Blog

31 October 1:42 pm

The Philadelphia Union is excited to give back to children in our surrounding community for the holiday season with a Toy Drive! We will greatly appreciate your help with this initiative to benefit economically disadvantaged children between 0 and 17 years of age. We request that all donated toys are new, unwrapped, and preferably around the $10 or above price range.

This years goal is to collect 500 toys. All toys will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Chester. 

Dropoff locations:

  • Front Office: 2501 Seaport Dr., Chester, PA, 19013
  • Angelo's Soccer Corner: 288 W Swedesford Rd., Berwyn, PA
  • Angelo's Soccer Store: 2074 E County Line Rd., Huntingdon Valley, PA

Please refrain from purchasing toys that contain:

  • Military themes
  • Weapons/Law Enforcement related items
  • Candy
  • Chemicals (i.e. experimental labs, acid, crystal projects, etc)

Can’t make it to the toy store, but still wish to donate?
We will buy it for you!

Amount

Suggested items for each age group division: 

0-2 years 2-5 years 5-9 years 10-17 years

Cloth or Plastic Books

Soft Squeeze Balls

Hanging Toys

Stacking Rings

Rubber or Soft Blocks

Soft Dolls

Push and Pull Toys

Short story/action books

Building blocks

Crayons, nontoxic finger paints, clay

Transportation toys

Simple puzzles with large pieces

Dress-up clothes

Tea party utensils

Hand puppets

Balls

Bicycles with helmets

Crafts

Electric trains

Paper dolls

Jump ropes

Sports equipment

Card games

Computer games

Table and board games

Sports equipment

Hobby collections

 

 

 

 

 

 

21 October 4:20 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

21 October 3:02 pm

Thanks to fans like you, many members of the Chester community will be warm this winter as the fifth annual Coats for Chester drive was yet again a success at PPL Park.

Fueled by the SEPA Hall of Fame and assisted by the Philadelphia Union Foundation and the Sons of Ben, over 520 coats collected over a two week campaign beginning with the Union’s Oct. 11 match against Columbus and ending – at least on Toyota Plaza and the SoBs tailgate area – before Saturday’s win over Sporting Kansas City.

And while the drive may have ended here, there is still plenty of time to donate your gently worn coats to the cause, by going onto SEPAsoccerhall.com and finding a location near you.

Bob Kozlowski, president of the SEPA Soccer Hall of Fame said that this year’s drop was the most collected over the years at PPL Park calling the support a “great vehicle” for getting the word out.

“A big thank you to everyone at the Union for helping kick off our Coats for Chester coat drive with two successful collection nights at the Oct. 11th and Oct. 18th games,” Kozlowski expressed via email.  “Between the Sons of Ben collecting at their tailgates and the SEPA Hall of Fame collecting on the Toyota Plaza, we were able to acquire 520 coats. This is a great start as it way more than we have gotten at these games in past years…we also talked to many fans who walked by, explaining they could drop off coats at the many locations listed on our website (www.SEPAsoccerhall.com)   until November 30. The response was encouraging and I think that we are going to do well.”

Winter can be harsh, but the support from fans willing to take time out and donate a coat to someone who may need it, goes a long way in showing the dedication, gratitude and warmth all of us have towards the greater Chester community. 

Have questions on how you can get involved? Send an email to info@sepasoccerhall.com.

16 October 4:26 pm

It’s Thursday, which means one day closer to the weekend and one day closer to the home finale against Sporting Kansas City this Saturday (7 p.m., purchase tickets).

Our ticket and marketing department have devised this promotion which is pretty cool and commemorative for the final Union match of 2014 at PPL Park.

Click the graphic for more information.

If you’re coming to PPL Park this weekend, one of the cool things you’ll have to check out is the rapid amount of work that has been done to finish construction on the club’s practice fields, located across from the stadium (the old Lot B). At the time of this report late Thursday, fencing was nearly up all the way around the stadium and masons were out completing some pretty intricate brick work.

No much to report from the training ground today as the team trained at the stadium, with everyone participating in full training today. You hear coaches say all the time that they have “everyone available for selection” and this case it appears as if interim manager Jim Curtin will have a full lot to choose from for Saturday’s match.

Off the field, Union midfielder Michael Lahoud is still making the rounds with his incredible #KickEbolaintheButt campaign as it was picked up in this Huffington Post segment earlier today. Lahoud is still looking to spread awareness about the disease that continues to spread with a rapid rise not just in his native Sierra Leone anymore, but has found its way to even reach our shores.

It’s a good segment, definitely one you should check out.

Moving on…

It looks like midfielder-defender Amobi Okugo has found a better alternative than credit card roulette the next time he has dinner with his Union teammates. If you don’t know that is, it’s the ever popular cringe worthy game of having a server at a restaurant pick credit cards out of a hat and the last one picks up the meal – for the entire dinner party.

But in this new version Okugo posted via Twitter at least you know you have everyone’s undivided attention…before having to foot the entire bill, of course.

That’s all for today, we’ll be back tomorrow. Check out philadelphiaunion.com for the latest Union news and definitely Friday for our Match Preview ahead of the Sporting KC match, our in-depth video preview and the current MLS goal scoring machine Pedro Ribeiro would like to emulate in his sophomore season.

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

15 October 3:57 pm

 

So you’re probably wondering where the Daily Doop has been…

And judging by the emails, we’ve received we know you have.

Well, much like our fans the shock and awe of Saturday night’s loss to the Crew resonated among our staff, so much so that we really didn’t know what to say.

While spirits are still high as players look to end the season on a high note, the idea that we actually had something meaningful to say after Saturday, would’ve been a lie.

When you get punched in the mouth like that it’s hard to speak for a few days, you know?

However, the show goes on as the home finale looms large as Sporting Kansas City is up next this Saturday (7 p.m., purchase tickets) and the first two days of practice have been quite positive with the Union players still jockeying for position as to who will crack the starting XI this weekend.

One thing that doesn’t look likely is the notion that interim manager Jim Curtin will play a lot of reserves in these final two.

When asked that during his weekly press conference Tuesday, Curtin told reporters:

“I’ll always be a guy who will play young players. I’ll play old players. I’ll play the best team. [Sebastien Le Toux] got an ankle injury so there might be a spot that opens up. I’m going to play the best team. It’s not a charity – its pro sports…I’m not just going to give guys games because the season is over. I still believe in playing guys who earn it during the week in practice.”

You could call it “coach speak,” but Curtin doesn’t really do coach speak very well, so…

Moving on…

The players were off Wednesday (except for rookie goalkeeper Andre Blake and Harrisburg City Islanders goalie Brian Sylvestre both who came in for an extra training session today), but two of them were gracious enough to spend their off day giving back to fans via social media. Both midfielders Danny Cruz and Amobi Okugo were active on the Philadelphia Union Twitter and Instagram accounts, with Cruz taking over Instagram showing his day off: 

 

Loading

Coffee shop selfie in university city ...about to catch a movie...any suggestions??

View on Instagram

And giving a lucky fan a pair of field seats for submitting this awesome photo:

 

Loading

So many great photos thank you all for sending them in! @tyronej146 a lot going on in this pic and I love it ...you are the winner of 2 field seats to this weekends game...we will get in touch with you! #DOOP

View on Instagram

Meanwhile Okugo was Day No. 3 deep into his Trivia Week:

Both are giving away field seats for this weekend’s match against Sporting Kansas City, so log on, play along and they could pick you. Even if you aren’t picked today, Okugo’s contest runs through Friday, and the prizes include four (4) tickets for Saturday (Thursday’s prize) and a $50 gift card to Tilted Kilt (Friday).

On Wednesday, Union CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz sat down with CSNPhilly.com on-air personality Marshall Harris for a two-part interview to discuss all things Philadelphia Union past, present and future:

Couple interesting things discussed in the sit down that will air Friday, Oct. 24 (7 p.m. on The Comcast Network; 11:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet):

Sakiewicz says getting bona fide attack minded striker is “number one” offseason priority.

Alludes to the fact that our contingent of goalkeepers “need to get games” under their belt.

And that he knows “the shelf life of Philly fandom” is short and that doing all it takes to get wins and only wins is the main mindset going into offseason preparation.

Now this is cool…

In conjunction with Major League Soccer, Chipotle, a major league sponsor created a series of videos showing behind the scenes at the inaugural Chipotle Homegrown Game during MLS All-Star weekend. Here’s the first post below. You can check out to the entire four part mini-series here.

That’s all for today; we WILL return tomorrow and Friday with our weekend wrap now that the sting is finally gone.

Catch you all tomorrow.

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

08 October 10:28 am

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame, as part of its mission to “Build the Future,” is continuing its successful “Coats for Chester Program” for the fifth straight year. The city of Chester, PA is the site of a lot of excitement in the Philadelphia area by playing host to our Major League Soccer team, Philadelphia Union. At the same time however, Chester holds the distinction of being the poorest city in Pennsylvania.

The SEPA Hall of Fame is committed to do its part to mobilize the soccer community in helping the needy people of Chester. We will be collecting coats throughout the Southeastern Pennsylvania area. Collected coats will then be distributed in Chester to: The Bernardine Center Food Bank, St. Katharine Drexel Food Cupboard and City Team Ministries Homeless Shelter. In the first four years of our collection program, we have collected and distributed 4,860 coats.

HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS

For two months this fall, from October 1, 2014 to November 31, 2014 we will be collecting donated winter coats from throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, and distributing them to needy families in Chester. Members of the SEPA Soccer Hall of Fame, along with volunteers from various soccer organizations, will be handling the collecting and distributing of the coats.

Shortly we will be posting on our website a list of organizations that will be collecting coats along with the various drop-off locations. If you would like to participate in our “Coats for Chester” program please contact us with an email sent to info@sepasoccerhall.com.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

  • When: October 11th or 18th match
  • Collection Locations: Toyota Plaza and Sons of Ben Tailgate
  • Donations: All coats to be donated to three locations in Chester
  • ***If you donate you will be entered to win a team autographed ball

 

06 October 4:51 pm

While the Union know that they ultimately control much of their playoff aspirations by securing three points in these final three matches, it had to be a little reassuring to see some help arrive courtesy of a few final score lines in MLS matches over the weekend.

Perhaps the biggest was a 2-1 victory for the New England Revolution over Columbus Saturday. The Crew is next up for the Union this Saturday at PPL Park (7 p.m., purchase tickets). While Columbus sits in the coveted fifth and final spot in the East on 43 points, the Crew will be without two of its standout players in Waylon Francis and designated player forward Federico Higuain.

Still the message is clear (via Major League Soccer):

Philadelphia Union will be eliminated from playoff contention IF

  • Philadelphia Union lose to Columbus Crew on Saturday AND
  • New York Red Bulls win vs. Toronto FC on Saturday

Keyword: AND.

Here in Philadelphia, the players resumed training today in preparation for Saturday’s game at Chester Park. Everyone participated in training in some form or fashion today as the mindset was to just get guys back on the ball.

Not much to report from training, but there is a lot to talk about...

First up, Union forward Antoine Hoppenot is the player guest for Tuesday’s “The 90th Minute” radio show. The hour long show (7:00-8:00 p.m.) will take place LIVE from Chickies and Pete’s in Audubon, Pa. before a scheduled return to Chickies’ South Philly location on Oct. 14.

We know you have a lot of questions for players and staff. Additionally, a glimpse into the life of one isn’t exactly a bad thing. Which is why all month we’ll have social media events that you can take a part of; get an insider’s look and insight into some key players who look to help this club finish this season on a high note…

We kick it off this Wednesday with Union midfielder-defender Maurice Edu, who will take over our Instagram account to give you a day in the life. Be sure to comment over the course of the day. If Edu messages you back, send us your email for a chance to win a Chipotle gift card.

Edu’s is the first in a series we’re calling “Wednesdays with…” in which one player will be available via Twitter or Instagram the whole day to answer your questions and give you some love.

Also, think you know everything there is to know about this team?

What about Amobi Okugo?

Well, beginning next Monday, you’ll have a chance to prove it when we kickoff the "Amobi Okugo Twitter Trivia." How does it work? Each day, Okugo will come up with a unique question for fans to answer. Answer the question and add the hashtag #StumpAmobi and you could be a lucky winner of a different daily prize ranging from field seats to the Union’s final home match of the regular season against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, Oct. 18 (7 p.m., purchase tickets ) to gift cards to restaurants and shops courtesy of our corporate partners and sponsors.

Two quick things to note:

This weekend (Friday, Oct. 10) will kick off the opening round of the Generation adidas Cup for the U17s of the Philadelphia Union Academy. Union midfielder Zach Pfeffer will visit the Academy on Wednesday, visit YSC Academy in addition to hanging around for training to speak to the kids from 4:00-6:30 p.m.  Always a class act, when asked to do this Pfeffer told philadelphiaunion.com via text:

“No problem at all! It’s fun for me too since I was the first homegrown, so this is awesome.”

Finally, Union interim manager Jim Curtin will hold his weekly press conference on Thursday this week at noon as the team is OFF this Wednesday. To watch Curtin’s presser LIVE, visit: philadelphiaunion.com/live

That’s all for now, catch you tomorrow.

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

06 October 9:01 am

We all know the feeling.

The alarm clock goes off and we hit snooze. After 3-4 rounds of pressing reset on the clock we know that we need to wake up and start the day. We stumble out of bed and begin our day. Depending on your situation you may have kids that you need to get ready for school which always adds stress to your morning routine. If you don’t have kids you may have a few extra minutes that allow you time to get a fresh cup of coffee and start your day.

Whatever your situation, I believe your morning ritual is such a key factor in how your day goes. I admit I’m guilty of coming downstairs and reaching for my cell phone. I know that it’s not the best thing for me since it will most likely initiate a stress response and that is not an ideal to start the day.

Below are five (5) ways you can start your day that can have a positive impact on your health:

1. Take ten deep breaths before you jump out of bed. Many of us wake up worrying about what we need to do for the day. By taking ten deep breaths this allows you to tap into your parasympathetic system (rest and digest) which is a good way to start your day.

2. Before you reach for the coffee grab a large glass of fresh water. By adding some sea salt and lemon this will kick start your hydration for the day.

3. Get in a quick workout. If you are short on time, here is a circuit workout (videos included) that you can do with only one kettlebell or one dumbbell.  Set a timer for 15-20  minutes and rest as much as you need to. Warm up with some foam rolling for five minutes and add in some mobility work (i.e. ankle mobility, hip mobility, thoracic spine mobility as well as 10 body weight squats and 10 push-ups). Keep this workout short and as always focus on good form.

One important note: Do not do this work out without FIRST warming up.

  • A1. Kettlebell swing:  six (6) reps (Note, if you do not know how to do a proper deadlift do not do a kettlebell swing. First learn how to do a deadlift and hinge at your hips.)
  • Video: Kettlebell swing
  • A2. Kettlebell goblet split squat: six (6) reps/side
  • Video: Split squat- Goblet
  • A3.  Kneeling kettlebell lift: six (6) per side
  • Video: Kneeling kettlebell lift
  • A4. Kettlebell single leg RDL- six (6) reps per side
  • Video: Single leg RDL
  • A5.  Turkish get up: 3 reps/side
  • Video: Turkish get up
  • Rest 60 seconds and repeat

4. Eat some fat and protein with a small amount of carbohydrates. By doing this early in the day it will allow you to experience the following:

a. Steady sugar levels

b. Satiety. You will feel comfortably full as you start your day. It won’t be a feeling of being bloated but rather a feeling of being satisfied as you start your day.

Here are two options for you:

Two (2) eggs (organic if possible), cooked in grass-fed butter with red peppers and some cheese mixed in.  Add in a side of strawberries.

A smoothie with Hemp or whey protein, spinach (leafy), frozen raspberries and coconut oil (melted). Add in some ice and blend it up.

5. Mix in some Yoga. The morning is a great time to clear your mind and by adding in a 5-10 minute routine it can help you later in the day.

Please keep in mind that you don’t have to do all five of these things listed above. Pick one of these tips and implement them into your routine. Over time develop your own routine that will allow you to have a minimum of twenty minutes each morning for yourself.  I know this will seem impossible for some but if you look at your schedule I am sure that you can carve out time for yourself. That may mean that you need to go to bed earlier or put down your cell phone. Your morning ritual is a key player in your health and well being.

Good luck with your training!

Follow Union fitness coach Kevin Miller on Twitter: @kmillertraining and on Instagram: kevinmillertraining. Also, Miller is a featured panelist on Philly.com's Sports Doc blog: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/sportsdoc). For best practices along with additional health and fitness tips, check out: Philly.com/Health

03 October 2:04 pm

It was only thirty minutes, but to these young athletes it was a moment that will last a lifetime.

In the first ever “Unified Match,” a Special Olympics soccer match was held between Special Olympics (Pa.) and a collective that represented Special Olympics (D.C.) following the Sept. 27 match between the Union and bitter rival D.C. United.

Both Special Olympics teams also doubly represented their respective club teams, so when the two sides took to the field at RFK Stadium, it was the first game in what could soon become a rivalry itself.

In this one, it was the Union that celebrated a 2-1 comeback victory over United in a match that is the first of what has the makings of becoming an annual classic. In fact, plans are already in place to have PPL Park as the host turf for the second installment next season.

“This was beyond anything that I can imagine for these kids,” said Nastassja Falterbauer, a special education teacher at Martin Luther King High School, who acted as head coach. “They are so excited, I am beyond proud of them and so excited that their hard work paid off and they are going home as winners. For the Union and D.C. United to give these kids a chance to experience this I know is something they’ll talk about for years.”

Falterbauer’s sentiments were echoed by Special Olympics (Pa.) athlete Herbie Rider, who scored the game winner to ensure the Union would seize the inaugural victory.

“It feels good, really great, Rider said. “I am happy that we did this…I will remember this moment every day. This was the best.”

Just another one of the many ways the Philadelphia Union Foundation strives to enrich its surrounding community and grow its footprint in the Greater Philadelphia region.

“The relationship that has been developed these past six months between MLS Works, Special Olympics (D.C.), Special Olympics (Pa.), D.C. United and Philadelphia Union has truly been a lesson in camaraderie and single mindedness of purpose,” Rick Jacobs, executive director of the Philadelphia Union Foundation, said.

For more information about Special Olympics Pennsylvania, visit: http://www.specialolympicspa.org/

And for information on how you can help support the Philadelphia Union Foundation, visit: philadelphiaunion.com/foundation

29 September 4:25 pm

It was a busy weekend that spilled into a relatively routine Monday here at Philadelphia Union HQ.

The players trained at PPL Park today, as they prepare for Thursday’s match against Chicago at PPL Park (8 p.m., purchase tickets).

A pleasant sight was Sebastien Le Toux in training gear and cleats as he joined his teammates for practice. Le Toux left the field at RFK Stadium in Saturday’s game against D.C. United in what early reports cited as a right ankle sprain. He later returned to the field with crutches, which appears to merely be a precaution as Le Toux was back out on the training pitch today. He will undergo an MRI and more information will be known once the results are in.

You can hear what Union interim manager Jim Curtin has to say about it during his weekly press conference which has been moved to Tuesday at noon given Thursday’s match. Watch LIVE by logging on to philadelphiaunion.com/live.

Moving on…

Congratulations are in order for the Philadelphia Union Special Olympics (Pa.) team which took part in the first ever “unified match” after playing D.C. United’s group from Special Olympics (D.C.). The Union team battled back from a goal down to win 3-2 over D.C. United.

Want more insight on the impetus of this match and annual plans to keep it going? Check out this piece that appeared on the Union website last week.  

Also, congrats to Union midfielder Michael Lahoud as his #KickEbolaintheButt campaign continues to get exposure. On Sunday, Lahoud along with Temple professor Thilo Kunkel teamed up to hold an event at the university, best attended by a few of Lahoud teammated and even better explained via subsequent articles written locally by CBSLocal.com  and the Philadelphia Inquirer and even a broader piece in Monday’s Washington Post

Stuff you should read…

We all do it, but there is no reason to hit the panic button on a season that is far from lost. And in this piece, yours truly explains why…one of my favorite pieces of the day is the weekly Public League soccer roundup the guys over at Philly Soccer Page have took to doing. This week, contributor Josh Trott breaks down each division and even looks at the Catholic League…finally, Dave Zeitlin explores the remaining Union schedule and more in a push for the playoffs.

Wanted to put in your head now about our next Union Day this Sunday at East Norriton Middle School in Norristown: 

And finally…

You know Ray Gaddis. Chances are you probably love Ray Gaddis.

Well with that said, the Union defender desperately needs your help. Take a look at what he wrote Sunday afternoon. If you can help and if you don’t already, please follow Gaddis on Twitter and give him some tips:

A true Southern (and Midwestern) gentleman, we can guarantee you he’d be “much obliged.”

Catch you all tomorrow.

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