The Union is headed to Florida for the third phase of preseason training, but last week, the team opened the second week of preparation in South Philadelphia at the NovaCare Complex and Lincoln Financial Field.
The sessions were perks of a business relationship and ever-budding partnership between both the Union and the Eagles, one that continues to grow the sport of soccer in the Philadelphia region.
It's a passion the Eagles have conveyed since the construction of Lincoln Financial Field and one that made the Union's decision to partner a no-brainer.
Since opening the gates of its 69,544 seat multi-purpose stadium with a soccer match between European giants Barcelona and Manchester United in 2004, the Linc has hosted a variety of other soccer specific events, including international friendlies. But more important is the commitment the organization has to lending a hand to its hometown club, which played its first ever home match and earned the first win in team history at the Linc in 2010, defeating D.C. United, 3-2.
Additionally, the Union squared off against Real Madrid in the World Football Challenge in 2011 in front of over 50,000 in attendance. And last week, the venue played host to close to 40 players all eager to get 2013 off on the right foot.
“We have an excellent relationship with the Union and we share their commitment to growing the game of soccer in the greater Philadelphia area,” said Eagles president Don Smolenski. “We are happy to help the Union in any way we can; not only with their preparation for the 2013 Major League Soccer season, but also with the footprint they have established in the Philadelphia soccer community and sports landscape.”
The same sentiment is shared by Union CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz, who also touched on the use of a great setup in preparation for a very vital 2013 campaign.
“We feel very fortunate to have used the fantastic facilities over at NovaCare and Lincoln Financial Field,” said Sakiewicz. “I’d like to thank [Eagles chairman and CEO] Jeff Lurie, [vice president of event operations and event services] Leonard Bonacci and [team president] Don Smolenski for accommodating us and allowing us access to their facility as our franchise prepares for a very important season.”