Union and its pair of developmental affiliates share in the success of sharing players

Union players have fueled a season of success early in Harrisburg

Harrisburg celebration

Photo Credit: 
Harrisburg City Islanders

They all knew the milestone victory would come early in the season.

In the third game and in their home-opener at the Skyline Sports Complex, the Harrisburg City Islanders picked up their 100th career victory following a resounding 5-1 win over the Rochester Rhinos.

Opening the 2013 season with three consecutive wins and recording the 100th career victory at home was the perfect scenario.

“I was joking with our staff and owner before the season that wouldn’t it be great if we started the season with three straight wins to get the 100th win,” said City Islanders coach Bill Becher, who also celebrated the 100th win since he’s the only coach in club history. “It was a great night and our players deserved it. They’ve been working and training so hard. They deserved to be out there celebrating because we opened the season in a strong way. I’ve been here for 10 years and this start has been as good as any. I’m very proud of all the guys.”

Becher opened this season with a 71-49-44 career regular season record. He has won the 2011 USL PRO National Division title, the 2007 USL-2 Championship Trophy and the 2005 USL-2 Coach of the Year Award.

In his 10th season, he has continued to get the best out of his players. While there is a long way to go this season, he has enjoyed every second with this group.

“They’re all hard-working, good guys,” Becher said. “They have very good chemistry and they’re very coachable. It has been a pleasure and I can see a whole lot of success this season because of that work ethic.”

Read: Daily Doop: Union developmental partnership continues to grow

Jimmy McLaughlin scored in that victory over the Rhinos.

McLaughlin signed with the Union as their second-ever Homegrown Player on Dec. 12, 2011. Since then, he has steadily improved in every facet.

Having the chance to continue honing his skills with the City Islanders has been a unique and rewarding experience.

“It’s been great and I’m listening and learning all the time,” said McLaughlin, who made his MLS debut on Oct. 24, 2012, replacing Danny Cruz for a 17-minute stint against Sporting Kansas City. “There’s nothing like game experience. I’m trying to get better and improve every day. Being a part of the 100th experience was really great. It was a special night for the club. I was glad to be able to contribute to the victory. Other than that, I’m just out there working as hard as I can.”

Don Anding was selected by the Union with the 26th overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. He knew there would be a learning curve, especially picking up a new position in left back.

Having the opportunity to learn at Harrisburg has been a blessing.

“I feel like I’m getting better every day,” said Anding, a former standout at Northeastern. “I think every player would tell you they’d rather be in MLS. That’s natural. You have to wait your turn and learn and that’s what I’m doing. It’s been a great experience in Harrisburg and I’ve enjoyed all of it. Being part of that 100th victory was cool. I remember the staff talking about it before the season and how cool it would be to get it done at the home opener. We were able to do it and I’ll never forget it.”

Neither will Becher.

"It was kind of the perfect storm," Becher said. "It was great for our organization, our players and our fans. They all deserved it."

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com