Union Partner with City Islanders

City Islanders to be Exclusive USL-2 Affiliate Club

 

Chester, PA (March 1, 2010) – Philadelphia Union announced today a partnership with the Harrisburg City Islanders of the USL Second Division, further extending the Major League Soccer club’s player development model. The City Islanders will be Philadelphia Union’s Exclusive USL-2 Affiliate Club.
 
“Player development is a key component to building the quality club and organization we will be,” explained Nick Sakiewicz, CEO & Operating Partner of Philadelphia Union. “With the Harrisburg City Islanders and our previously announced relationship with Reading United AC, 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.”

The City Islanders will become a key part of Philadelphia’s player development strategy, as the club will have the option to loan players to Harrisburg for increased playing time. As partners, both clubs will also work to help identify City Islander players who have the potential to make the leap to MLS. The relationship continues the growth of Philadelphia Union’s player development strategy, building off of previously established relationships with PDL squad Reading United AC, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association (EPYSA), Delaware Youth Soccer Association (DYSA) and YSC Sports.

“We’re proud and excited to make this announcement today,” said City Islanders President Eric Pettis. “Before they’ve even played a game, Philadelphia Union have proven themselves to be a truly first-class organization. Both clubs will see numerous benefits, on and off the field, as a result of this partnership. It’s a natural fit.”

An annual friendly match in Harrisburg between the clubs (date to be announced) is another highlight of the partnership. Other components will include cross promotional opportunities, clinics and Philadelphia Union player appearances in Harrisburg during the summer and off-season.

“We’ve worked with MLS clubs frequently over the years, but to formalize a relationship like this is ideal,” said City Islanders Head Coach Bill Becher. “I think players and staff from both clubs will see real benefits as a result.”

Philadelphia Union’s first-ever First Kick will take place March 25, 2010 vs. Seattle Sounders FC at Seattle’s Qwest Field. The club’s home opener will be April 10, 2010 vs. D.C. United at Lincoln Financial Field. On June 27, 2010, Philadelphia Union will open PPL Park vs. Seattle Sounders FC.

ABOUT KEYSTONE SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT LLC
Keystone Sports and Entertainment, LLC, is the Philadelphia Union ownership group. It is comprised of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of iStar Financial Jay Sugarman, CEO and Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz, Christopher and Robert Buccini and David Pollin, founding partners of The Buccini/Pollin Group, Swarthmore Group’s Jim Nevels (Chairman) and Paula Mandle (CEO), and Philadelphia attorney William Doran. For more information about Philadelphia Union, visit www.philadelphiaunion.com

ABOUT MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. MLS features many stars from the U.S., Canada, and around the world. MLS kicks off its 15th season on March 25, 2010. MLS features 16 clubs each playing 30 regular season matches in 2010. Those teams include Chicago Fire; Colorado Rapids; Chivas USA; Columbus Crew; D.C. United; FC Dallas; Houston Dynamo; Kansas City Wizards; Los Angeles Galaxy; New York Red Bulls; New England Revolution; 2009 MLS Cup Champion Real Salt Lake; San Jose Earthquakes; Seattle Sounders FC; Toronto FC; and, in their inaugural season, Philadelphia Union. Expansion teams in Vancouver and Portland will debut in 2011. For more information about MLS, log on to the League’s official website at www.mlsnet.com.