Daily news roundups

Training facility top priority, local TV ratings up 47%, Miami, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Beginning with the posting of PSP’s interview in the morning and continuing to the State of the Union press conference in the afternoon, Wednesday was Nick Sakiewicz day when it came to Union news.

Sakiewicz reaffirmed that the club’s top priority right now is the construction of a new training facility. As was brought to the fore recently following a conversation on Twitter between current and former Union players, the need for a training facility is paramount both in terms of providing the best for players already with the club and for attracting new players. Sakiewicz explained, “With high-profile players that are deciding to make a switch from one club to another club, always in the process is the question of what the training environment is like and what the training facility is like. And you want to be able to have a positive conversation when you’re trying to recruit.”

The question is, where will the training facility be built? In a Philadelphia Business Journal report on Jan. 17, Sakiewicz said the club planned to build a facility “next to the stadium” and hoped to break ground sometime in the spring. “Next to the stadium” meant where Lot B is now, but an apparently fractured relationship with the current Chester city government administration seems to have put that idea on ice. Describing an “inconsistent” relationship with Chester leaders, Sakiewicz said, “I don’t think we’re moving forward with those for a variety of reasons…We’re dealing with a pretty fluid city government right now, and we’re just not sure of what the environment is,” Sakiewicz said. “That doesn’t just go for fields, it goes for potential other development on that site. No one wants to build in an uncertain environment.”

Sakiewicz said the club is looking at two possible options elsewhere in Delaware County. “We’re just uncertain of what we would be faced with if we did build those fields (in Chester).”

Part of the problems with Chester are connected to parking revenue. Sakiewicz said,

We took a pretty significant hit in parking revenue and it dropped substantially last year due to significant changes in leadership, policy and zoning ordinances within the city of Chester.

 While PPL Park is and always will be a great place to come and watch soccer games, the city’s new parking taxes, special purpose taxes and generally unfriendly business environment has seriously affected our ability to operate and our bottom line. New city taxes and increased costs as a result of the independent parking lots that the city allowed to open had significant negative impact to our financial position.

Sakiewicz also said the Union’s local TV ratings increased by 47 percent in 2013. Many Union fans will be disappointed to learn that Alejandro Moreno will not be returning to the broadcast booth to partner with JP Dellacamera as color commentator. With Moreno moving on to ESPN — he’s the third Union broadcaster to move to a national network — Peter Pappas will take over in 2014.

Reports on the press conference from PSP, Delco Times, Philly Soccer News, and MLSsoccer.com.

The Brotherly Game has a post about the Tampa Bay Mutiny that includes a number of quotes about Sakiewicz’s involvement with the club.

The Union’s Rob Parker has joined Orlando City as vice president of corporate partnerships. Parker, who worked as the Union’s senior vice president of business development after joining the club in 2008, said, “The most fun I’ve had was helping the Union start from scratch. The opportunity to build on what I’ve learned and be able to do it again in a market that I see as rich for soccer was very appealing. What [Orlando SC] has accomplished in just a short amount of time has been amazing and I’m looking forward to joining the staff.”

Wednesday was John Hackworth’s birthday. Thanks to footage provided by Michael Lahoud, we know that Sheanon Williams put on quite a splash to celebrate the occasion.

Wednesday was Signing Day for high school-age players heading to college teams. The US Soccer Youth National Team Twitter account tweeted out a nice message listing the ten Philadelphia Union Academy players who committed to a university program.

Local

At Penn Live, Michael Bullock talks to Austin Maloney (PA Classics) about his decision to commit to Penn State, where he will have the opportunity to play with his brother, Conor Maloney.

MLS

On Wednesday, David Beckham announced — to the surprise of absolutely no one — his intention to launch a MLS franchise in Miami. The announcement did not include a team name, a stadium plan, or word of when the team would begin to play. Judging from the color of the scarfs that were being handed out, the team colors will presumably be blue.

As the Miami New Times put it, “David Beckham didn’t say much we didn’t already know, but damn did he look good.”

A press release from the league said, “Because of the importance of the stadium, an agreement for a new stadium must be finalized in order for MLS to come to Miami.”

Beckham’s Bolivian billionaire partner Marcelo Claure later gave a sense of the target date for beginning play. “Three years, three years, 2017. That’s the idea if it all works out like we hope.”

Claure also said PortMiami is the Beckham Groups preferred location for a stadium.

More from MLSsoccer.com, the Miami Herald (1)Miami Herald (2)Miami Herald (3), NBC Miami, Sun Sentinel, SI, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, the Sports Network, and the AP. If you want a quick breakdown of the key quotes from the announcement, ProSoccerTalk’s got you covered.

The Miami announcement leaves two spots open for the announced expansion cap of 24 teams. So, who’s left in the mix? The USL PRO team in Phoenix is also interested in making the step up.

Player moves:

  • Vancouver have signed Uruguayan midfielders/forwards Sebastián Fernández and Nicolás Mezquida.
  • Chicago have acquired US youth international midfielder Benji Joya via weighted lottery. Joya joins the Fire on a one-year loan with an option to buy from Liga MX side Santos Laguna.

At MLSsoccer.com, Wednesday’s preseason news ticker.

NYC FC head coach Jason Kreis says the team will be able to carry up to four Manchester City players on its roster. “We will have the ability to take four players on loan from the club here, so I’m looking a lot at the younger players, and the U-18s and the U-21s at the moment. And also the players that are out on loan…We have a very big interest in bringing some City players over to join us in New York and I certainly think there’s the talent there. And the ambition is there as well, so we’ll have to get with those guys over the next six months to a year and see whether or not that’s something they would like as well.”

FinancialFairPlay.co.uk has an interesting look at the creative accounting being done by Manchester City. “With the New York City transaction, Man City gain millions from this transaction despite the fact that the US franchise has yet to kick a ball.”

At Goal.com, Thomas Floyd reviews some of the considerations that would be involved in making a switch to a winter schedule. Let me be clear: switching MLS to a winter schedule is a terrible idea.

Is DC United owner Eric Thohir considering selling the club in order to cover Inter Milan’s debt?

US

In a Q&A at the US Soccer website, Jurgen Klinsmann says he continues to monitor a number of US players in Europe and that the door is still open to make the World Cup squad until May.

Being in February and a few months prior to the World Cup, you want to see them all play. You have to give them a clear message that only if you pick up a rhythm and play week-in, week-out, will you complete one of the big keys in order to make the World Cup roster. That’s why we are really happy some of them now are starting to get their rhythm. This all plays a vital role in evaluating them, and then we have to make the vital calls in May…We are going to put the puzzle together of hopefully 23 players that are totally committed, that are not only giving everything they have, but that also mix well together. The tricky part about a World Cup roster is that you want to bring in a group that really is on the same page with one another, that support one another and are willing to take the challenge to another level – maybe two levels – within a short period of time.

After the upcoming friendlies against Russia (Feb. 8 and Feb. 12, live streams available at US Soccer.com), the focus of the USWNT will shift to the Algarve Cup tournament in Portugal, March 5-12. The US has been drawn into Group B where they will face Japan, Sweden and Denmark.

Elsewhere

The British Beer and Pub Association is lobbying the UK government to extend bar hours for the England vs. Italy match on June 14, saying the extended hours could mean more than $30 million in food and beverage sales. The kickoff time for that game was bushed back to 6 pm local time in order to avoid the daytime heat and humidity in the Amazonian city of Manaus, which means an 11 pm kickoff for viewers in England.

Due to a lack of financial support from the Iranian Football Federation — which the IFF blames in part on US sanctions — Iran has played no warmup games for the World Cup since qualifying in June of 2013,

Zlatan and Cristiano: bffs.

12 Comments

  1. Thinking Essington or Eddystone would be great locations with open industrial space along route 291

  2. Hmm…I think the free parking passes for season ticket holders this year is starting to make more sense.

    The more free passes they give out, the less parking money available for Chester to tax.

    • haha wow this is probably true. also no sth money going to competing lots

    • I can see why it hurts the Union to lose revenue but I can’t as a forward thinking person see the problem with the city benefitting in SOME way from the stadium, at the same time, we the fans benefit from not being in a parking Monopoly where it costs as much to put your car on a strip of gravel as it does to sit in your seat. I for one am all for a little competition from other lots and park in them every time

  3. I can’t believe only 3 teams entered the Benji Joya lottery

    Chicago (68% chances), Seattle (29%) and Real Salt Lake (3%) entered the lottery.

    I understand why we didn’t after our midfield acquisitions but I can’t believe Chivas and about 9 other clubs didn’t participate. The kid is arguably the #1 player on the USMNT U20 squad

  4. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    I always park in a non-Union lot, not to screw the Union but to give back to the community a bit.

    • I’ve done both. Though my motivations are purely financial vs security. When I bring the fam, its Lot C (easier to shoot out HIghland to head 95N and the CBB). When solo, one of the $10 lots, that difference is a beer in the stadium.

  5. james lockerbie says:

    For convenience we have parked on the side yard of a very nice Chester city residents property. We walk back to the car jump in line for the bridge and we ‘re out of there. Once on the bridge the family looks down at the mess in the parking lots all the red taillights trying to get out. Ten bucks and a hamburger it’s worth it. I am half way to Atlantic county before I would be getting out of the lot. Sorry union I think you might need to invest in the traffic flow after the game or continue to loss parking income.

    • I agree. I park on the street. I walk a few blocks, get in the car and I’m so gone. I’m not at all sure that I will be taking advantage of the free STH parking this season.

  6. OneManWolfpack says:

    NO! Chester wants more in taxes… can’t believe it?! How did no one foresee this? Unreal. Interesting take on the Free Parking Passes and less tax revenue though…
    .
    Pappas? He’s ok. Frickin’ Union can’t keep a commentator like that can’t keep a Captain. Lookin at you Carroll… HA!
    .
    Season Tickets JUST SHOWED UP! Cool scarf and free magnet1

  7. “At Goal.com, Thomas Floyd reviews some of the considerations that would be involved in making a switch to a winter schedule. Let me be clear: switching MLS to a winter schedule is a terrible idea.”
    .
    I agree, Ed. With a winter schedule, there probably would’ve been games last weekend, and almost certainly would be games this coming weekend. Neither has conditions for good soccer.

  8. PainDon'tHurt says:

    TV ratings were up 47% last year? So that’s where everyone hid during home games…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

%d bloggers like this: