Union groundbreaking on sleek sportsplex



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Philadelphia Union begin work on sport complex Image: Philadelphia Union

The Major League Soccer (MLS) team Philadelphia Union held a groundbreaking ceremony recently for its new world-class sports and recreation facility, WSFS Bank Sportsplex in Chester, Pennsylvania (US), to celebrate the start of construction.

‘Philadelphia Union’ stated that those in attendance included the Philadelphia Union majority owner Jay Sugarman, Philadelphia Union President Tim McDermott, WSFS Chairman, President and head honcho Rodger Levenson, and the Mayor of Chester, Thaddeus Kirkland, as well as players from the Philadelphia Union, Philadelphia Union II, Philadelphia Union Academy, and the Chester High School.

The Philadelphia Union are an American professional soccer club based in the Philadelphia metropolitan area (US). The Union compete in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member of the Eastern Conference. Founded on February 28th, 2008, the club began playing in 2010 as an expansion team.

The 18,500-capacity Subaru Park is a soccer-specific stadium located in Chester, Pennsylvania (US), located next to the Commodore Barry Bridge on the waterfront along the Delaware River. The venue is home to the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer (MLS).

The Philadelphia Union II is an American professional soccer team based in Chester, Pennsylvania (US) competing in MLS Next Pro (men’s professional soccer league in the United States and Canada that is affiliated with Major League Soccer). Founded in 2015 as the Bethlehem Steel FC, the team is the official affiliate of the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer.

The Philadelphia Union Academy encompasses not only the U12 to U17 age groups but also offers a professional pathway with Union II for players ready for the next step in their development.

The WSFS Financial Corporation is a financial services company. Its primary subsidiary, the WSFS Bank, a federal savings bank, is the largest and longest-standing locally managed bank and trust company headquartered in Delaware (US) and the Greater Delaware Valley.

Said McDermott, “We are excited to take this important step toward bringing the WSFS Bank Sportsplex, a state-of-the-art destination for our local community, youth sports and our teams to life. This project furthers our commitment to revitalizing the Chester waterfront and creating positive change. We look forward to soon seeing both Union players and community members playing on these fields and utilizing the new training grounds where we will grow the game together.”

Stated Levenson, “We are proud of the impact the WSFS Bank Sportsplex will have on Chester and the broader community. Our partnership with the Philadelphia Union is a great example of the positive change that two like-minded organizations with similar values can have by working together for the benefit of the communities we serve.”

‘Philadelphia Union’ further stated that first announced last Fall, the beginning of construction of the WSFS Bank Sportsplex is a significant step in the development and revitalization of the Chester Waterfront that will create additional jobs and drive a drastic increase in revenue in the Chester community. In addition, the project will bring the Philadelphia Union Academy and the YSC Academy to one campus alongside the first and second teams, furthering the commitment to youth development and the player-to-pro pathway.

As the naming rights partner, the WSFS Bank has also committed to donate 365 hours of field and facility usage to community organizations to continue efforts to strengthen community ties and provide a safe, welcoming and exceptional campus for community members to come to.

The state-of-the-art sports complex will span 32 acres between the Subaru Park and the Union Power Plant office building. The complex will include a 100,000 sq. ft. indoor facility that will be available for community use and an adjacent 70,000 sq. ft. support building that will house the Philadelphia Union II (MLS NEXT Pro) as well as the Philadelphia Union Academy. The indoor facilities will include a 125×75 yard turf field, two multisport courts, an 8,000 sq ft performance center, 5,000 sq ft of flex space for specialized athletic training, and a café for athletes and guests.

The indoor facility will be complemented by seven outdoor multisport fields including one championship grass field with spectator seating, two additional full-size grass fields, one youth-size grass field, and three full-size turf fields.

The build is estimated to create $90 million in economic impact over the first decade and provide 500,000 visits annually to the Chester Waterfront. In addition to the positive economic impact, the sportsplex will donate hundreds of additional hours in court and field time for community use and health and wellness programing, available to be used by the Chester youth and local organizations.

The school (YSC Academy) and the Philadelphia Union Academy will move to the Chester campus beginning in 2023. The outdoor fields are set to be in place by August 2023 and the indoor facilities to open May 2024.

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