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MLS set to award expansion franchise to city of Chester

MLS set to award expansion franchise to city of Chester

Major League Soccer is set to bring the sport back to Philadelphia, convinced the time and the struggling city of Chester are right for its 16th team.
The league is expected to award the area an expansion franchise that will start play in 2010 at a news conference in Chester on Thursday.
"Having grown up in the soccer community of Philadelphia, I know that there isn't a city more starved for the world's game," said Chris Albright of the New England Revolution and a member of the U.S. team.
Jon Conway, who grew up in nearby Aston and is now goalkeeper for the New York Red Bulls, agreed.
"The Philadelphia area has a great youth soccer movement that gets a lot of local support," Conway said in a statement from Austria, where the Red Bulls are holding preseason camp. "Now they will have a professional team that they can cheer for."
Even Philadelphia's soccer old-timers agree that the time for a local pro team has come.
"Philadelphia has a great soccer history and should be in that professional league, there is no doubt about that," said 80-year-old Philly native Walter Bahr, a member of the 1950 U.S. World Cup team that beat England.
Philadelphia's ethnic soccer clubs have a long, storied history, but the area has never sustained a professional club for more than a few seasons.
The Atoms won the North American Soccer League title in their inaugural season in 1973, but folded after four seasons of plunging attendance and win totals. The NASL's Fury arrived two years later, but relocated after three seasons of finding victories and fans tough to come by.
"Timing in life is everything, and I think the timing for Major League Soccer has come," said Nick Sakiewicz, a founding executive of MLS and a member of the new franchise ownership group. "Those leagues back then did a lot to seed the ground for Major League soccer being successful."
The new franchise will play in a planned 18,500-seat stadium on the Delaware River waterfront, part of a $414 million (euro275 million) redevelopment project for the long-downtrodden city of Chester. A slots casino opened in the city in January as part of a harness racing track.


Updated : 2021-06-13 09:48 GMT+08:00