Saturday, March 19, 2011

Union reserves to play 10 games under Burke

The Philadelphia Union will play 10 regional Reserve League games as part of the East division, Major League Soccer announced today.

Re-launching this year, the MLS Reserve League is made possible by the growth of first team rosters from 24 in 2010 to 30 players in 2011. Guiding the first ever Union Reserve squad will be Reading United A.C. Head Coach and former Boston College standout Brendan Burke.

The most successful coach in Reading’s 15-year history, Burke has compiled a 26-7-4 overall record and led the squad to their first ever PDL regular season title since taking over the reins in 2008.  In his first season, he took a team that had not won anything since 1997 to the 2008 Mid Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference Regular Season Title.  In 2009, the club qualified for the U.S. Open Cup, a feat that had not been accomplished since 2003.

Last season, Burke was nominated as a finalist for the PDL Coach of the Year.  A former standout at Boston College, Burke has played with the Sligo Rovers (Irish Premier League), Cape Cod Crusaders (USL), the Worchester Kings and captained the 2007 Reading Rage before taking over as head coach the following season.

The new MLS Reserve League will be split into East, Central, and West divisions with teams facing each divisional opponent twice for a total of 10 games per team. Clubs may schedule additional games for their reserve squads against non-MLS opponents. Reserve Division games begin March 20 and conclude on October 16. The Union kick off their Reserve League schedule on April 10 when they host the NY Red Bulls.

All home Union Reserve League matches will be held at either the Bob Urban Field of Dreams at Houston Park or Chester Park in Wallingford, Pa.  Specific locations will be available at a later date.

MLS clubs previously fielded reserve sides from 2005 through 2008, benefiting players such as 2010 Budweiser Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski (San Jose), Omar Cummings, Jeff Larentowicz and Kosuke Kimura of the defending MLS Cup Champion Colorado Rapids and many others.

The full Philadelphia Union Reserve League schedule is below.

Date                Opponent                   Location                                 Time
4/10/11            NY Red Bulls             Union Practice Fields              10:00 AM
5/16/11            D.C. United                Union Practice Fields              4:00 PM
5/29/11            at Toronto FC             TBD                                        10:00 AM
7/3/11              at D.C. United            D.C. United Training Field     10:00 AM
7/18/11            at NE Revolution        Gillette Stadium/TBD             10:00 AM
8/15/11            at NY Red Bulls         TBD                                        3:00 PM
8/21/11            at Columbus Crew      Columbus Crew Stadium        10:00 AM
8/29/11            NE Revolution            Union Practice Fields              10:00 AM
9/18/11            Columbus Crew          Union Practice Fields              10:00 AM
10/16/11          Toronto FC                 Union Practice Fields              10:00 AM

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