Nick Sakiewicz has always said how much he revels in hosting a wide variety of events at PPL Park.
The most recent event was the NCAA College Cup.
Notre Dame defeated Maryland 2-1 to capture its first men’s soccer national championship on Sunday. New Mexico and Virginia were eliminated in the semifinals.
Sakiewicz, the Philadelphia Union’s CEO & operating partner, enjoyed every moment of the weekend.
“I thought it was great,” Sakiewicz told philadelphiaunion.com. “It was the first time we hosted it here ever. I thought the crowd was good considering how poor the weather was with three storms on a single event being tough to deal with. But I thought our crew and our stadium staff did a great job. We pulled off a great event. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the football, particularly in the final game yesterday. It was very good. It’s college soccer so it’s not the English Premier League or top-level MLS, but it was very, very entertaining to watch.”
There were a number of players competing who will likely wind up in MLS. Being able to watch them at PPL Park was a treat.
“We talk about college soccer and what it is, but the fact of the matter is most of the players come through our league come through the university system,” Sakiewicz said. “It’s great to see the quality on the field yesterday. I think clearly there were a number of first-round picks who played in the stadium yesterday. So it’s always good to showcase PPL Park and see that talent playing out there.”
Zac MacMath, Matt Kassel, Antoine Hoppenot and Sheanon Williams were among the Union players who showed up at PPL Park to support the NCAA College Cup.
They once played at that level, too.
“Also we had quite a few of our Academy kids playing,” Sakiewicz said. “One of them (Notre Dame’s Andrew O’Malley) scored the winning goal yesterday. (Maryland goalkeeper) Zack Steffen, (Virginia forward) Darius Madison both were there playing, which was great to see. I read one article with Zack Steffen saying that (he was) dreaming of playing for the Philadelphia Union in this stadium, so that’s really cool.”
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org