Evolution of Philadelphia Union: Part 2

A number of incredible milestones were recapped in Part I of Philadelphia Union's ongoing evolution.

Well, those milestones continue today in Part 2 for the 16th franchise in Major League Soccer.

 

November 25, 2009: What a Thanksgiving feast!

Philadelphia Union selected the first 10 players in franchise history in the expansion draft:

The
10 players selected included: Brad Knighton (goalkeeper, New England
Revolution); David Myrie, (defender, Chicago Fire); Shavar Thomas
(defender, Chivas USA); Jordan Harvey (defender, Colorado Rapids); Shea
Salinas (midfielder, San Jose Earthquakes); Stefani Miglioranzi
(midfielder, Los Angeles Galaxy); Andrew Jacobson (midfielder, D.C.
United); Nick Zimmerman (forward, New York Red Bulls); Alejandro Moreno
(forward, Columbus Crew); and Sebastien Le Toux (forward, Seattle
Sounders FC).

 
Union fans met the expansion draft picks and Chris Seitz for the first time
“I am excited,” Philadelphia Union Team
Manager Peter Nowak said. “I did talk to the players after the
selections. All of them are excited about the work ahead of us. They
are excited to see the stadium and facility and to work with us. We
look forward to them coming to the City of Philadelphia.”

January 14, 2010:
What a day at the Convention Center! Imagine the MLS SuperDraft in
Philadelphia the same year the region gets a team. Well, it happened
and the passionate Philadelphia Union fans made plenty of noise at the
draft.


The SuperDraft came and went, and
Philadelphia Union supporters were treated to some fireworks with two
pre-draft deals that yielded Brazilian midfielder Fred and three of the
top seven picks in the SuperDraft. In the end, the club picked up an
incredibly strong crop of talent, drafting Danny Mwanga, Amobi Okugo,
Jack McInerney, Toni Stahl, Kyle Nakazawa and Brian Perk.

Philadelphia
Union selected Mwanga from Oregon State University with the first
overall selection. Okugo and McInerney went sixth and seventh,
respectively, in the first round.

 
Stahl, Mwanga, Perk, Okugo and McInerney sport their new scarves

January 26, 2010:
Most of the players arrived at the Healthplex Sports Club in
Springfield, Pa. on this morning for the first session with Nowak. The
sessions were to continue Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with the
players running laps and going through a series of weight training
exercises.

“It was a lot of
running, like I expected," said Mwanga, the club's first pick and No. 1
overall in the MLS SuperDraft from Oregon State. “It was good. It's a
lot different in college because it's a very short season. Guys are
trying to train the right way. I know I have to stay fit and focused
the whole time. I'm definitely going to have to make some adjustments.”

January 28, 2010:
Philadelphia Union President Tom Veit and WPVI / 6abc General Manager
Bernie Prazenica jointly announced that entering their inaugural season
in MLS, the club has entered into a multi-year partnership with the
long-established leader among local television stations.

The
Philadelphia Union / 6abc partnership will give WPVI broadcast rights
to many of the soccer club’s games, starting in March. The commitment
is for as many Philadelphia Union games as possible to be carried live
on 6abc, and all games will re-broadcast on 6abc’s digital channel –
6.2 (also known as the Live Well HD Network). Calling the games will be
JP Dellacamera, the long-time MLS and ESPN commentator, considered by
many to be best in the business in the United States.

February 24, 2010:
Philadelphia Union and PPL Energy Plus announced an 11-year naming
rights partnership. The stadium, currently under construction on the
banks of the Delaware River, will be known as PPL Park. A
soccer-specific stadium, PPL Park will also host a variety of
additional events, including concerts, festivals and other sporting
events.

 
CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz unveils PPL Park


“With our
partners at PPL EnergyPlus providing us cost effective and
environmentally friendly energy, they are enabling us to create a
stadium that is efficient and supports ‘green and clean’ power
sources,” added Sakiewicz. “That’s a good formula for us and other
businesses that want to work with PPL EnergyPlus to save money and be
good to the environment at the same time.”

 

March 1, 2010:
Philadelphia Union added yet another valuable piece to its player
development model, partnering with the Harrisburg City Islanders. The
USL-2 club joined a roster that already included Eastern Pennsylvania
Youth Soccer Association (EPYSA), Delaware Youth Soccer Association
(DYSA), YSC Sports and Reading United AC of the USL Premier Development
League. With five different organizations encompassed within
Philadelphia Union's player development strategy, the future looks
bright for the expansion club.

“Player
development is a key component to building the quality club and
organization we will be,” explained Sakiewicz. “With the Harrisburg
City Islanders and our previously announced relationships with Reading
United AC, EPYSA, DYSA and YSC Sports, Philadelphia Union Team Manager
Peter Nowak will instill ‘first team’ principles in training and
playing attacking, attractive football throughout Pennsylvania that our
supporters will truly enjoy. We’re eager to get going.”

March 25, 2010:
Ah, First Kick. Amazing, isn’t it? Philadelphia Union will travel to
Qwest Field to take on Seattle Sounders FC at 9:30pm ET. Get ready
because this will be the beginning of a wild ride.

April 10, 2010:
This will be another huge day in club history – the home opener at
Lincoln Financial Field against D.C. United. The crowd will be psyched
long before the game starts. That much is to be expected.

June 27, 2010:
Now, this may just top everything – the debut at PPL Park against
Seattle Sounders FC. With a sold-out crowd cheering like crazy for
Philadelphia Union, all the hard over the past four years will be
totally and completely worth it.

That's
all for now. Only the future will tell what other milestones are in
store for Major League Soccer's newest team, Philadelphia Union.