The Philadelphia Union Continues Its Grassroots Expansion

Phil AndrewsCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2009

The MLS expansion Philadelphia Union continues to lay the groundwork for a long-term commitment to the soccer-rich communities here in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern Jersey, and Delaware.

With a solid fanbase already in place, and a soccer-specific-18,500 seat stadium nearing completion, the team this week announced its partnership with Reading United AC (formerly Reading Rage) as their exclusive minor league affiliate in this area.

“As the Major League Soccer club in the region, we have a responsibility to help grow the game and teach our young supporters the proper way the game is played,” said Philadelphia Union Team Manager Peter Nowak. “Our technical staff will work closely with the coaches at YSC and Reading United AC to ensure everyone in the program has the best insights to the game we can provide.”

“As we enter our 15th year of minor league soccer here in Reading, we’re taking our game and our serious commitment to soccer in the region to another level,” reflected Reading United AC General Manager Art Auchenbach. “We are excited about our affiliation with Philadelphia Union on a multitude of levels. Of course, fielding a first rate club on the field remains our top priority. Our mission is to help train young players, while setting the standard for a local, club-neutral program. And that is consistent with what Philadelphia Union is already doing.”  

Collectively, this means a new era of growth and development for soccer throughout the area. One goal will be to groom young talent in Reading to prepare them to advance to Philadelphia Union and MLS.

"We are pleased things came together so seamlessly, with the leadership of Reading United AC,” said Philadelphia Union CEO & operating partner Nick Sakiewicz. “Our goals and aspirations, from the grassroots on up through our first team, are very complementary. There’s a commonality of purpose, to do things right, on the pitch and off. We look forward to a long and successful partnership to help grow the game at all levels here in Berks County.”