Business

21 October 5:20 pm

The final match of the regular season is this Sunday in Columbus, but on Tuesday, the Union convened for one of its final training sessions of the season at PPL Park as they gear up for this weekend’s match with the Crew (4 p.m., The Comcast Network).

Training was getting guys back on the ball after a two-day respite following Saturday’s 2-1 victory against  Sporting Kansas City. Some passing drills, possession drills and short sided matches were more to get legs back up to speed.

What’s exciting however is that already the talk around camp is gearing up and retooling for next season as the Union remains hungry for a spot in MLS’ postseason, something that will be missed this season as a result of too many points being left on the table.

To their credit, the players in the locker room underwent quite a few changes to its makeup and went on a memorable run, but it’s the idea that too little was done too late that remains a sour taste.

Zac MacMath perhaps said it best when looking back after Saturday’s win against Kansas City.

“It’s hugely disappointing because I thought we had a good group of players, a good mix of veterans and young guys. I thought we played really well at times throughout the season. Unfortunately, we came up short too many times. That’s why we’re not making the playoffs.”

However, interim manager Jim Curtin had this to say to the folks at Philly.com which brings with it great promise:

“The focus now; the only words I’ll use around the guys is the playoffs for next year,” he said. “We’re not even going to talk about championships or anything like that. It’s about making the playoffs in 2015. That is the goal.”

Moving on…

Few things you should check out if you haven’t already (including a shameless plug from yours truly). First up, is this detailed look at the life and career of Union midfielder Vincent Nogueira who takes us through his younger years and life into the professional ranks proving naysayers who laughed him off due to his stature right in the face.

Also, he was a pretty cute kid, too.

On CSNPhilly.com writer Dave Zeitlin’s “Inside Doop” looks at the youngsters on the Union roster in addition to three thoughts on Saturday’s match…on MLSSoccer.com forward Brian Brown and midfielder Cristian Maidana cracked the Castrol Index Top 20 with Brown coming in at No. 10 while Maidana finished No. 16. Not sure what the Castrol Index is? Here's how it works.

Catch defender Ethan White Wednesday as he takes over our Instagram account in our final “Wednesday’s with…” segment of the month. White, who doubles as an amateur photographer when he’s not on the field will post images and answer fan questions. Have a question for him? Ask with the hashtag #AskEthan. 

Shout out to Union players Zach Pfeffer, Andrew Wenger, Leo Fernandes and Zac MacMath who were honorary guests at SOCtoberfest, which benefitted the Montgomery United Soccer Club.

We heard those guys were treated like kings, so thank you MUSC for taking good care of them.

Lastly, on Monday night many of the guys got a chance for a sneak peek at the “Sons of Ben Movie” slated for release sometime soon. The movie, which chronicles the birth and inception of not only the club’s supporters group but the inception of the team was shown to a handful of folks Monday night in West Chester. 

That’s all for now, catch you Wednesday with a recap of manager Jim Curtin’s final pregame press conference of the season. Be sure to tune in LIVE tomorrow via philadelphiaunion.com/live

Contact Union digital editor Kerith Gabriel at kgabriel@philadelphiaunion.com

13 June 2:17 pm

Philadelphia Union and The Philadelphia Union Foundation will hold their fourth annual River Cup on September 6 at 11:30 a.m., the club announced today.  The one of a kind event features the Union front office and technical staff against the Union supporters group, the Sons of Ben, in a spirited match on the pitch at PPL Park. However, this year the fun doesn’t stop when the game ends.  Guests are invited to stay and check out the inaugural “Delaware River Craft Brewfest” that will be held on Toyota Plaza as well as cheer on Philadelphia Union as they take on Toronto FC live from Canada on the video board inside PPL Park.  

Combination River Cup and Brewfest tickets, as well as individual River Cup tickets, will be available for purchase via PhiladelphiaUnion.com  or at the PPL Park Box Office.  All proceeds from River Cup will benefit The Philadelphia Union Foundation.

“We are about tradition at Philadelphia Union and The Philadelphia Union Foundation,” said Rick Jacobs, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Union Foundation.  “That’s why we are so excited to continue the tradition of our River Cup, now in our fourth year. There’s no better way to raise money for our Foundation Building Blocks than partnering with Sons of Ben, the most committed and loyal supporters group in all of MLS.”

The Delaware River Craft Brewfest includes live music and entertainment, gourmet food options, and a variety of vendors, including over 100 breweries. The event will feature a sampling of the best crafts, imports and ciders from the United States and around the world. Samples of limited-release beers such as Goose Island Bourbon County and Scratch Series from Troegs will also be available.  Breweries on site include Victory, Troegs, Anchor, Rogue, Full Sail, Evolution, Starr Hill, Long Trail, Goose Island, Old Dominion, Lancaster and Magic Hat.

"The Sons of Ben are again excited to participate in the River Cup with the Philadelphia Union Foundation,” said Sons of Ben President Kenny Hanson.  “We are just as equally excited to be a part of raising money for such a great cause, the Philadelphia Union Foundation."

Tickets starting at $35 are available through PhiladelphiaUnion.com , by phone at 1-800-298-4200 or in person at the PPL Park box office. Designated Driver Tickets are available at $10. All ticket purchasers must be 21 or older to attend and must present a valid photo ID at the gate. Ticket purchasers during the first week of the on-sale will receive a free commemorative limited edition beer glass.

VIP Session tickets will kick off the festival from 2:00–3:00 p.m. with a special firkin tapping, VIP Parking, and the ability to talk to brewers and taste exclusive beers that will not be served in the general session. General Session will run from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.  Both VIP and general session tickets will include a souvenir tasting glass.

 

22 July 11:35 am

When it comes to training, people like to debate about what is the best way to increase an athlete’s power and explosiveness. Some people believe Olympic lifting is the best tool to increase an athlete’s power output. Others believe CrossFit or kettlebell training are the most effective way at increasing an athlete’s power. We can argue this point all day long and the reality is I don’t believe that there is one single way to increase your power. However, I do believe that there is a very effective tool for athletes to use when it comes to increasing power output and that tool is a medicine ball.

Most coaches know that in order to increase power a lot of factors must go into the equation. Here are just a few of the things that we need to do in order to increase power output:

  • Increase your force into the ground.
  • Increase total body strength.
  • Increase the speed of movement.
  • Ensure proper alignment while we train.
  • Focus on ways to properly decelerate our body.
  • Maintain proper breathing patterns.
  • The ability to stabilize under load.

As much as I like Olympic lifting and kettlebell training, I believe the best tool for teaching power output  at the beginning of a training program is to use a medicine ball. A few reasons why I prefer to use a medicine ball at the beginning of an athlete’s training program are:

  • For most people throwing an object comes natural.
  • It’s fun. People like to throw things and this gives them the license to throw an object as hard as possible once they have good form.
  • It’s safe. Instead of lifting a weight over your head with the fear of dropping it on your head a medicine ball is a great tool to teach the mechanics of several more advanced lifts.
  • You can take the medicine ball anywhere and train on your own.
  • With this one tool I can work on speed, power, deceleration, change of direction, endurance, proprioception and mobility.

These are just a few examples of why I like to use medicine balls in a training program. The reality is a number of elite athlete’s use these in their everyday training program. As I stated above, I use this at the beginning of a training program with new athletes, however, elite athletes use these daily for incredible results.

When it comes to training with medicine balls there are so many exercises to choose from. You are only limited by your imagination. Below are five exercise video clips that I have put together for you to review. As always ensure that you use proper form and start slow. If you have any pain (shoulder, back, etc.) back off of these exercises and consult with a medical professional.

Medicine ball introduction

Medicine ball squat to overhead throw-tutorial

Lateral lunge to shotput-tutorial

Skate hop continous w/ medicine ball throw-tutorial

Crow hop w/ med ball throw-tutorial

Regardless of your sport medicine ball training is a fantastic way to increase your power. Athletes from every sport can benefit from the rotational power as well as well the increase in aerobic output that they will see from this type of training. If you have kids this is a great way to slowly introduce them to the world of training. I guarantee that if you start slow and use a very light medicine ball kids will enjoy this type of training. Adults, if you are looking to drop a few pounds or increase your running speed implement medicine ball training into your routine.

Enjoy!

Have a question for Union strength coach Kevin Miller? Leave it in the comments below.