Daily news roundups

Off to Florida, McDermott’s plans, Fernando loaned to Ligue 2 side, new Union kit unveil on Thursday, more

Philadelphia Union

Off to Florida

The Union departed for Florida this morning to begin the Jacksonville phase of preseason training. The team will train at Ponte Verde Fields through Friday before facing Jacksonville Armada at Community First Park on Saturday at 6 pm for its first preseason game. After that, the team travels to Clearwater on Sunday to begin training there.

CBO McDermott introduced

In a conference call on Monday, Jay Sugarman introduced new Chief Business Officer Tim McDermott to the press.

McDermott explained, “We have said the best sporting experience in Philadelphia is with the Philadelphia Union. One of the things I want to continue to do is enhancing the overall fan experience, enhancing the value of being a season-ticket holder.” To that end, McDermott said he plans to spend a lot of time talking with fans: “I want to spend time with them, to actually listen to them. That is a big piece of what I will be doing the first 90 days here, really getting to know them, what makes them Union fans. What do they want from us and how can I be an advocate to them?”

Among the topics McDermott and Sugarman discussed were improving transportation options to Talen Energy Stadium from Center City, and improving the team’s merchandizing presence in area stores to better reflect its place in “five-team town” Philadelphia. “This is a five for five town, our motto should be, ‘this is a city of sports,'” McDermott said.

Part of what we will do is make sure we have a well-crafted story and articulating, quite frankly, the bigness of the brand, the bigness of soccer, the growth of soccer. I think part of the responsibility these days from a sports franchise, whether it’s the Philadelphia Union or any sports team, is ensuring that you’re creating a tremendous amount of value for your partners and really looking at that through the lens of marketing and understanding their business and what the drivers are to their business.

Sugarman confirmed the impending departure Chief Revenue Officer Dave Rowan, first reported by CBS Philly’s Kevin Kinkead. Rowan took over the club’s day-to-day business operations after the departure of Nick Sakiewicz and was considered for the CBO job, but he will be leaving the club to “pursue new opportunities” after a transition period. Chief Financial Officer Dave Debusschere will be staying with the club.

Sugarman also discussed development plans for the area around Talen Energy Stadium:

We’ve got a lot of pieces of the puzzle moving. In terms of broader development around there, we need to control more of the land to really master-plan it. It’s difficult right now, particularly with the other ownership, who isn’t contributing or isn’t going to be part of that exercise, it just makes it harder for us to do the things we’d like to do…We would like to be more in control and be able to really plot out the future and make improvements to the land that will benefit us and benefit the community, which has been difficult with lots of different moving parts and lots of different parties.

Sugarman said he believes the good relationship the team has with new Chester mayor Thaddeus Kirkland will help. “Thaddeus Kirkland is a guy who gets stuff done, and we’re looking forward to working with him and finding ways to get some more of the vision put on the ground, and we’re certainly trying to do our part by expanding our footprint, but we’re going to need to make it a partnership in some respects to figure out how to get to the next piece.”

Reports from the conference call at Philadelphia Inquirer, Delco Times, and Philly Soccer News.

Nantes loans Aristeguieta to Ligue 2 side, McFadden deal off

In his recent appearance on the KYW Philly Soccer Show, Union head coach Jim Curtin talked about efforts to bring back Fernando Aristeguieta for 2016 from FC Nantes, saying, “sometimes things don’t go as smoothly in the end as you would have hoped.” On Monday, the French club announced Aristeguieta would be go on a six-month loan to Ligue 2 side FC Red Star (crappy Google translation here). Which means, of course, the loan will expire just in time for summer transfer window speculation to begin.

Aristeguieta tweeted early on Tuesday,

Motherwell manager Mark McGhee says the James McFadden move to the Union is off. “He was supposed to be going to America but that’s fallen through so if he’s going to stay around here, and if there’s nobody else that steals him away from us, then he will be welcome to stay around here a bit longer.”

Former Union man Dzenan Catic has signed with USL side Rio Grande Valley FC.

New first kit

The Union will unveil its new first kit on Thursday. An email to season ticket holders says, “Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see the first peak at the 2016 jersey.” Fans can pre-order the new kit — available in four styles: Authentic, replica, women’s, and youth — beginning on Thursday.


Following last week’s announcement that they will call Metro Bank Park home for ten home games in 2016, Harrisburg City Islanders announced on Monday five other home games will be played at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster. That’s two baseball grounds adapted for soccer: “Operationally, Clipper Magazine Stadium will be transformed a total of three times during the 2016 season. Sod will be laid every two matches with the help of the Lancaster Barnstormers grounds crew, in order to convert the baseball field into a regulation soccer pitch.” The first match in Lancaster is on Sunday, May 22 against Bethlehem Steel.

Ocean City Nor’easters will hold an open tryout on March 20 at Rutgers-Camden. The tryout will be for for the men’s PDL team and the new Eastern Development Program women’s team. (Unfortunately, the link to the registration page was not working at the time of this writing.) The club also announced the addition of Charlie Flowe to the coaching staff of the new women’s team.

Bucks County Courier Times reports on Carli Lloyd winning the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association’s Athlete of the Year Award.


Player moves:

  • DC has acquired midfielder Marcelo Sarvas from the Colorado “in exchange for Targeted Allocation Money and a 2018 conditional draft pick.”
  • Colorado has acquired Albanian international forward Shkëlzen Gashi from FC Basel as a Designated Player.
  • Kansas City has loaned 18-year-old defender Erik Palmer-Brown to FC Porto through the end of 2016.

Despite the signing of holding midfielder Xavier Kouassi to a Designated Player contract on Monday, New England head coach Jay Heaps says negotiations continue with out of contract Jermaine Jones: “I would say there’s been progress, but I don’t know if a deal is going to be done tomorrow. There are other things in play in terms of international opportunities for Jermaine, so I think the conversation is ongoing.”

24-year-old Ghanaian center back Gideon Baah to NYRB to replace Matt Miazga?

Iker Casillas to NYCFC?

AC Milan’s Antonio Nocerino to Orlando City?

At The Guardian, a look at why China is becoming a viable option for international players over MLS: “The US transfer system can be complex with plenty of rules and regulations. In China, it’s naked capitalism. There’s lots of money and lots of people happy to see that cash buying players from overseas.”


At Soccer America, Mike Woitalla on the birth-year registration transition for youth soccer.

US Soccer Development Academy has announced the addition of 56 clubs at the U-12 level, bringing the total number of clubs in the U-12 division to 134. The announcement notes, “The expansion of the Development Academy at the U-12 level is intended to reduce travel distances between clubs, while also allowing clubs to cast a wider net for committed players in existing and new markets that have the potential to develop into elite soccer players.”


As a result of the ongoing corruption investigation and resulting indictments, FIFA has cut off funding to CONCACAF and CONMEBOL. Reuters reports, “A source close to CONCACAF said it had not received $10 million in payments from FIFA, including expected World Cup revenues and money from the global body’s Financial Assistance Programme.” The Reuters report continues, “In a statement, CONCACAF said it had fulfilled all FIFA requests for documents and information ‘regarding the new administrative, compliance, and procurement processes that have been implemented at the Confederation to ensure the issue is resolved in a timely manner.'” More from the AP.

Also from Reuters: “FIFA presidential candidate Gianni Infantino said on Monday he would not automatically choose a European to be his secretary general if he wins the election to lead world soccer this month, breaking a pattern dating back more than 100 years.”

Infantino revealed a “90-day plan” plan to reform FIFA, saying, “I think it’s now or never. We have to take this opportunity, to take a turn, to make a better Fifa and work for football in a united way, in a positive way. This is the right moment to do that.” The Guardian reports, “His pitch was carefully slanted to appeal to Africa and the Caribbean, the regions in which his face-off with Sheikh Salman is likely to be won or lost. He also promised an 11th proposal, which he said would be unveiled with a flourish to voters on 26 February.”

The careful slanting includes the World Cup being hosted by multiple countries. Infantino explained, “What I’m … proposing is to at least study the possibility of organising the World Cup in several countries. We’re making the Euros in 2020 in 13 different countries in Europe. I think we don’t have to exclude the vast majority of countries in the world from the dream of being able to organize at least part of a World Cup together with other countries. We can organise a Euros in 13 countries and organise a World Cup in four, five, six countries.” Four, five, six countries? Dumb, dumber, dumbest. More from the Press Association.

Soccer’s rule making body, the International Football Association Board, will decide on proposed changes to the Laws of the Game on March 5. You can view the agenda for the March 5 meeting on the IFAB website or by clicking here.

Deadline Day in Italy“:


  1. Go find yourself boys…. we will be here when you sojourn back.
    Onward and Upward.

  2. So. My current guess as to what the Unions strategy is for signing new players is. Wait til Europe is done signing people the look over who is left and get them for cheap.
    This makes good financial sense. This is also insane.

    • New bosses, same plan. Don’t finalize roster until end of pre-season, spend first month of season digging a hole as roster has to gel, spend rest of season trying to catch up.

      Underwhelmed so far by the off season. Club still has same holes it did at end of last season – top line striker, left back, depth. Add in a new system and a coach still learning on the job and I’m not sure Union have hit bottom yet.

      • To be fair at least this year there is a plan.

      • Longer term, yes I agree there is one. But I’d just like to see the club head to Florida one time with most of their player signings complete.

      • Also, to be fair, Ernie just took over like 2 months ago. He was working for another team before then. He has a lot to learn in a short time.

      • Patience, young Grasshopper.
        –both Eagles and Cowboys superbowl chances ranked ahead of the Broncos and Panthers(20!) 5 short months ago.
        So, patience, our time is coming!

      • Lucky Striker says:

        I actually this off-season has been worthy……at least “to date”.

        #1 item for me was getting rid of a lot of dross on that roster that neither fit nor could play even a little bit. Other than 1 guy-who shall remain anonymous-job done.

        #2 was commencing the process of forming a 2-deep. Not yet completed….but well underway. I can’t get to the point of ever demanding names under this owner, but it’s fair to ask simply to give the Mgr. legitimate options in order to fairly evaluate his abilities. Union are 3-4 players short at this time and in that regard, but their window hasn’t officially opened yet.

        #3 of course was time to gel-but most of what you’re going to play with is already here-so I’m not prepared to buy that as a viable excuse this season.

    • grace my friends… this year lets offer some grace with the preseason team “in flight” as we speak… not like they’ve sat on their hands this offseason…
      we already ‘know’ they are still looking…and likely will sign a few more players.
      If it was haberdasheried we’d likely be arguing the other side on signings… “jeeze how could ES have figured this out so quickly looks like a plaster of paris job…”
      short term. mid term. long term.

    • The players teams are signing are out of contract. Transfers are 2 weeks away.



      An MLS player may be transferred or loaned at any time to a club outside the League (subject to that club’s Federation’s transfer window), and subject to the consent of the player. Upon loaning a player, Clubs will receive roster relief and budget space, subject to the terms of the loan.

      The registration windows – the dates between which MLS may request the transfer certificate of a player under contract in another country – are as follows:

      Primary Window – February 18 – May 12
      Secondary Window – July 8 – August 6

      • +1. Why is our window so late though. makes no sense. Should be open as soon as the playoffs end. Honestly why do we even have a window at all. Always seemed stupid to me.

      • The striker from Basel that Colorado just signed was not out of contract.

    • I don’t need them spending money unwisely just to spend money. I’d hate to have financial flexibility all tied up in just anybody because “spending money” somehow equates to “success” in some people’s minds.
      (BTW, the Union were 9th in team payroll last year. You can’t complain they didn’t “Spend money!”…How’s that work out?)
      This team isn’t winning any titles this year regardless. I’ll be very happy to see them keep plenty of cash in reserve so they can pounce and spend it w-i-s-e-l-y when the right combination of talent/fit comes along.

  3. Also…when a developer/sports team owner compliments a local mayor you know some local residents are ready for a fuckin over.

    • Sieve–your cynicism is showing! Although, you are most likely spot-on with your comment.
      For Chester to develop that waterfront, El P’s “vision/plan/philosophy” is needed–that and cash, which is something El P keeps forgetting!
      Cash from additional investors, that is.
      Great opportunity(restaurants, small mall/shopping strip, pier, etc), and PPl–er Talen Park–is cornerstone but once cornerstone is laid you have to be quick to add the rest of the infrastructure or you lose that chance. Waiting six years already is kinda stupid—another three years and Union management will likely start looking elsewhere for bigger stadium rather than expand current location.

      • Hey there UG, did you ever see my response to your response the other week?
        You called me out and I felt we were preparing for a good discussion and then it all closed up… anyway… anytime you want to spar I’m around… I come in peace ultimately… and appreciate your POV.
        As far as a bar and shopping scene down the waterfront… PSP has already opened a bar called Cynicism Corner on the Cliff of Union Despair so no worries seems business is still solid in a Henry Chinaski sort of way… I’ll keep on tailgating off $10 parking Union Ave and wait gladly for a watering hole near the stadium…
        …on my list of four things the ‘scene’ at the stadium is number five.
        The good news is I no longer support boycotting the games as I’ve argued vehemently the last season and a half in the name of FO structural change… so hey –progress is progress however we name it.

      • Thanks, El P.
        Actually I was waiting for coverage of Klinsmann’s salary to comment how he has last laugh over Wambach and everyone else (like me) who dislike his handling of USMNT. That yearly salary is more than Wambach would make playing soccer her entire soccer career even if she retired at 100!
        Seriously, hard to hate a guy who donated over $1 million to charity but I do disagree with his over-use of dual-citizens and do believe the USWNT is treated quite unfairly by US Soccer given that more Americans can name USWNT players before they could name any USMNT or even know who Klinsmann is.
        Another time, El P.
        Glad you don’t support boycotting Union anymore.
        Restaurant Bar (TGIF or Applebees) would be great start near stadium.

      • A stadium with 17 home games a year is not a corner stone. I wish the government would stop pretending that stadiums spur development. They are always a bad deal for the tax payers.

      • As much as a cornerstone as you are going to get.
        Reason–it attracts outside people with cash to area initially. Let’s face it, Chester has exhausted its current tax base and until factories come back from overseas, this is their only hope in near future.
        Once you have people there, you offer other attractions(restaurants, shopping malls, pier, entertainment) that brings them back again.
        As far as 17 games a year, add other events, bring in a women’s soccer team, concert, lacrosse, etc. Stadium shouldn’t collect dust—figure 16 weeks are closed for winter, but you have at least 200 days for other events that need venue for at least 2k-10k fans.
        Opportunity is there–but needs people with vision and investments to execute.

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        “PSP has already opened a bar called Cynicism Corner on the Cliff of Union Despair”

        This is the greatest line ever written on this site, and that is saying something.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        The question I would ask of those developing the stadium’s immediate environs is, what community will sustain the daily businesses, daily being the key word.
        John David Rockefeller senior is alleged to have said that he would give every Chinese a kerosene lamp for free. What the alleged anecdote forgets is that for those Chinese to buy the kerosene to use those lamps, they had to have cash to spend. Scraping together enough cash to buy silver in order to pay their taxes was often a major challenge. [taxes had to be paid with silver.] buying kerosene was simply not “on”.

      • Chester is poor, no community there can sustain new development.
        Stadiums attract people with spending money(average Union game for 4 costs $120 with parking). Start with restaurants, bar, safe policing of area. Add shopping. Emulate Baltimore inner harbor.
        It can be done.
        Will it, though? Philly metro area 60 years ago, yes. Today’s politicians and mindset? Er, better odds of Eagles winning a super bowl this century.
        So yes, Sieve is ultimately right.
        Still ,nice to dream–what can I say, I’m a Union fan!


      • My Cynicism is well established.

      • In an effort to out-cynicize, I believe most of us agree that it happens in this situation whether or not the team owner starts sucking up to the mayor.

    • How much of the funds was for development was to come from Union/Sugarman and how much from state in original plan? You can forget the state money, as PA can’t even pass a budget.

      • some, but most is probably public grants/loans/tax-incentive financing. that money is most likely actually still there, in stasis, hibernating from a prior budget year or bond sale, waiting to be used. the expiration date on this type of funding is long – there is probably Bush II stimulus money still circling the project, looking for a place to land.

    • John P O'Donnell says:

      I’m sure nobody in Chester feels like they ever get fucked over.

  4. McDermott certainly said all the right things.
    By my nature, I like to temper expectations. But the moves this organization has made in the past few months is making that a tough ask. If they sign that difference-making striker, I may not be able to keep a cap on those expectations.

    • keep the expectations long term and it is easier. I do look forward to finding out who the striker is, yet I remain focused on looking forward to a solid team turning out in 2017, 2018, 2019, etc.

      • Yeah, we should be looking at the Union like we look at the MLS, solid growth each year should keep us happy, even though we always demand it get better faster.

  5. The problem is Chester is so depressed and dangerous it can’t sustain any of the amenities Union Fans would support for 17 days a year. Not a sports bar, a mid-level chain restaurant, a fast food restaurant or apparently even a Wawa. The idea of building condos on the waterfront is totally unrealistic.

    The Union could start the improvements by paving Parking Lot A.

  6. “improving transportation options to Talen Energy Stadium from Center City” WE’RE GETTING A BOAT!!! WE’RE GETTING A BOAT!!!

  7. The Realist Brian says:

    Car services to TES… you know, if they put the stadium in a city your actually named after with the infrastructure, you wouldn’t need to worry about the dwindling numbers of Philly city kids not making the trek down there. The deeper knowledge is they probably could have built a bigger stadium here, and sold more tickets with a Philly proper venue and made more money than languishing in that shit hole next to a cancer spewing chemical plant.
    And who is sick of this moneyball shit while other teams stock up and make themselves better? We haven’t done shit. Kazim-Richards went to Celtic. Who are they going to make a move for? Two more stiffs like Nando and The Property Brother? Come on, Stewart, show us your chops. Meanwhile, we are out on season tickets until you start to spend money. I will not spend money on your apparel, your “brand” or your food down at the stadium until I see major steps to compete with LA, Seattle, Portland, KC, Colombus, Dallas, and the NY teams (Holy shit I started laughing typing those teams…how pathetic are the Union?!?)

    • The Property Brother!! Haha! I have laughed at that before, and I just laughed at that again. Great stuff!
      I think the development near TES, is a chicken and the egg theory: Which comes first? Nothing happens until something happens. It’s stupid, but if no one takes a risk, it stays the same. Easier said then done, hell, it’s not my money… but the idea of using Baltimore’s Inner Harbor as an example that it can be done, is a good call.
      I wouldn’t be surprised if this team makes it another 10-15 years tops, and by makes it, I mean continues to be economically viable, and MLS continues to grow its foot print country wide… they build a stadium in the actual city. That might take a new owner, but time will tell. Or this is just wishful thinking but a HOPEFUL Union fan.

      • The Realist Brian says:

        The “hope” is that they can turn it around a la “Balt-more” like they pronounce it. The problem I see is that Baltimore at least had a downtown with some things going on, and it wasn’t as desolate as Chester is currently. Rebuilding a city that is as run down as Chester is too much, and the greediness of the local government will further drive a wedge when they continue to tax the team. I can’t see it happening.

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