File photo: Nicolae Stoian
On Thursday night, the Union held a town hall meeting with invited season ticket holders among the top 100 loyalty reward accounts. The discussion featured Nick Sakiewicz, Dave Rowan and Bob Rigby. Based on information from season ticket holders who were in attendance, as well as tweets from Union fan extraordinaire BarbCV and the Union Twitter account from the event, here are some of the topics that were discussed:
- Union officials say the club is very sound financially with a very healthy coffer for improving existing player contracts and new player acquisition.
- The Union intends to use these resources smartly rather than blow the bank as other teams in the league have done.
- Transparency in MLS will continue to improve as the league develops
- Plans are in the works to build a 20,000 square foot training facility with a grass and a turf field in Chester. The hope is to break ground in 2012.
- Union fans can expect summer friendlies against 2-3 high profile teams every year.
- Details about the friendly with Saprissa are still in the works.
- Plans are in the works for a Bimbo Cup to take place along the same lines as the Emirates Cup
- An announcement about who the All-Star Game opponent will be should be made in the next 60 days.
- The team is working with the league to enable season ticket holders to purchase All-Star Game tickets equal to the number they have on their season ticket plan. Options for purchasing tickets to the All-Star Game should be communicated to season ticket holders in the next 30-60 days.
- A preseason fan fantasy camp could be offered in the future in addition to the fan weekend in Orlando
- Discussions are underway to improve and increase investment in the Reserve League
- Stadium expansion is unlikely to happen before 2015.
- The club would like to help encourage further development of the area around PPL Park—possibly a hotel, a theater, retail shops, more office space.
- While events such as American football will continue to happen at PPL Park the club is committed to maintaining the integrity of the pitch for soccer.
- Live radio broadcasts of Union games likely to mostly be mid to end of season. 17 games to be broadcast on the radio.
- Information about a new hour-long radio show on WIP AM will be announced in the next two weeks. Show to air every Monday, 7-8pm, beginning on March 19 or 26.
- The State of the Union show on Comcast will include more player involvement. The club would like to hear feedback on how to improve the show.
- The Union will sign another home grown player very soon.
- The Union was first in the league in 2011 in percentage of stadium capacity filled and also the No. 1 retailer in the league.
We’ll be sure to share more details as we learn them. And if you attended the meeting, feel free to share your thoughts about what was discussed in the comment section below. By the way, here’s an account of the 2010 Bimbo Cup.
Peter Nowak says of the preseason move to Costa Rica, “It’s good to get out of the comfort zone and get somewhere you aren’t familiar with. Facing international competition is going to help us and help us get accustomed to different styles.”
He continues, “I think repetition is good, but at some point, the players need to make their own decision and figure out what is the best option in that situation. The game starts before the first whistle and they need to know before the game what the other team is playing, what system they’re playing and adjust to that and not only follow the playbook exact. We have to develop chemistry and an understanding on the field [of] what is needed in a certain situation.”
He adds, “I think we have a pretty good idea of what to expect in Costa Rica, and how to glue this together. When we come back, we’ll have another week of training, and make it more dynamic, more fluid, and start to plan the season. That’s the main point right now, playing those (scrimmages) and getting accustomed to the turf in Costa Rica. It will help us get ready for the Portland game.”
Recently signed Raymon Gaddis is naturally a right fullback, but he thinks he can slot in elsewhere on the backline. “I feel that I can play anywhere that the coaching staff wants me to play. I have a great knack for just taking offensive players out of the game. I’m a hard worker, and that translates to any position.”
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