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Discussion in 'Philadelphia Union' started by OutlawJW, Jan 27, 2012.
Anything about the potential waterfront train station?
I like that they are giving MLS a bit more control and I wish FIFA would allow us to 'experiment' with 2 refs as I think soccer in general could benefit from this. Any ref/ump in any sport is always in a tough spot with the fans as we never like them but I think hockey has benefited from two refs and soccer would benefit from a second person to be in control of the action. Each could control a half of the field with the other following up behind the action to watch what the other can't. They already wear communication headsets so they would be able to communicate what they saw if a card may be warranted. Granted getting a second ref has drawbacks as we already have some refs that are suspect in their ability and we might get less capable refs at the start.
Here is my recap from last night's Town Hall meeting with Nick Sakiewicz, Dave Rowan and Bob Rigby:
* Allocation $
This topic was the surprise of the night in terms of what NS disclosed. Philly easily has the most allocation $ in MLS. Currently sitting on a low 7 figure amount (likely $1.0M - $1.1M) based on the fact that NS's comment that they could increase to $1.2M this season - NS said that Nowak joked that they should explore with MLS about being an allocation banker and loaning allocation $ to other teams and getting interest on them. In terms of how Philly has used allocation $, NS said that they did not use much in 2010, used a little more in 2011 and used a lot in 2012 - more than any other MLS team. 11 teams have little to no allocation $. I vaguely recall him saying that the next highest $ teams were in the lower 6 figure range - it seems a bit off that Montreal has blown that much of its initial allocation $ to be in that range but perhaps their deals for Ricketts, Arnaud, Rivas, Braun, Bernier, Wahl, etc. cost more than assumed. In terms of Philly being in such a $-rich position, there are probably a few things at work -  they may have received more $ than Seattle did in terms of initial expansion allocation $ as Seattle got a reported $1.3M,  in deals in which Philly received allocation $, they likely got more than was assumed,  in deals in which allocation $ were used, Philly may not have used as much as was assumed and  allocation $ may not have been used as much as assumed for players whose contracts exceeded DP limits such as Mondragon and Adu - the way that MLS views $ for salary cap purposes is typically something between salary and guaranteed salary - especially in Adu's case, Philly must not have been on the salary budget hook for his guaranteed comp but perhaps just his salary which still requires some buydown via allocation to get below DP $ and the team avoids the out-of-pocket $ required for a DP. As I was leaving PPL, I was chatting with DR about the Le Toux situation. While the fans assumed a move to Bolton would be a win-win for everyone given the step-up in league and $ for Le Toux and the large transfer fee for Philly, I said that a move within MLS is harder for fans to process given that it is a lateral move league-wise for Le Toux and fans do not know the $ difference between a Harvey to Vancouver for allocation $ trade and a Le Toux trade to Vancouver for allocation $ trade. I said that if Le Toux’s deal was $100K (which is the reported amount for Harvey) that fans should not be too happy – if Philly got $200K - $300K for Le Toux, then it would be more reasonable. DR said that my $200K - $300K estimate was very reasonable and right in the ball park as to what they got.
Christian Hernandez will be signed very soon per NS. The concept and mere title of a designated player goes against PN and NS’s belief – do not want one player in the locker room making substantially more than the rest of them. When discussing the team, NS referred to the 28 players who make up the Union – tells me that Hernandez and Konopka likely make the team to bring the total to 28 (based on current assumptions – it would mean 19 salary budget players and 9 off-budget players – have to think that they might bump a player to the salary budget roster to get $70K for leaving 2 off-budget roster spots open as opposed to just the $35K they get for leaving 1 such spot open). In typical Philly 3rd string goalie tradition, I would expect that Konopka (if signed) gets waived in the summer like Perk and Holder did in previous seasons. By that time, the reserve game schedule will be largely completed and any USOC games will not likely be played by reserves – team could use the roster spot for whatever Saprissa player who they want to add.
BR gave a long speech on the 2010 vs. 2011 team comparison – position by position – while he gave both players praise; he noted Mondragon’s diminishing physical tools as well as Le Toux’s scoring drought. He noted that the team locks deeper and better on paper this season – gave high praise to the new starters or ones very much in the mix (MacMath, Lopez, Gomez, Pajoy, Martinez).
The most interesting takeaway here was Philly’s ability to almost have first dibs on Saprissa players. While the skills are there for the younger Saprissa players, Philly gives them a chance to play on a bigger stage which they could ultimately leverage into overseas deals. Philly can also offer more scientific training and related resources (i.e. fitness) to enhance their physical skills. NS mentioned that they first approached Saprissa about striker Joel Campbell but Arsenal swooped in and got him. Martinez was next on Philly’s list and they got him. To avoid another Campbell incident, Philly worked out this first dibs relationship. I surmise that Saprissa gets some cut of future transfer fees if the Union transfers an ex-Saprissa player overseas. They are still working on a date for the Union – Saprissa match. Union fans may want to start getting familiar with some of the younger Saprissa players – have to think that we will see a few of them join the Union in the next few seasons.
* Reserve League
NS on the committee to enhance the league and perhaps make it look more like the MLS 2nd Division – looking to add more games (could see 20 games as early as next season). The team as well as MLS would like to get away from playing these games at remote locations with a handful of fans and get to a more conducive environment (i.e. stadiums holding 1000 – 2000 or sometimes even at a place like PPL, playing at night so more fans can attend, etc.).
* All Star Game
Opponent and ticket info expected to be made public within 30 days. It is expected that Philly STH will get the opportunity to buy the number of tickets for which they have season tickets (although the locations may be different) as well as a chance to buy some more.
* Radio Show
WIP AM show to be held on Mondays from 7:00 – 8:00 pm – starting on March 19 or 26 and running through the end of the year. Discussion will include Union, MLS and international team discussions. Shows will be held on location not in the studio – likely at the same venue for 3-4 weeks and then moving to the next location. Team would plan to have a coach or player there whenever possible – also planning to do the same thing with the State of the Union TV show.
* Bimbo Sponsorship
Bimbo execs are thanking (let alone paying) the Union for being able to put their logo on the jerseys – they likely had a hand in the Union – Saprissa partnership. Teams (Monterrey, Chivas, Saprissa) are working on a Bimbo Cup but trying to determine which site(s) to use – Orlando, Philly, Mexico, etc.
The team invests $1m per year for its free academy set-up where players can play for their respective club teams yet get together as part of an “all-star” team for Union purposes. Last season’s U16 team is supposed to be one of the best in the country – Jim Curtin will be coaching them.
Union led MLS in merchandise revenue last year as well as stadium capacity usage (tickets sold/stadium capacity). Union finished in top 3 in almost all of the MLS metrics in this area.
* Foreign Team Visits
PN and NS spent a lot of time in the off-season going to soccer teams’ facilities throughout the world to observe team training, club operations, etc. for best practices that they can implement here given the resource constraints.
* PPL Park
Plan to build outdoor practice facility (1 turf field, 1 grass field) and a building containing an indoor field and training facility as well as offices for all of the Union staff – hope to break ground later this year. Facilities would be for 1st team and reserve team – academy players would still train at YSC. Stadium expansion would start at 2015 at the earliest – likely putting upper decks on both corners near the Stadium Club. The team does not plan to put electronic scoreboard (current one cost $2.5M) on the top of the River End but is investigating the feasibility of putting smaller scoreboards in the corners there – do not want the view of the bridge blocked. There are longer-run plans to build a hotel and a 2000-3000 seat music concert hall near the stadium.
Excellent recap!! For those of us that couldn't be there, your post is awesome, and very detailed. Thank you!
It's nice to see how candid and open the FO actually is, as opposed to some of the conspiracy theories floating around the social networks.
The Joel Campbell mention is an extremely positive nugget of information. That really shows just how lucky we are to have DG on our Technical Staff, and the eye for Talent that he and the rest of the staff have.
My bearings are a little off, but any idea of where the training facility will be built? I'm having a difficult time visualizing where it could be built in relation to the property where the stadium is.
I really like how he took a few digs at RBNY (his former employer) for how they build a roster and throw their money at players and hope it sticks. I still don't understand how some of their fans are bitter towards him when it was largely his hard work that paved the way for the Bedpan to be built.
It is my understanding that the facility would be just south of the office building that they team currently occupies there on Seaport Drive.
And don't forget grocery stores, too.
I wonder how the Saprissa and/or Bimbo Cup things would/could continue if/when the team's sponsorship by Bimbo ends.
Give it up for ZMan!!!
I would assume that means that area they are currently calling the bus and limo lot past lot C (ie, if you are leaving the stadium on seaport southbound, instead of taking a right to get back to 291, take a left)
Yes - it would be located on Highland Avenue near the river.
On another note, here is the current Saprissa roster - would not be shocked to see one of these players on the Union in the next year.
I had similar thoughts but with the mention that we led in merchandise sales last year even with the dreaded Bimbo they may re-up at some point. I personally liked the Bimbo signing as I knew they sponsored a few teams (though I didn't know how many) and thought they would bring a better global recognition (at least Latin American). The added bonus is that the relationship is adding benefits beyond as I am sure they had a big hand in the Saprissa workings. I wonder if MLS will try to intervene as it seems like the Union now have a pipeline that no other MLS franchise has.
The only thing that could feasible happen is a Trolly along 291. A spur off of the main SEPTA won't happen since there is no where to put the track. The existing tracks along the river are industrial tracks that are still in use. So you could see a trolly type line that starts at Eddystone and ends somewhere down near PPL Park. I wouldn't expect anything like that unless development does pick up down there.
Is the Union-Saprissa partnership appreciably different than, say, the agreement between San Jose and Tottenham? The Quakes are getting a Tottenham player on loan this year. There may be others out there as well (Colorado-Arsenal? Chicago-Atletico Madrid?)
Thanks for the correction, I knew I meant to add a line to say 'that I know of' but my keyboard doesn't always transfer what is on my mind.....
With those agreements does it allow the MLS team first shot at acquiring a player like the Union have or is it just an agreement to loan players out? If I guessed the mentions you made are where the MLS team is the lesser of the two clubs where the Union appear to be the higher club, kind of like we use Saprissa as a Minor League club (maybe we loan some players out to them at some point if we need to offload salary cap? but 'Bimbo' still pays the salary?)
The Saprissa info sounds to me like the most fascination piece of info. They are a really big and talented club in our region -- they've routinely been competitive with top Mexican clubs in the CCC/CCL and often have a lot of Costa Rican national team players on their roster (and the Costa Rica NT is a good squad). Getting a pipeline from them is a pretty big deal IMHO.
I guess if we still have the extra international slot open come mid-season, we'll quite possibly pick up a player from Saprissa.
I'd think MLS would need to give its blessing for this kind of partnership.
Mark Evans did say as he was wrapping up the program that season tix packages will start going out this week. Also in a follow up email from fan services info should be comIng out early this week for the meet the team event