After a short training session, the Union left early this afternoon for Ohio in advance of a showdown against Eastern Conference foe Columbus on Saturday (5 p.m., Live Well Network, UniMas).
The mood of the guys seemed relaxed going into this one as the Union will look to get back to the winning ways it had before last weeekend’s slight to New York. Check out the latest roster card for the Crew match featuring Union defender Jeff Parke. The roster card is printable and even has a downloadable graphic image of Parke for your smartphone. For Android phone users, click here. Wondering where to find ABC’s Live Well Network on your television?
Be sure to check you channel guide for specific channel location, but Live Well can be found on following channels depending on cable provider or specific address:
- Verizon FiOS (DE/NJ/PA): 465, 466
- Comcast: (DE/NJ/PA): 245, 246, 790; (DE): 791
- Over the Air: 6.2, 6.3
- RCN: 41, 1098
- Service Electric Cable TV: (NJ/PA): 106; (PA): 590
Our big news of the day was the recent moves made in continued efforts to make the Philadelphia Union Youth Academy the top academy system in the United States. This morning, the club announced it will become one of 18 MLS academy teams within U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy program. In addition, the club announced the hiring of four total coaches, three with UEFA coaching credentials that will assist new academy director Tommy Wilson on making the Union youth model the class of academy programs throughout the league.
Perhaps the best part of all this is that the program, its materials and curriculum will be provided at no cost to prospective players. All players within the system will have a chance to learn and receive top coaching and instruction free of cost.
"Only the very best young and aspiring players will earn the right to play for the Philadelphia Union Academy based on skill and character not by financial wherewithal,” said Union CEO & operating partner Nick Sakiewicz. “Our free of cost Academy provides a true path for elite, ambitious players to climb to the Union First Team and an opportunity to fulfill their dream of playing in PPL Park.”
This is just the tip of the spear as philadelphiaunion.com and yscsports.com are planning a complete redesign and alignment of content on both sites. With the academy framed as the path to PPL Park, both entities plan to provide a look at our players through in-depth human interest stories, video content and more.
Since this morning’s release, many of you have had some great questions on how you can get your prospective son or daughter involved. This redesign and realignment of content we hope will answer all of the questions you may have going forward. If you do have a question, feel free to leave in the comments below.
One player who should feel a step closer to his new fanbase is Brazilian midfielder Kleberson. Kleberson, 33, recently acquired on loan from Esporte Clube Bahia was introduced to a host of supporters and media Wednesday night at na’Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse in Horsham.
MLSSoccer.com writer Dave Zeitlin covered the event and in this piece conveyed Kleberson’s thoughts on coming to Philly and his desire to play in Major League Soccer. One quote that truly resonated was when Kleberson vowed via translator: “Not only am I going to bring my experience, but I will bring Brazilian football to help the Philadelphia Union.”
With that said, it’s natural to wonder if the Union will feature Kleberson against the Crew. While he’s only been in training since Tuesday and still needs time to get adjusted, but Union manager John Hackworth addressed the notion of Kleberson conceivably making his MLS debut at his weekly press conference on Wednesday.
“We’ve had him in training this week,” Hackworth said. “It’s really good to have him. His quality is evident the minute he steps on the field. He still is in a process of adapting to our team, to our coaching style, to his teammates, to the cold weather here in Philadelphia. All of those things and I don’t think it’s going change too fast, but so far so good. He’s a guy we’re talking about a lot right now…He’s certainly a guy that has a really good sense about spacing, tactically where he can find the ball and touches, he’s exceptional. If we feel like he’s the best choice for us, he’ll be available for selection on Saturday.”
In other news…
In another effort to reach out to our fans across the region, next week the Union will target the Lehigh Valley area and will host “Union Day” on Sunday, April 14 from 3-6:30 p.m. at the Lehigh County Sports fields (466 Parkway Rd., Allentown). There will be a free soccer clinic for children ages six and up, conducted by Philadelphia Union players and staff, an in-depth Coaching Seminar by Union technical and academy staff, plus inflatibles and small-sided youth pickup games.
For more information or to sign up, log onto http://www.philadelphiaunion.com/events.
Have more questions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave them in the comments section below.
Enjoy the match. Be sure to follow the Union’s Twitter feed @TheUMatchday during the match in addition to matchcenter page on philadelphiaunion.com.
We’ll catch you Monday…
Contact Union writer Kerith Gabriel at email@example.com