Philadelphia Union II

Organizational core principle: Maximize and fulfill potential

Feature photo courtesy of BSFC communications 

Two separate but related events within the last several days involving Bethlehem Steel illustrate Keystone Sports and Entertainment’s core principle of maximizing and fulfilling potential.

Last week the United Soccer League announced Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke as its coach of the month for August.

In response to a disappointing July, Burke evoked a league-leading 15-point August from his team. Twelve of the points were taken on the road. He won 50 percent of the vote, his nearest competitors receiving 17 percent and 13 percent respectively. Some voters understand the special challenges inherent in Burke’s position leading the Philadelphia Union’s player development side.

While the coach was clearly pleased when congratulated last Friday at practice, he sought recognition for his primary assistant Steve Hogan, the others of his technical staff, and his players because they did the work on the pitch.

Burke elicited coach-of-the-month-worthy performance from his men because he finds the courage to risk trusting them. He prepares each one equally, an attitude based on openness to growth, fairness, and the necessities of a small guaranteed roster.

A testament to his effectiveness came from Philadelphia Union’s striker Cory Burke earlier this season before he had won the first—team starter’s job. The striker commented that he liked to go down to Bethlehem to play for coach Burke because, “[H]e’s a good guy.”

The coach is selflessly committed to his men. Disinterested selflessness fulfills self-interest. Burke’s commitment to his players motivates them to give him their all, and last month they did.

No other college prep school does what the Union Academy Schoolhouse does

After Selmir Miscic commented at the announcement of his signing by the Steel that Europe was a goal for his future, Bethlehem head coach Brendan Burke immediately stated that developing a player to fulfill his entire potential is an organization core principle even if it moves the person beyond Bethlehem and Philadelphia.

Miscic demonstrated  that that principle was important to him by absolutely affirming his awareness of something unique that the Academy schoolhouse does for interested alumni after they graduate.

The current academy student pointed out that playing professional soccer is a temporary condition, and that giving up conventional college is a real cost of going pro. HIs school’s experienced willingness to guide alumni to the online college courses available through Southern New Hampshire University made it easier for him to decide to follow his soccer dream because he would also be preparing for life after soccer.

From the moment of introducing his school to the public, founder Richie Graham has been clear that the school’s mission is to maximize and fulfill the potential of every student, whether a candidate for professional play or for contributing to society in other ways. Actively to help interested alumni to SNHU for further course work exemplifies the mission, and is unique within local secondary school practice.

PSP knows from direct testimony that Miscic is not the only recently signed young professional from the academy whose decision was influenced by the Schoolhouse’s expertise in fostering SNHU post-secondary coursework.

Both Richie Graham’s academy and Brendan Burke’s coaching style exhibit long-term interest in former students and players as they have progressed beyond both the Wayne schoolhouse and the clubs Reading, Philadelphia or Bethlehem.  Earlier this season it is reported that Graham got a haircut from a visiting alum who had come back the the schoolhouse parking lot to once again give haircuts as well as visit his friends. Earlier this season Burke was very pleased to see 2016 player Nick Bibbs and have a report on Bibbs’ studies at a major New York state university where the former Steel man is preparing to help further soccer’s grow in this country.

In each instance full commitment to doing the best for those under care, produces positive results. Burke’s players are reciprocating by raising the Steel back into the playoff chase, and finishing strongly to be the most successful MLS 2 side in the 2018 season. Graham’s graduates will come back to YSC’s schoolhouse to see him, to see instructors athletic and academic, and to see the lifelong friends they call brothers and school mates whether their achievements have been on the pitch or off it.

One Comment

  1. Thank you for the academy updates, Tim.
    Why new hampshire? Philly major college town.

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