The Philadelphia Union and Bethlehem Steel FC formally introduced Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke to media today at a press conference at PPL Park. Burke previously spent six years with the Union before leaving the club in January 2014.
Burke served as the assistant coach for the Philadelphia Union from 2011 through 2014 and was heavily involved in all levels of the U.S. Soccer pyramid, including serving as the head coach of the Union’s PDL affiliate Reading United from 2008 through 2013, where he maintained an exceptional record of 71-18-19. Burke also had plenty of influence with then USL-affiliate Harrisburg City Islanders, in addition to his first team duties with the Union.
“As a family member, he intimately understands every element of our club and our player development pathway,” minority owner Richie Graham said. “He understands how high of a priority it is to have really strong integration between our academy, our USL and our first team.”
In the last 10 years, 51 players from Reading United have signed professional contracts and 49 of those played under Burke including current Union defender Ray Gaddis, midfielder Andrew Wenger, forward C.J. Sapong and goalkeeper John McCarthy.
“I’m looking forward to working with all the good people around the city of Philadelphia and honestly the tradition, the history of Bethlehem Steel has me very excited,” Burke said. “We were talking about the video they put up at the press conference the other day and I wanted the season to start 10 minutes after we walked out of that room.
While at Reading United, Burke coached USMNT call-ups FC Dallas captain Matt Hedges and Toronto FC´s Alex Bono. Burke also coached the fourth overall 2015 Superdraft pick Fatai Alashe from the San Jose Earthquakes and Deshorn Brown, who scored 10 goals in his rookie season with the Colorado Rapids and currently plays for Valerenga Fotball in the Norwegian Tippeligaen league.
During Burke’s last season as coach at Reading, a record seven players were drafted into MLS: Kadeem Dacres, Tolani Ibikunle, Damion Lowe, Steve Neumann, Jimmy Ockford, Pedro Ribero and Bob Sweat.
In between his time with the Union and Bethlehem Steel FC, Burke was the associate head coach at Northeastern University. During his first season with the Huskies, the team went 8-11-1 and made it to the CAA Tournament Semifinals where they fell 1-0 to Delaware.
“We interviewed a lot. Brendan rose to the top, he’s here now. I’m excited by that,” Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “The biggest word I’ll use is trust. We trust each other. We’ve worked together for a while now and that is a big thing.”
Fans can keep up to date with Bethlehem Steel FC on Twitter, @BSteelFC, Facebook www.facebook.com/BSteelFC, and Instagram, @bsteelfc. Those interested in purchasing tickets can visit //www.philadelphiaunion.com/steelfc or call 844-STEELFC.