UNION PLAYERS EXCITED FOR WORLD CUP

Major League Soccer will take a two week hiatus while the opening round 2010 FIFA World Cup is played in South Africa.

Beginning June 11, all eyes will be on South Africa as perhaps the most magnificent sporting event in the world unfolds.

Philadelphia Union players will be watching closely as they train and stay in top condition for the remainder of the season.

“I think you can ask any player on this team, and they’ll tell you how special the World Cup is and how they can’t wait for it every four years,” said midfielder Shea Salinas. “For us as professional soccer players, it’s just awesome to see the World Cup. As kids, we all dreamed of becoming professionals and scoring the winning goal in a World Cup game. I’m very excited for the World Cup.”

Rookie forward Jack McInerney appeared in all four games for the United States in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, scoring two goals and helping the club reach the round of 16.

McInerney understands what playing for the actual 23-man U.S. World Cup team would mean.

“It would be amazing,” McInerney said. “I played for the U-17s and enjoyed every minute of it. I’ll be watching this summer. It should be a great tournament.”

Danny Mwanga, the Union’s top pick in the MLS SuperDraft, will be closely following the World Cup.

“I lived in Africa, and there is so much going on, but when the World Cup starts, everyone kind of bands together as one, which is a great thing,” said Mwanga, who immigrated to the U.S. in ’06. “The passion for soccer in Africa is everywhere. I think the whole country will be watching. For me, I’ll be watching the African nations. I hope they do well.”

Fred sure hopes Brazil does well.

“I will be watching the matches,” Fred said. “It’s exciting.”

No question.

Once the MLS World Cup break concludes, it will be time to resume the Union's inaugural season in Philadelphia. And there will be so many more memories to craft, more notably the opening of PPL Park on June 27.

“I think this is a unique season with all that has gone on,” Salinas said. “From the road games to the games at Lincoln Financial (Field) to the opening of PPL Park and Manchester United coming, there are so many things happening. I think we will all be excited for the rest of the season when the World Cup (break) ends.”