’t hurt enough, here’s another, another still, and one more for good measure. For the gluttons out there, here a some pap praising Rafa Marquez’s return to action and here’s a little more level-headed assessment. Meanwhile, SBI names Red Bulls keeper Ryan Meara its Rookie of the Week.

New York Red Bull’s center back Wilman Conde was arrested at 5:30am on Sunday for aggravated assault on a police officer. Conde is returning from injury and woukld not have been available against the Union had he not been arrested. Red Bulls manager Hans Backe said after Sunday’s game at PPL Park that the club was aware of the arrest but had chosen to focus on the game.

The massive turnout for the Montreal v LA game over the weekend—nearly 61,000—managed to (temporarily) knock Seattle out of the top attendance spot.

The Goalkeeper reports from behind the scenes to see what goes into ESPN’s broadcasting of a game.

Promotion/relegation and why it won’t happen in the US according to Soccer America.

Women’s Soccer

FIFA.com rounds up women’s soccer league news from around the world.

US

Josh McKinney, a 33-year-old midfielder on the US Paralympic team, earned his 100th cap when the team played Russia on Sunday.

In ratings news, the Manchester City v QPR match drew a 0.5, slightly better than the 0.3 that the Philly v NY game got in the ratings. Early broadcast, Mothers Day, nine other Premiership games going on at the same time, and so on.

The Patriot-News looks at the growing popularity of the Premiership among American sports fans.

Hope Solo is on the upcoming Olympic-themed cover of Vogue.

Elsewhere

Gracious winners they ain’t: After Manchester City won the Premiership title, Samir Nasri mocked Arsenal for finishing in third and Carlos Tevez held up a “RIP Fergie” sign during the celebration parade through the streets of Manchester.

Lionel Messi wins the European Golden Shoe award, having scored 50 goals in league play this season, four more than Christiano Ronaldo.

49 Comments

  1. James "4-3-3" Forever says:

    Hm could the tax issue get so ugly that the Union get kicked out of Chester and have to relocate? Maybe somewhere nice, like the Philly sports complex where it should have been to begin with? Expose the Union to the mainstream sports scene, and allow Union fans the joy of real public transport and Xfinity Live before and after games.
    I’d be ok with playing at the Linc for a year or two.

    • No.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Also no. The Union need to do more for Chester, but it needs to be collaborative. The goal should be a thriving community growing around PPL Park as a beautiful hub. It will take a long time, but that should be the dream for both sides.

      • snugsmac says:

        Yeah right, you have not spent much time in the ghetto…i agree with you if by a LONG time you mean never.

      • swing and a miss says:

        haha and i’m sure this is coming from a long time resident of chester right? keep your mouth shut when grown people are talking.

      • To swing and a miss, you lose most every right for valid opinion in the comments section. At least when i make comments they are outlandish and spark interest in conversation and discussion, or maybe even macabre humor – and it usually brings more details into the discussion so that i can actually learn from it (unless you’re completely literal and don’t see passed the wording). But when you tell someone that they are immature and unintelligent, you’re no better than the people you are belittling.
        Just some, grown up word of advice.

  2. Who has the bigger guns? Well, that answer is obviously 1) the casino and 2) PPL park. Why? CHESTER HAS NO FUCKING INCOME. NO TOURISM. NOTHING. If they do this, and Union leave, and the casino goes under, they get nothing out of it but a couple running down factories, and a prison.

    As my friend “welcomed” a newcomer into chester, along industrial highway, his words were “On your left you see despair, and over to your right, blight”. That is all you have chester.

    • Oh, and Widener, which tries to seperate itself from chester so that it’s students don’t get robbed or murdered… But it’s on the border, it almost doesn’t count.

    • And that is exactly why the taxes are a good idea. How do you expect Chester to improve? the Union doesn’t do shit for Chester in any tangible way.

      The Union takes a a huge pull on Chesters small resources without giving much back. The Union aren’t going anywhere not with that stadium, So some reasonable taxes are in order so Chester can do the business of helping the residents of Chester.

      • WilkersonMcLaser says:

        This is some patent nonsense. PPL and the Casino are major institutional ratables (can’t be said for Widener) and contribute boatloads in property revenue. Also, residents and employees (including non-residents) pay wage taxes. Most importantly, the waterfront developments are potential anchors for further development once 1) the credit markets ease up and 2) provided Chester doesn’t bleed them dry first.

        Make no mistake, Chester City’s problem has more to do with budgeting than revenue. Slapping new taxes on economic development will only ensure pave the way for more piggybank-raid schemes down the road. And it’s unlikely to do much to address the city’s fiscal mismanagement.

        If this goes through, the Union will probably stay, but their budget will be affected as will any proposed upgrades to PPL. Remember that. But worst of all is the message it telegraphs to other potential investors: Chester isn’t open for business. The political risk is too great and the costs too high.

        In the end, everyone loses.

      • Actually no. PPL Park is built on a Keystone Opportunity Zone So it gets major tax breaks on the state and local levels. Once established the i-95 off ramp pretty much ensures that most people leave in and out of Chester would never would interact with the local enonomy in any reasonable way. (and the union likes a virtual monopoly or your dollars)

        As far as this entertainment complex there is no assurance that it would be built even ion a good economy, no guarantee that it would be successful, and no guarantee that it would help Chester. Look at how much the waterfront has helped Camden. (not at all)

        What these taxes would come out to would be equal to would be a price of a beer at PPL park but could go along way to pay for the things Chester needs on an infrastructure level and that would go along way to helping the recovery of Chester, moreso than giving someone a large chunk of land and then having them run roughshod over that community.

      • WilkersonMcLaser says:

        They do pay wage taxes and do contribute to the community in other ways, which is also not negligible. The whole idea behind the KOZs was to promote development and create jobs in areas that, frankly, few people were likely to invest.

        I’m glad you brought up Camden. Its waterfront development hasn’t cured the city, no, but that’s because additional tax revenue has almost no correspondence to good governance. Look at Atlantic City — tons of tax money but it always somehow disappears.

      • Paul Goings says:

        Isn’t the Union a net financial gain for Chester already? They didn’t pay for construction, police costs are reimbursed, and there is tax revenue and some jobs. Not sure how it’s supposed to be a huge pull?

      • communities should never pay for stadiums. period.
        Tax revenue is negligible. and jobs for what 30 days a year? so yea.

      • Paul Goings says:

        Well, if you want to get the government out of the stadium-funding business I have some sympathy for you. However it’s a practice that has some years of history and will probably continue. And in this case it was county and state revenues that paid for much of PPL Park, so not a hit on the Chester budget directly.

        To say that tax revenue is negligible is qualitative rather than quantitative. If I could find the figures we could discuss whether it should have been negotiated differently back when the site was selected. But it’s non-zero, which is more than Chester would have gotten without PPL Park, and at no cost to Chester, so a net gain in any event.

        Jobs 30 days a year is worse than no jobs at all?

      • trying to find anything about the stadium deal has been almost impossible. I know there was a City paper article so I might have to dig that up. All I do know is the stadium is on a keystone opportunity zone so it gets huge tax breaks. http://www.newpa.com/build-your-business/locate/keystone-opportunity-zones. It was partially paid for by a 1% tax increase on hotels. And it was a superfund site.

      • Here is the City Paper article about about how Chester got screwed when PPL Park opened. http://archives.citypaper.net/articles/2009/07/16/major-league-soccer-stadium-chester-pennsylvania

        and here is a link to the Field of Schemes website http://www.fieldofschemes.com/ It a companion website to the great book on how owners fleece public money for thier own profit.

      • You are fairly incorrect. not sure about the grocery store being an issue, but if they had plans to build more (office building, second tier in stadium, practice facilities) that is additional employment and wage taxes…

        Also, yes, the taxes would be reasonable as you say… but that is if they were working out a contract. The contract was already put in place and agreed on an amount (say 10 year tax abatement). A new mayor comes in, tries to be a hotshot, and sees the success that is around the city and goes “We need to capitalize on this”. As stated, the problem isn’t revenue, it’s misuse of funds. It’s ignoring its people. It’s letting itself get so decrepit that any positive steps being made are, basically attacked, at a high rate too early on, which then prevents said positive steps from continuuing… and chester then ends up back where it started… one step away from being another M.O.V.E.

      • Well as far as the city is concerned the Union are not holding up their end of the bargain. No movement on development, no money finding its way into the community so it could be easily said that the Union are not holding up their end of the contract and that Chester is getting the short end of the stick. Traffic, inconvenience, noise tying up vital pieces of the infrastructure. So maybe noy taxes are appropriate.

        and as far as that move comment. you are an asshole.

      • Yea, i preferably meant more for it as being a hell hole… i overstepped my own sarcastic bounds.
        As for Unions part of the agreement, isn’t there something in the lines that they would owe 30 million up front if they do not contribute some of the additional benefits they promised the city?

      • love to find that written somewhere.

      • Really??? Traffic, noise, inconvenience??? C’Mon man, who are you trying to kid. The Union play 17-20 home games a year and contribute to the costs of policing and medical coverage. The team provides employment to residents of Chester. Those lovely new ramps off the Commodore Barry Bridge make for much easier access to and from Industrial Highway 365 days a year. Those said ramps help by-pass significant amounts of traffic and noise away from the picturesque neighborhoods of Chester. The Chester City Council better remove their heads from their rectums because Harrah’s, PPL Park and the Union have thousands of people coming to Chester and spending money in Chester that would never, ever set foot in that derelict town otherwise.

      • Sieve! what are you talking about? The city is a dead zone over there, a house every 3 blocks. And as some people said, the new bridge allows people in and out without causing a traffic jam in the center of Chester. Chester had nothing in the space the Union built. The stadium sits next to vacant lots so get out of here with tying up vital infrastructure. You are insane to think that is true. 30 days of jobs is better than nothing before especially when hundreds are employed those days. Not to mention constant employment in maintence and security. The septa needs more employees on game days not to mention the people who profit from parking. Also, lets not think of the community. Chester actually has an organized youth soccer association, it has a high school soccer team (a sport that generates more opportunity for girls and boys to go to college than any other sport), also the Sons of Ben have donated thousands to the Chester Food Bank. What have you done for the city? You don’t kick start business by sabotaging the only few who actually gave a dead city a chance.

      • These cities are mismanaged. Instead of attracting business they destroy it.

        Anyway, this is all posturing on the part of the city and the Union at this point. I’m not really sure if anything will come of it.

    • swing and a miss says:

      why do you patronize a place that you clearly seem to have some sort of pent up hatred for?

      • Have you looked at Chester? It’s just too easy to make fun of. For a sarcastic cynic, it’s just pure fodder. And I, nor even you, would go into chester if it wasn’t for the union. So, it’s not hatred, it’s sarcasm and truth.
        And in all seriousness, it’s completely humbling to go through even a small part of it with the reminder “there are even things worse than this”.

  3. I forget, when does martial law season start?

  4. Kensington Josh says:

    Chester has every right to tax a business in its borders- within reason. And their already overtasked police force has to deal with all of us, a rowdy, angry bunch these days.

    • Let’s say, I agree to your terms of business so that we begin a partnership. Once said partnership starts getting rolling, I change the terms of the agreement – similar to let’s say, Comcast cable bill – i take more out of your commission unexpectedly. You won’t like that would you? I mean, our contract wasn’t even up for renegotiation yet. But I have every right….

      right….

  5. Logical comment – It basically comes down to what is in contractual writing with their city ordinance and for how long. I would hope that if they were agreed to being given a tax break, that they would get it in writing… We can debate if what they are doing is right, or poor business practice, and so forth all we want, but it comes down to what was the original contract and for how long… because no matter what this mayor thinks, i don’t think he can necessarily supercede it.

  6. DarthLos117 says:

    Every time I roll down to PPL I think to myself “It must suck living here…” than I think “…the people who do live here must really hate us.”

    • Dude I see people rolling up to people porches after the game drunk and fucking around. I would have every last one of them.

  7. Might be a risk but when I go to games, I park in a grass lot for $5-7 bucks. Helps somebody other than the union and then I walk through town to the stadium, mind you I drive an very undesirable vehicle. I guess what I’m saying here is…I resent the over priced parking a little bit and I get the feeling that the 95 off ramp will cut out the community. It would be nice to try and encourage some secondary businesses in town, like pregame bars, restaurants, and stores. I think the tax is at least a nice wake up call that the Union needs to reach out, I think from a business stand point they should not go through with it, as it sets a precedent for adjusting terms with businesses based on success.

  8. snugsmac says:

    Chester is a ghetto, and never going to be anything beside that. Always has been, always will be. This is a ridiculous stream, the politicans just want more money…how hard is that to understand, that is what politicans do.

    • Paul Goings says:

      Chester was not always a ghetto by any stretch of the imagination! It was an industrial center with an elegant downtown with the best shops of the day, patronized by people from all over Delaware County. That was less than fifty years ago!

  9. snugsmac says:

    They screwed up so bad putting their stadium in the hood, what did they think would happen. The poor people there would just welcome us, please.

    • swing and a miss says:

      damn kid you stay spewing racist bile. chester used to be a beautiful city and industrial hub of over 50,000 people. my grandparents met on ave. of the states in the fifties. once sun shipbuilding and other local employers went, the towns economy went with it. none too dissimilar to kensington or any other economically distressed neighborhood in philadelphia. it hasn’t always been this raw and has the potential to be something beautiful.

      and i was gonna write another jawn about whoever was stupid enough to make that move comment but they arent even worth wasting time on.

      • Again, as i responded, the move comment overstepped my sarcastic bounds.
        Not everything you read on the internet is serious.

    • they put their stadium there because it was cheaper, simple as that. not enough revenue generated by the union to pay rent in philly. developing a long-term community partnership will only help the union in the long-run. whether this tax is the way to do it, i’m not so sure. after all, as i said, the union built here because it was cheap. on the other hand, i hope this facilitates more outreach into helping chester.

      • Not only was it cheaper they thought they could push around a poor desperate community. This is common practice look at Red Bull Arena.

  10. Paul Goings says:

    @Sieve! I can’t respond to your comment above, but I’m afraid that I don’t take the word of the City Paper about much of anything. If they’re saying that Chester got screwed, then they have no understanding of what the process of negotiating a new stadium build or something similar is like. It’s not as if Chester had any number of corporate suitors for the land that PPL Park sits on. It was a tax burden to Chester before development. If current real estate taxes are abated to ensure the decision to locate to Chester, that means when the abatement ceases the property will once again generate significant revenue in real estate taxes, as opposed to none at all. The government of Chester at that time was thinking about long-term revival, and securing eventual tax revenue is a win for Chester with regard to land that was undeveloped. If the current administration wants to focus on a quick cash grab they do so to the city’s own detriment.

    There are also current revenues accruing to Chester, and no costs. If it’s not as much as it could be then consider the recent economic downturn and be glad that the project wasn’t simply abandoned mid-build, which would have left a ruined mess and no prospects of any future income.

    All of that said, if fans are harassing residents before or after games then they should be dealt with, and not coddled. But yours is the first report that I’ve heard of.

    • I have serious doubt there was an real intention to develop the land more than a stadium. The article points out that although most of the money was for both a stadium and the surrounding area. All of that money was more or less put towards the stadium. there was ample evidence that there was no serious attempt to develop the area beyond the stadium. It is also to assume that the stadium would not have gotten the funding at all(including 12 mil from Chester) unless they made the promises to build said area. The Abatement will go away in 2025 according to the article, It is very feasible knowing the life cycles of stadiums these days they will probably be clamoring for a new stadium or extensive renovations ans threatening to leave Chester unless they got new concessions.

      But at this point this is kind of irrelevant. they got their stadium they got it on cheap taxless land that was paid for with a ton of public money. (because it was public money the chances of it being abandoned mid build is virtually nil) they got their stadium and now it is time to give back. And give back in some substantial way, not not in a superficial public relations way. That includes these taxes.

  11. Well, this is the problem with cities such as Chester and Reading among others – no one wants to do business in those crap holes.

    When someone does the city instead of trying to attract more business with tax abatements and insentives tries to cash in quick by taxing. Yeah they are in trouble. They are in trouble because there is no real tax base. But instead of trying to attract more business to help the city they try to tax business out of business. The businesses leave. The problem remains.

    These towns will never get anywhere with a mentality like that.

  12. Ed Farnsworth says:

    This roundup was posted seven-and-half hours ago and not one of the 32 comments is strictly about soccer – we could insert the stadium of any sport and the issues surrounding the conversation would still be the same. I applaud all of the commenters for this (mostly) civil conversation about an important topic, one which we are all sure to be having for a long time to come. Providing the views of people who actually live in Chester is something I hope we at PSP can make happen in the future.

  13. I fault the Union for not signing a proper contract with Chester before they built the stadium. Same thing when you build or modify a home: the only way to prevent suprises is by having a decent contract. Another gaf by Union’s front office.

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