As the fifth season of Union soccer steadfastly approaches, few are looking forward to it more than Union CEO and managing partner Nick Sakiewicz. In Part II of a sitdown with philadelphiaunion.com, Sakiewicz discusses the rapid growth of a passionate and vocal fan base, plans for a practice facility and what the club needs to get over the hump and become a perennial playoff contender.
PhiladelphiaUnion.com: What’s the status update in terms of a practice facility for the club?
Nick Sakiewicz: It’s a top priority. We are finalizing plans and the financing to build two practice fields here for the first team. We already have a practice facility for our youth players. It’s a world-class, $5 million facility for our youth players in Wayne. But for our first team, we have to establish that and we have a plan. We do hope to break ground on those fields here very soon.
PU.com: The growth and interest of the fanbase seem to increase every year. What does that mean to you?
Sakiewicz: It doesn’t surprise me. It motivates me and I’m very grateful for that passion. We as an organization are very grateful for that. It doesn’t surprise us because we knew this was a great soccer market. We knew coming in there was terrific soccer fans that know the game, they know the nuances of the sport. Because of that, I’m not surprised. They know good football. It motivates you to put good football on the pitch.
PU.com: What’s the next step that needs to be made for this franchise to move to the next level?
Sakiewicz: Players. Three to four pieces that can make this team...I believe this team is already set up to be very competitive. We want to win. We want to win every year. We want to win every game. In order to give us the best chance of doing that, we need three or four important pieces to add to the group that we have now. We love the group we have now, but they need some help. They need three or four pieces, players, that are going to make a difference for us next year. For me, that’s our first priority and second priority and probably third is a training pitch.
PU.com: Do you ever take time to reflect on what’s been accomplished with this franchise in such a short amount of time?
Sakiewicz: Yeah, every time I arrive to work. It’s just a great place. It’s a great environment. We had horde of people here for the College Cup final and they were fans of soccer from other parts of the country just ranting and raving about what a beautiful place it is. It’s 23 degrees and it was tough weather to sit through, but they were just ranting and raving. It has become a special place. That’s why colleges want to come here, why universities want to come here, why teams want to come here. So yeah, I reflect every day, not just when I walk into that stadium, but I reflect not to pat myself on the back or pat anyone on the back. I reflect because I want to do more. I want to get more. I want to win more of those medals. I want to put the product on the field that the fans are going to be really excited about.
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org