Friday, January 16, 2015

Union will train in Clearwater

Chester – The Philadelphia Union will move its spring training operations to Clearwater, Fla., beginning in 2015. 

The Union will train at the Joe Dimaggio Sports Complex, located across the street from the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training site, Bright House Field.

“We are thrilled to be moving our spring training operations to the beautiful city of Clearwater,” said Philadelphia Union CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz. “For more than 60 years Clearwater has proven to be a world class host to the Philadelphia Phillies and we look forward to forging a long tradition and relationship with both parties. I want to thank Mayor Cretekos, the Clearwater City Council and the Administration for their support of our agreement as we now aspire to create that long term tradition in Clearwater as our friends at the Phillies have done over the last 60 plus years.”  

The Union will make two trips to Clearwater throughout the month of February, including a two-week stay at the end of the month from Feb. 16 – Feb. 28 to participate in the IMG Tournament in Bradenton, Fla.

“Clearwater has had a very strong connection with Philadelphia through the Phillies, and now its residents have another through the Philadelphia Union,” said George Cretekos, Mayor of Clearwater. “Clearwater begins its 100th anniversary of its incorporation as a city in 2015, and Philadelphia Union locating its spring training in Clearwater gives the city another reason to celebrate.  We welcome the Philadelphia Union and its fans because while baseball is the national pastime, soccer belongs to the world.  Clearwater looks forward to celebrating a MLS Championship with the team and Philadelphia.”

Philadelphia begins spring training in Clearwater on Feb. 2 as it prepares for a preseason match against North American Soccer League (NASL) start-up Jacksonville Armada FC at EverBank Field on Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. The Union will also square off against Tampa Bay Rowdies at the Joe Dimaggio Sports Complex on Feb. 10, before returning home on Feb. 12.

Clearwater is the site of spring training for the Phillies, who have trained in the city for 68 years. The Phillies have played spring training games at Bright House Field since its opening in 2004.

The Union and the Phillies have always shared feeling of ‘brotherly love’ with prior cross-promotions and staff, including Dave Rowan, former GM of the Clearwater Phillies and current Union Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Vice President.

"I have no doubt that I speak on behalf of the entire City of Clearwater when I say that we are thrilled to have another Philadelphia professional sports team call Clearwater its Spring Training home,” said Phillies Director of Florida Operations, John Timberlake.  "We are eager to welcome the Philadelphia Union to beautiful Clearwater, giving both visitors and residents the opportunity to experience the excitement of Philadelphia sports in sunny Florida." 

2015 Philadelphia Union Tentative Spring Training Schedule:
-          Jan. 23 – Jan. 30: Team begins training at YSC
-          Jan. 30: Open training day at YSC for fans
-          Feb. 2: Team departs for Clearwater, Fla.
-          Feb. 7: Match vs. Jacksonville Armada FC at EverBank Field (5 p.m.)
-          Feb. 10: Match vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies at Joe Dimaggio Sports Complex (6 p.m.)
-          Feb. 12: Team returns to Philadelphia
-          Feb. 16: Team departs for Clearwater, Fla.; IMG Tournament begins
-          Feb. 19: Chamber Breakfast
-          Feb. 20: Spring Training Fan Trip Welcome Reception
-          Feb. 21: Spring Training Fan Trip match in Bradenton, Fla.
-          Feb. 22: Spring Training Fan Trip open practice and BBQ
-          Feb. 28: Team returns to Philadelphia
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