Union academy to play Everton U-18's prior to first team match

Academy showdown to be played July 20, 4:00pm, at PPL Park

Chester, Pa. (June 27, 2011) - Philadelphia Union and their youth academy partner YSC Sports today announced that the Union Youth Academy team will take on the Everton U-18 team on July 20, 4:00 p.m., at PPL Park. The game will serve as a preview to the Philadelphia Union/Everton first team matchup at 7:30 p.m. EST.

The double-header marks the first time that any Major League Soccer club has combined an international club visit with a youth academy match. Gates open at 3:30 p.m. and fans with tickets to the first team match will automatically be granted access to this game.

"Together with our youth development partner YSC, the Philadelphia Union Academy is delighted to play Everton FC's Under-18 team at PPL Park prior to the first team match,” said Philadelphia Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz. “It's an honor to host such a successful youth team and continue to reinforce our commitment to youth development in the region."

Coached by 10-year MLS veteran, Jim Curtin, the Union roster will consist of elite local players from a broad range of clubs, including FC Delco, PA Classics, PDA and Penn Fusion. Both the Union and Everton squads will range in age between 16 and 18-years-old. 

“We are deeply committed to providing world class opportunities for all youth clubs and players in the region,” said YSC Founder Rich Graham. “We are delighted to work with the Union to bring Everton FC’s U-18 team here to play and provide an international opportunity to players and coaches in the Philadelphia and South Jersey region.”

The Union Youth Academy is the third phase in the four-step Union/YSC Model that provides the Philadelphia region’s most talented youth “a path to PPL Park” and the opportunity to pursue the dream of professional soccer. In April of 2010, Step I, the YSC Union Juniors program (ages 8-12), was launched. Since then the program has been an overwhelming success with over 550 of the area’s top youth players receiving training at YSC. The Union and YSC simultaneously launched Steps II & III of the program, Union Juniors Academy (ages 13-14) and Union Youth Academy (ages 15-18) this past November. Step IV includes Philadelphia Union First Team, Reserve Team and Union affiliates the Harrisburg City Islanders (USL-PRO) and Reading United (PDL). 

This unique program enables Philadelphia Union and YSC to work in conjunction with local youth clubs to share in the process of developing players. The club-neutral format enables gifted youth players to remain registered and playing with their local club teams while receiving free supplemental training and competition opportunities when “called up” to represent Philadelphia Union.

Currently the top youth team in England, Everton defeated Fulham 2-1 in the FA Premier Academy League final on May 13 to claim the national championship.