Under the partnership, the two clubs will work to identify Harrisburg players with the chops for MLS. The clubs will partner on promotional activities, clinics, and Union player appearances in Harrisburg, and they’ll play an annual exhibition match.
“We’ve worked with MLS clubs frequently over the years, but to formalize a relationship like this is ideal,” City Islanders Head Coach Bill Becher said. “I think players and staff from both clubs will see real benefits as a result.”
This kind of partnership could be hugely important for both sides. With MLS doing away with its reserve competitions, non-regulars don’t get much opportunity for playing time outside of practice. This would give them that time, in a way similar to that which is happening in England, where top Premier League sides have been increasingly loaning out players to Championship and League 1 clubs.
Philadelphia already has a partnership with Reading United AC of the United Soccer Leagues’ Premier Development League, but this deal allows them to partner with a club at a higher level of competition.
More on this later, when time allows. We’ll tell you a bit more about the City Islanders and just how unique this partnership may be.