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Breaking: Bethlehem Steel FC to play 2019 season in Chester

Editor’s note: This story has been revised after publication.

Philadelphia Union announced today that Bethlehem Steel FC would play the 2019 season at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, PA.

In a letter posted on the Bethlehem Steel website, Union Chief Financial Officer Tim McDermott explained that the United Soccer League will no longer allow Bethlehem to play its games at Lehigh University’s Goodman Stadium because the stadium’s lack of lights prevents it from hosting night games.

Founded in 2016, Bethlehem have called Goodman Stadium home for each of their three seasons. The Union indicated that they searched for other stadium solutions in the Lehigh Valley for the 2019 season, but none materialized.

McDermott indicated that he hoped that the team would return to Bethlehem in the future. “We are also keeping the team name as Bethlehem Steel FC with the same logos because we are viewing this situation as temporary – we hope we can return to the Lehigh Valley as soon as possible with an approved stadium solution.”

In the meantime, Union and Steel fans will have to travel to Chester to see the Union’s young players in action. McDermott announced that all 2018 Steel season-ticket holders will have free access to USL matches at Talen, and that USL tickets would be “included as added value” in 2019 Union season ticket plans. McDermott also indicated that the Steel would remain in the USL Championship, the upper tier of USL.

“We are committed to the USL model and its importance in developing our young players,” said McDermott.

It remains to be seen when USL soccer will return to the Lehigh Valley.

12 Comments

  1. Does “added value” mean included with the season ticket package or does it mean discounted tickets or something different? I’m guessing (hoping) it probably means that they are included with the expectation that they’ll make up the cost in concessions.

  2. WeAreSteel2k18 says:

    Well this is heartbreaking.

    As I have said many times on here, the dream of a stadium at the actual Stacks is nothing but a dream and there is not a willingness in the Valley to build a stadium for the Steel with public funds.


    I’d love to know if the Union/Steel genuinely have some sort of plan for this “stadium situation.” We keep hearing that same line. It’s going to require money from the Union if it’s going to happen.

    I feel like the club is gone. I’ll gladly be wrong. Bethlehem Steel FC belongs in Bethlehem. Thanks to the players, coaches, and gameday staff at Goodman. You all did your best with what little the Union gave you. There’s a lot of bright futures among the current group of players.

    Until next time…if there is one…

  3. Kind of a bummer. I liked trekking up the Turnpike once a year to catch a Steel match.

  4. Wait–will they be Chester Steel or something else?
    Maybe they can get the bimbo sponsorship and union can finally get Comcast or aramark or a pharmaceutical. Heck even Viagra would be improvement as we can say they play hard.
    UnionGoal

  5. Maybe the U could add the lights to Goodman stadium. It’s not a multi million dollar project. Mostly 150 to 200k. Come on the U….light that baby up!

    • i thought the same thing when they landed there. it was a red flag when announced. especially over 3 seasons, you’re telling me they couldn’t make some sort of arrangement? but then that would be a commitment on the team’s part and it seems there never really was.

    • My understanding is that Lehigh doesn’t want lights in Goodman…it would require additional work to the campus, which they are unwilling/don’t want to do. Based on some other experiences with groups using Lehigh, the rental cost is probably astronomical and Lehigh controls all concessions, so I wouldn’t doubt that these issues played a factor as well.

  6. How does this effect the pitch? Do more soccer games push high school games, rugby games and dog shows off the schedule or just make it more congested?

    • Bedoya and Haris complained about the pitch and it’s bad condition toward the end of the season. Could this mean even sooner bad playing conditions for the first team?

  7. Scott of Nazareth says:

    In a dream scenario – Steel/Union, Sand’s Bethlehem (or whoever ends up owning the casino), Art’s Quest (MusikFest), Northampton County and City of Bethlehem, put a stadium in the Steel Stacks area.

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