December 13, 2015
You might not have noticed amid all the sports misery in Philadelphia, but the local soccer club isn't faring much better than the four major teams.
Despite reaching the final game in the U.S. Open Cup for the second year in a row, the Philadelphia Union have missed the MLS playoffs the past four seasons, finishing with a record of 10-17-7 in 2015.
The team's poor fortunes have caused frustrations among fans, whose anger was often directed at the way chief executive officer and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz handled the team.
He was canned in October.
Now, following a name change to their stadium, with a new minor league team in Bethlehem and amid a flurry of transactions and additions on and off the field, the club is hoping a soon to be opened training facility will help turn things around.
Ground broke on the facility in August 2014 in what used to be Lot B of what's now called Talen Energy Stadium, formerly known as PPL Park, in Chester.
Previously, the team had taken buses to fields at Chester Park to train. Team owner Jay Sugarman told MLS.com he hopes the new perks will attract star players:
“I think players are going to walk in next year and say, ‘This is the place I want to play,’” Sugarman said. “As you know, two years ago, we were playing in a public park. What great player is going to say, ‘That’s where I want to go?’”
The 16,000-square-foot complex has a host of amenities that may entice players, including:
• 3000-square-foot weight room
• Film room with stadium seating for 33 people
• Physical therapy area and health center
• PlayerS' lounge and cafe
The new digs, set to open in the Spring of 2016, certainly can't hurt. As the Union blog the Brotherly Game pointed out at the time construction started, several players' gripes with the old routine of bussing it to a park to practice were made public.