MLS Philly: The Press Conference! Sons of Ben Video!

A good 1-2k showed up for the festivities at Turbine Hall, the whole investors’ group was readily accessible, and a couple things were said that wasn’t covered fully in the MLS Press Release.

Continue below – first though, here is the video of Nick Sackiewicz addressing Sons of Ben at Dark Horse Tavern on Tuesday night. Yours truly sits right at 0:38 with the glasses and striped blue shirt [without the scarf]. Handsome devil I am. Enjoy. Particularly the moment where Sons of Ben gives Sackiewicz his first round of Philadelphia boos.

Read on below for press conference tidbits:

– The head of the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association will head up the Youth Development program for MLS Philly.

– There are thoughts, post 2010, to bring a women’s team to the area.

– Sons of Ben president Bryan James was interviewed, called up on stage, and asked to speak. Each speaker mentioned the Sons of Ben, a true testament to all that they’ve done.

– Seattle has sold over 12,000 season tickets now. That’s ridiculous.

– Nick Sakiewicz has called this the “fan’s team”, which leads me to believe that the colors will remain light blue and yellow (a la Philadelphia flag) with probably black or white foundations.

– The fan’s will vote for the MLS Philadelphia name.

– US Soccer legend Walter Bahr was on hand and received a couple shoutouts.

– For those that haven’t been to the site, it will be gorgeous once everything is up and running. Once I figure out how to extract photos from my stupid cell phone, I’ll get them up on the site.

– CEO Jay Sugarman looks like a cross between Jim Carrey, and someone else, anyone know who that other person is? Both Mayor Nutter and Governor Rendell were on hand.

The archived video of the press conference should be up very shortly on MLSNet.

MLS Seattle sparks talk of MLS Philly

Funding Progressing Slowly                    MLS Narrows the Field

Couple things we find out from these articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Should know by the end of the year whether or not the stadium will in fact be built. In turn, we will know if MLS Philly will go through.

MLS Philly will most likely play in a temporary venue (like my second home of Franklin Field) until the completion of the stadium in 2010.

Main concerns slowing up the process: Does this negatively impact the taxpayers? Where is the real benefit to Chester’s residents – “Chester needs supermarkets, rec centers, and schools before it needs a stadium”

Chance that Philly will be announced tomorrow as the next franchise in Don Garber’s Annual State of the League Address? – Slim to none.

Good news? – The Senate Appropriations Committee authorized spending $45 million on the Chester Waterfront stadium and other developments.

Catch? – That doesn’t mean it WILL be spent for that, but it’s a step closer.

It all comes down to the state of Pennsylvania and whether they share the passion that Governor Ed Rendell, former Chester mayor Domenic Pileggi, the Sons of Ben, and the who MLS Philly investor group share. Call it FC Delco for all is care, just please give our Philadelphians our team.

Expansion Galore: MLS Philly

MLS Philly has taken another a big step.

Delaware County – home of Chester, PA – has agreed to earmark $30 million dollars for a Chester Waterfront soccer-specific stadium. The funds are coming from slot revenues at Delaware County casinos. According the article, with all this put in place Jay Sugarman and crew can now present a final proposal to MLS league officials. The total cost of the project – including the commercial and residential development surrounding the new area – will exceed $300 million but nothing goes through without the firm support of the state. Ed Rendell has championed the cause and will continue to do so which could make the sell a little bit easier.

Many still think it is Seattle first, then Saint Louis – but this development puts Philly on par in terms of progress with Saint Louis Soccer United. Either way, Philly should be ready to go by 2010 at the absolute latest. Full details of the county agreement will be released this coming Monday.

Sons of Ben are continuing to gauge season ticket interest and find their way into these articles. Support like that is key and I can’t wait to see all of it come into fruition.

Expansion: Cities, Odds, Dead Ends?

With so many people already commenting on this, I feel a little silly linking to the Las Vegas Sun article clocking the race to be one of the next two – or is it four? – cities Major League Soccer (MLS) will welcome into the league by 2010…or is it 2012? But there’s one item in the article I don’t think anyone else flagged, so I thought I’d do it here as a public service of sorts:

Even though we post odds purely for entertainment reasons, heed them. Pay close attention to the four with the lowest odds and you might have the next four MLS franchises.”

And those top four are: Seattle, Washington (3-2); St. Louis, Missouri (4-1); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (6-1); and New York, Mark II (8-1).

Normally, if you see a 3-2 anywhere other than horse racing, you consider it a sure shot (in horse racing you 1) know the bookmakers just doomed the horse attached to those odds for this year’s Kentucky Derby, and, 2) you avoid that horse like the plague ’cause it won’t pay for shit). Roughly the same applies on a 4-1. All the same, I find the order of the odds interesting given my sense that both Philly and St. Louis got out ahead of Seattle in terms of having firm stadium plans. Then again, in the particular section discussing Seattle, there’s this line:

MLS has repeatedly tried, and failed, to court Seahawks owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Look for that courtship to succeed this fall.”

(There’s actually a little touch of irony in that entry: every other “background” section of the individual city breakdowns talks about the given city’s soccer history…not Seattle’s…hmmm….)

This gets me wondering whether we’ll wind up in what I view as a kind of dodgy situation, one that grows in part from desperation to get an MLS presence in the Pacific Northwest: e.g. will a Seattle MLS team start in at Qwest Field, home to the Seattle Seahawks? This makes me skittish because I know a little about how Northwest people can be about taxes and, with Seattle especially, funding stadiums – assuming it comes to the latter. If memory serves (and that’s all I’m willing to go by right now), Seattle residents got burned pretty badly with cost overruns on Safeco Field; the same could apply to Qwest. If, as seems possible, a Seattle expansion team gets stuck playing in some capacious bowl of a stadium with fans dotting the inside like so many freckles, well…that’ll kinda suck.

I’ll still show up, mind you. But I’m a total whore.

But, as the Las Vegas Sun article says in its lead, it seems almost churlish to point this out. These are, indeed, heady times for MLS.