2012 Harrisburg City Islanders

Discussion in 'United Soccer Leagues' started by ButlerBob, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That's what they said. I think it was the question of whether or not they'd be able to play there that was the issue. Perhaps that has been addressed to the satisfaction of all concerned.
     
  2. Hax

    Hax BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 1, 2000
    The above schedule is what I've been given access to, what I don't know is if it's the most current draft that will be issued today or whether it's the one from the meetings in December. If it's accurate, the City Islanders have a heck of a homestand from May 16 - June 15. Again, I don't know if it's the final version but it's what I received access to.
     
  3. Hax

    Hax BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 1, 2000
  4. buzz99

    buzz99 Member

    Mar 29, 2007
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    http://uslpro.uslsoccer.com/teams/2012/934394.html#SCHEDULE


    Word is that field seems playable but the larger concern was the associated facilities that, admittantly, were not that good to begin with. Perhaps the city will have the plumbing checked and the electric working by May home opener. Can't wait for the funnel cake and Mike's Hard whatever it is.

    Pray for a dry spring.
     
  5. Hax

    Hax BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 1, 2000
    A couple of thoughts on the schedule:

    * Back-to-back games at Charlotte and Wilmington to open the season? Tough way to kick things off.

    * Six-game homestand from May 16 - June 15 is nice.

    * Four games kick off at 6 pm, why the early start? All four conflict with Senators baseball games next door. It's not ideal to have 1/3 of your home schedule compete with their baseball brethren, Harrisburg isn't a big enough market to have both playing simultaneously. Still, it's nice that we soccer fans can arrive early and get the good parking spots!

    * No, I repeat zero, day games. This might be a good thing since the City Islanders drew only 921 fans against Orlando and 933 fans against Dayton in their two matinees in 2011.

    * Season-ending trip to LA is tough.

    * Three home games on Wednesdays which is unfortunate since weekdays are a tough sell for the City Islanders. What's even worse is that these games are against some very good teams, Orlando, Charleston, and Pittsburgh. It's a shame to waste those matchups on a weeknight.
     
  6. Hax

    Hax BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 1, 2000
    Which is probably why the City Islanders aren't hosting their home opener until May. Sure, it can rain in May, but I bet they're hoping a later start date will coincide with more stable weather.
     
  7. Hax

    Hax BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 1, 2000
    Music to my ears, from the City Islanders press release today:

    "It is the goal of the Islanders to meet with the Harrisburg City, Dauphin County, [and] State officials to work towards rebuilding the Skyline Sports Complex to a standard commensurate to the high level of the USL PRO for the 10th season in 2013."

    I still think it wouldn't take a ton of money to make Skyline much improved. The location is amazing, simply improving the drainage (or even adding field turf, even though grass is better) and replacing the bleachers would greatly improve things. Sure, who wouldn't want real locker rooms and restrooms, but start with the pitch and bleachers and go from there. Then gradually replace the press box and "food court." It is in the city's best interest to have a tenant there, and if the facility could be improved, it could host other things which would generate revenue.
     
  8. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    "But for 2012...well, sorry about that." :)
     
  9. Hax

    Hax BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 1, 2000
    True, but maybe it's part of their current lease/situation. Maybe the city and county said, "look, the stadium is in shambles and we're bankrupt, but stick with us one more year and we'll get improvements going for 2013." I'd be fine with that. After all, I usually prefer to sit on my lawnchair on the grass berm anyway! Why not do something like they're doing in Pittsburgh where they have a group of investors contributing to the construction of the stadium in exchange for exclusive naming and promotional rights?

    From the Riverhounds press release: "The stadium is a privately funded project by local investors. In addition to the generosity of Highmark and West Penn Allegheny Health System, who will receive naming rights of the stadium, companies such as Trib Total Media, a local news and media company, and #1 Cochran, an automobile dealer, have made tremendous contributions to the project and will each be one of the select few companies whose names will embellish the stadium through sponsorship promotions."
    http://www.uslsoccer.com/home/589759.html

    This could work in Harrisburg, no? Paging Highmark, Bimbo, Snickers, etc.
     
  10. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm going to guess a tremendous amount of work went into the Riverhounds finding and convincing those investors and that it didn't just start last week.

    I'm also going to guess the City Islanders would love to have a similar situation. But just because Pittsburgh can do it doesn't mean it'll take the same amount of time to get it done in Harrisburg, a much smaller city with a smaller corporate base and smaller number of potential big-money investors.
     
  11. Hax

    Hax BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 1, 2000
    I agree completely, although I don't think the City Islanders need as flashy a stadium as Pittsburgh is building. They don't need suites or anything like that, they need better bleachers and permanent restrooms/lockers. They already have the footprint, pitch, parking, lights, etc. Construct enclosed aluminum bleachers like they have at Jeffrey Field (Penn State), maybe have seatbacks for the premium seats, and build things in phases (i.e. when funding is there). Have corporations sponsor each phase, so you have the "Capital Blue Cross Party Deck" or "Bimbo West Stand" (I'm using those examples because they currently sponsor the City Islanders). Again, it doesn't need to be expensive or super-fancy, just something safer and more sturdy than what's in place now. If Pittsburgh's new stadium is "only" $7.5 million, Harrisburg should be able to piece one together for much, much less considering what's already in place.
     
  12. Orlando Rays

    Orlando Rays We're not gonna let the elevator break us down
    Staff Member

    Nov 5, 2007
    Orlando
    Club:
    Orlando City SC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Paging the Philadelphia Union. Time to cash in a favor.
     
  13. Hax

    Hax BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 1, 2000
    Sorry to self-promote, but here's a column I put together about the City Islanders schedule. I think the schedule isn't a particularly good one for the City Islanders, they have 3 games on Wednesday nights which is a tough sell, plus four home dates conflict with the Senators baseball team next door. Considering that attendance has declined the past two seasons, it's a shame that more couldn't be done to create a better schedule.

    http://thesportsburger.com/2012/01/...ng-down-the-city-islanders-2012-schedule.aspx
     
  14. Hax

    Hax BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 1, 2000
    Did anyone else read Soccernomics? That's probably a dumb question on these boards, but can Soccernomics help explain the City Islanders' success? It seems like Kuper and Szymanski stress the importance of a rational, common sense approach to team building, something that too many USL teams neglect. However Bill Becher and Company follow many of the rules set forth in Soccernomics that will ensure a team is successful by not blowing their budget on player acquisitions. Do fans of other successful USL teams find this model works for them too?

    http://thesportsburger.com/2012/01/...mics-explains-the-city-islanders-success.aspx
     
  15. ButlerBob

    ButlerBob Moderator
    Staff Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    Evanston, IL
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    They do a great job of staying in their budget. They do a great job of identifying players and bringing them in. This includes loans from not only the Union but some other MLS clubs. They run a really tight ship and there isn't any fat in that org. The front office is usually 2 - 3 people. They have also done a great job of setting up a pretty good youth structure.

    To me they have draw pretty well considering they are a bare boned org. But more importantly they survive and inspite of their budget / staff size they consistenly win. Heck they went the final last year and upset teams that have probably double or triple their budgets.
     
  16. Hax

    Hax BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 1, 2000
    Breaking news: I just interviewed Brian Ackley for the Sports Burger (expect the interview to be posted tomorrow) and he signed with the Carolina Railhawks of the NASL. It's a shame he couldn't be retained but he's from Carolina and is excited to be returning home. Best of luck, Brian, and thanks for everything!
     
  17. Hax

    Hax BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 1, 2000
    As the roster is assembled for the 2012 season, It seems like the club might experience a drastic overhaul. Many of last year's club are looking elsewhere for employment. Some are leaving the game while others are pursuing greener pastures. Here is what I've been able to gather so far.

    Brian Ackley - signed with Carolina (NASL)
    Jose Angulo - trial with NY Red Bulls (MLS)
    Stephen Basso - pursuing opportunities in Scandinavia, but training with HCI
    Vincenzo Bernardo - attending the NASL combine
    Dustin Bixler - recovering from knee injury
    Geoff Bloes - uncertain, pursuing other work opportunities
    Anthony Calvano - not returning, pursuing other opportunities, might play for Pittsburgh
    Chase Harrison - released by Philadelphia Union (MLS), free agent
    Morgan Langley - released by Philadelphia Union (MLS), free agent
    Andrew Marshall - returning to City Island
    David Schofield - retired
    Jerrit Thayer - same as Bloes, might leave soccer for other career chances
    Sainey Touray - trialed with DC United (MLS), not retained
    Andrew Welker - recovering from knee surgery, rehabbing at Seton Hall Univ.

    Does anyone else have any other news that I missed?
     
  18. buzz99

    buzz99 Member

    Mar 29, 2007
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Marshall (Norfolk - nursing injury according to Sharx website), Becerra (Rochester) and Noone (Baltimore) all playing MISL indoor. Season goes to first week of March plus playoffs.

    I'm guessing Noone will return to HCI as will Pelletier. I'm also guessing Basso will return and possibly Tuttle.
     
  19. Zman Gunner

    Zman Gunner BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 7, 2003
    Middletown, DE
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Chase Harrison is trialing with the Union since the team is looking for a back-up to Zac MacMath now that he is the starter and Faryd Mondragon returned to Colombia. Harrison and MacMath are the only goalies in camp as of now.
     
  20. SoccerPrime

    SoccerPrime Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 14, 2003
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I noticed on his website that Vincenzo Bernardo said he had signed with a new sports agent and, like Hax said, heading to the NASL combine next week.

    Does this mean if he doesn't make it there, he is coming back to HCI?

    Remember when Bernardo was a Philly Union potential darling?
     
  21. SoccerPrime

    SoccerPrime Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 14, 2003
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I noticed on his website that Vincenzo Bernardo said he had signed with a new sports agent and, like Hax said, heading to the NASL combine next week.

    Does this mean if he doesn't make it there, he is coming back to HCI?

    Remember when Bernardo was a Philly Union potential darling?
     
  22. Hax

    Hax BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 1, 2000
  23. Hax

    Hax BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 1, 2000
    This excerpt from the team's email to season ticket holders caught my attention:

    "We are entering into our ninth season as a team in the USL Pro and we have had a great deal of success on and off the field. We are pleased to have many of our sponsors returning from 2011. We thank Snickers, Capital BlueCross, Arlington, and Bimbo Bakeries to name a few. As we move into 2012, we are working extremely hard to update our facility to league standards. We have begun talks with a few groups about renovating or rebuilding Skyline Sports Complex to bring our fans a true soccer experience. Are [sic.] hopes are to bring this to the fans in the 2013 season."

    Talks with groups about renovating/rebuilding Skyline, eh? So they're not just seeking funds from the city or county (both of which are largely bankrupt)? Perhaps Pittsburgh is providing the model, find corporate sponsors to help finance the stadium in return for naming rights/advertising. As I stated before, Pittsburgh's new stadium is being built relatively cheaply by stadium standards at $7 million. Harrisburg doesn't need something as elaborate as they're building there, for example the Pittsburgh stadium will have suites, something City Island might not need. All Harrisburg really needs is one good stand (because there's the grass berm opposite it) and permanent restrooms/lockers. Other amenities like permanent food facilities and a better pressbox would be great, but I think a new stand and restrooms can be built very cheaply if the team can find the funds. That alone would make a huge difference for the fan experience, and most importantly, safety. Those rickety bleachers are a lawsuit waiting to happen.
     
  24. Orlando Rays

    Orlando Rays We're not gonna let the elevator break us down
    Staff Member

    Nov 5, 2007
    Orlando
    Club:
    Orlando City SC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Pittsburgh is probably exactly what they're looking at. If they could get something simple but elegant like that, it would be a big improvement.
     

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