Tag Archive for: Philadelphia Union

Dougherty Howard Begins Pre-Season…. Big Cliff Spreading the Word About Cancer Screening…. Curtin Preparing for 2024 MLS Season

Meggie Dougherty Howard Begins Pre-Season Training with Angel City FC

Midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard, who recently joined Angel City FC, has begun preparations for the 2024 NWSL season.  

Dougherty Howard and Angel City FC kicked-off their NWSL preseason last week at their home training ground in Thousand Oaks, CA. Angel City FC will continue their preparations in California with a series of preseason friendly matches and training sessions over the next few weeks. Angle City’s 2024 NWSL opener is set for March 16th at home against Bay FC.  

Dougherty Howard, a NWSL Shield winner last year with San Diego Wave FC, hopes to bring her winning mentality and veteran leadership to her new club Angel City FC as it looks to build off of a strong 2023 campaign.  


Big Cliff Helps Spread the Word About Cancer Screening

Cliffor Omoruyi used his Big Ten and Rutgers’ platforms to help Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and the American Cancer Society raise awareness about the importance of cancer screenings.

In four social media posts, Cliff talked about the importance of screenings during the NCAA’s “Suits & Sneakers” weekend games. In one post, Cliff put on his own suit and sneaks, saying “It’s not just the coaches who can wear suits and sneakers to spread the word.”

“We’re thrilled that Cliff is joining Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and the American Cancer Society to share the importance of cancer prevention, early detection and cancer screening,” said Dr. Eric Berman, Associate Chief Medical Officer for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. “He has helped many important causes, like the Salvation Army’s programs in Newark, and we are glad he is part of our team. It makes sense that one of the nation’s top defenders is helping defeat cancer.”


Jim Curtin and the Philadelphia Union Continue Preparations for the 2024 MLS Season

Jim Curtin and the Philadelphia Union recently wrapped up their first phase of preseason training in Clearwater, FL with a 3-1 victory over New York City FC (MLS) in a preseason friendly.  

“The first phase of preseason has gone very well,” said Curtin, “we had three really high-level games against CR Flamengo (Brazil), Austin FC (MLS), and now NYCFC (MLS). The group continued to get better through each of our three matches and were able to build up a lot of fitness and confidence going into the next phase of pre-season.”  

After a week back in Philadelphia, the Union will return to Clearwater, FL on February 5th to wrap-up the second phase of preseason with matches scheduled against FC Cincinnati on Feb. 9th and culminating with a match against New England Revolution on Feb.14th.  

Coming off a strong 2023 campaign the Union again qualified for the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup (CCC), a tournament that includes the top 27 teams in North and Central America. Philadelphia will kick-off its 2024 season and the CCC competition with an away game against Deportivo Saprissa, in Costa Rica on February, 20th at 10:00 PM EST. MLS action for the Union will begin on February 24th at their home at Subaru Park against the Chicago Fire FC with kick-off set for 7:30 PM EST.  



Curtin & Union Clinch MLS Playoffs…Omoruyi & Rutgers Basketball Outlook…Okert Ready for MLB Postseason…Dougherty-Howard Playoff Bound

Jim Curtin and the Philadelphia Union Clinch Sixth Consecutive Audi MLS Cup Playoff Appearance + Curtin Featured in Fashion Editorial Hypebeast

Jim Curtin and the Philadelphia Union recently clinched their sixth consecutive trip to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs and further solidified their status as one of the best clubs in Major League Soccer. Runners up in the 2022 MLS Cup, Curtin and the Union are looking to bring home their first MLS Cup in 2023. 

Additionally, if you love sneakers, fashion, and streetwear, check out Jim’s recent feature in Hypebeast, a popular daily fashion editorial with tens of millions of followers. Jim discusses his love for the Air Jordan 1 shoe model and how he connects with his players through sneakers and fashion. 


Cliff Omoruyi’s Outlook on the Rutgers Men’s Basketball Season

Cliff Omoruyi, an All-Big Ten Team selection in 2022-23, and his Rutgers teammates kick off the 2023-2024 NCAA Basketball Season on November 6th, for an in-state battle with Ivy League Powerhouse Princeton. Omoruyi, who was recently featured in an nj.com article this past week, shared some insight into why Rutgers Basketball fans should be itching for November 6th to roll around.

“This team is going to be different,” Omoruyi explained and also added, “We’ve got a lot of guys who can attack one-on-one now, who can kick out for the three. We’ve got a lot of guys who can do that.”  

Catch Rutgers and Cliff, a recent addition to the National Collegiate Honor Society, all season long as they look to bring a Big Ten title back to New Jersey!  



Steven Okert and the Miami Marlins Clinch a Spot in the 2023 MLB Playoffs

For the fourth time in franchise history, Steven Okert and the Miami Marlins are headed to the MLB playoffs. The Marlins clinched a playoff spot with a 7-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates last Saturday and will now shift their focus to making a deep run into October. Okert appeared in 64 games out of the bullpen for Miami this season, posting a 4.45 ERA.  

Catch the Marlins this week as they take on last year’s NL Champion Philadelphia Phillies in a 3 game Wild Card series and try to deliver a championship to Miami! 


Meggie Dougherty-Howard and the San Diego Wave FC Clinch a Spot in the 2023 NWSL Post Season

Meggie Dougherty-Howard and San Diego Wave FC have clinched a spot in the 2023 NWSL post season. The NWSL playoffs are scheduled to kick-off on October 22nd. 

San Diego Wave FC will look to finish the season strong, with two regular season games remaining. They travel to North Carolina to face off against the North Carolina Courage on October 7th, before returning home to finish out the regular season against Racing Louisville FC on October 15th.  

Dougherty-Howard, a key contributor to the Waves’ success looks to bring San Diego Wave FC their first NWSL Championship in franchise history.  


Jim Curtin Extended; Okert and Thaiss Shine; Cliff and Rutgers visit Senegal; Stitz makes MLS Debut

Philadelphia Union extends Coach Curtin through the 2026 season

Philadelphia Union announced Tuesday (July 11th) that the club has signed Head Coach Jim Curtin, two-time MLS Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year, to a multi-year contract extension that it guaranteed through 2026. Currently in his 10th season as head coach, he is the second longest tenured coach in the MLS and also holds the second most regular season wins with a single team at 127. 

“Jim is one of the top coaches in the league and we’re thrilled to have come to an agreement to extend his leadership with Union,” said Jay Sugarman, Principal Owner of the Philadelphia Union. He added that Curtin’s leadership is critical to the team’s success and he looks forward to watching his players and the team continue to hit new milestones under his direction. 

Jim recently finished the 2022 campaign setting numerous records with the club, including most wins (19), most goals scored (72), fewest goals conceded (26), and greatest goal differential (46). 


Steven Okert and Matt Thaiss shine during the first half of the season

Steven Okert is having a breakout season for the Miami Marlins. During the first half of the season, he has posted a career best 2.53 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and has allowed only 9 earned runs in 32 innings pitched. With already 3 wins under his belt, Okert is on pace to beat last year’s total by a wide margin.

Thrust into his first starting role after five seasons in MLB, Matt Thaiss has been a key component to the Los Angeles Angels lineup. Posting a batting average of .256, Matt also has 43 hits, 22 RBI’s and 24 runs scored.  

Both the Marlins and Angels resume play Friday as the second half of the baseball season gets underway. 


Cliff Omoruyi and Rutgers Travel to Senegal and Portugal

Last Starting on Tuesday, August 8th, Cliff Omoruyi and his Rutgers basketball teammates will go on an international tour to Senegal and Portugal. The tour, which concludes on August 19th will have Rutgers face off against local and national basketball clubs at each location.

“This foreign tour will give our team the opportunity to prepare for the challenge of the upcoming season against great international competition, as well as proving an unbelievable cultural experience of three great cities,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. 

For Cliff and other F-1 Visa athletes on the team, it will also provide an opportunity for the players to earn NIL compensation as Ambassadors for brands. United States law allows U.S. college athletes to earn NIL compensation at any time, but athletes attending U.S. colleges on F-1 visas must be “off-shore” to have the same opportunity. To understand more about this issue, please click here.





Ben Stitz makes MLS debut against NY Red Bulls



Rookie Ben Stitz, who was recently called up to FC Cincinnati’s first team on a short-term loan, made his MLS debut against the NY Red Bulls on Wednesday night. Ben’s first MLS action came as a substitute in the 73rd minute with FC Cincinnati trailing 1-0. The offensive substitutions changed the momentum of the game and FC Cincinnati was able to come back for an important 2-1 road victory, taking all 3 points back to Cincinnati. FC Cincinnati is in action again this Saturday evening at home against Nashville SC, a battle of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.



Ben Stitz Interview, Cavan Sullivan Called Up to U-15 camp, Quinn Sullivan reports to Union & U-20 training, Cliff Omoruyi & Rutgers upset #1 Purdue

Quinn Sullivan, Union Win Eastern Conference Championship, Cliff Omoruyi & 16 Handles To Host Fall Semester Party… Cliff Named to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Watch List

Alexey Oleynik To Fight In UFC Fight Night 211… Quinn Sullivan Leads USMNT U-20’s To Runner-Up Finish At Revelations Cup… Meggie Dougherty-Howard Earns Star Of The Match

Quinn’s Big Week and Deal with Metabilia…Alexey’s 60th Win…Frank Schwindel Behind-the-Scenes…Team U.S.A. Picks Brad

Quinn Sullivan’s bicycle-kick goal in his first MLS start was a dream moment for one of Philly soccer’s most famous families

Larry Sullivan was with his son, Brendan, upstairs at the family’s Shore vacation place last Saturday when they heard shouting downstairs.

The Union’s game at the Chicago Fire was on TVs on both floors, with the upstairs one a few seconds behind. So Larry figured someone must have scored. And something about the shouting told Brendan it was no ordinary goal.

“I’ll bet you Quinn scored,” Brendan said.

To read the full article click here.

November Newsletter

Philadelphia Union Academy Star Joins IPZ

WARREN, NJ (November 12, 2020) — Quinn Sullivan, a versatile midfielder and top prospect within the Philadelphia Union (MLS) and USA Soccer, has signed with IPZ, the company announced today.

The 16-year-old Philadelphia native has been a mainstay within the Philadelphia Union Academy, representing the club at every age group. Most recently, Quinn played as an amateur for the professional side Philadelphia Union II, which in 2020, competed in the United Soccer League Championship (USLC), the second division of United States professional soccer.

Quinn will officially embark on his professional soccer career, starting January 1, 2021, when he joins the First Team of the Philadelphia Union. The Philadelphia Union have a history of developing young talent and were recipients of the 2020 MLS Supporters’ Shield, an achievement given to the club with the best regular season record in MLS.

“I didn’t choose IPZ. IPZ, and in particular Jeff Curtin, chose me,” said Sullivan. “Jeff has watched me play for a number of years and when the early bloomers were attracting the attention of agents and managers, Jeff saw something in me, and would come watch my games whenever he had the chance. My family and I appreciated that. It is obvious that the boutique nature of IPZ allows them to really focus on representing their clients holistically, and the proof is in the results- in a matter of months Jeff was able to secure me both a trial at Borussia Dortmund, a top German club, and a Homegrown Major League Soccer (MLS) contract with my hometown Philadelphia Union. I look forward to a long partnership with IPZ.”

“Quinn is an exceptional young talent,” said Curtin, Managing Director of IPZ. “At just sixteen years old, Quinn is ready to take the next step in his soccer career as a professional. Quinn has the talent, mindset and approach to be a great pro and we are delighted to have him officially join the IPZ family.”

See the Union’s Official Release here.

Luca Bernardi Wins the 2020 Campionato Italiano Velocità SuperSport600

Luca Bernardi, the San Marino rider of the Gomma Racing team, added two more podiums (seven out of eight races) in the historical circuit of Vallelunga in Rome, to clinch the Campionato Italiano Velocità SuperSport600 Championship.

After a tough year, Bernardi clinched the title with 152 points in only his second year participating at this event.

Along with this title, Bernardi has won the 2017 CIV Championship SuperSport 300 and the 2017 Yamaha R3 Cup.

Andrei Arlovski Adds to His Record

UFC Heavyweight and IPZ client, Andrei Arlovski, defeated Tanner Boser in the co-main event inside the Apex Las Vegas this past weekend.

Arlovski won via unanimous decision after surprising Boser with a spinning backfist in the final seconds of the second round.

“I looked at Boser and saw myself 21 years ago…He’s young, powerful, strong and hungry. I wish him good luck,” said Arlovski in an interview with ESPN after the fight.

This win marks his 19th win in the UFC’s heavyweight division, which is the most of all time. Even with this, Arlovski, now back in the top 15 rankings, has stated that his best is yet to come.

 

The Set Pieces Sits Down with Jack Elliott

From London Amateur to MLS Professional: Interview with Philadelphia Union’s Jack Elliott

By Greg Lea

The path between European football and Major League Soccer has become a well-trodden one in recent years, with Steven Gerrard, David Beckham, David Villa, Thierry Henry, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard and Kaka among those who have crossed the Atlantic in the latter stages of their career.

It isn’t just high-profile stars in their 30s who have made the move stateside, though. Philadelphia Union centre-back Jack Elliott was born in London but has only ever played professional football in the US, having been scouted while representing an amateur team in his hometown. It’s safe to say the switch from Sunday League to MLS, via the West Virginia University team, has been a surreal one for the 22-year-old.

“It was a crazy experience playing against them,” Elliott tells The Set Pieces, referring to opponents such as David Villa, Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore, all of whom the centre-back locked horns with in his debut campaign of 2017.

“Luckily I started off easy playing my first start at home against David Villa! But it was amazing. He’s one of the toughest strikers I’ve played against. His movement and speed are still world class, making him a difficult opponent to play against.”

Trying to keep a World Cup winner quiet is a very different challenge to marking a hungover centre-forward on a mud-caked pitch in south London, but Elliott owes plenty to his experiences in the English capital’s amateur divisions.

“I played for Fulham academy for a year when I was 12, but I got released and then mainly just played Sunday league and school football. As I got older I moved into men’s football, where I was spotted by a coach [Dan Stratford] from West Virginia University – he was playing in the same game. He asked me if I wanted to go and play over there, and I had no second thoughts about it.”

It was an incredibly exciting proposition for a football-mad teenager who had long dreamt of a professional career, but the prospect of suddenly moving more than 3500 miles from home must have been daunting too. Thankfully for Elliott, he arrived in West Virginia to find a terrific setup both on and off the pitch.

“You train as a professional almost every day, working around a regular university life, and it’s surprisingly professional: the facilities are top-class, the pitches are good and you’re well looked after with gear and equipment,” the defender says of his experience in the US college system, which allows promising young athletes to combine sport and education. Does he think such an arrangement could work in Europe?

“I’m not sure it’s better in terms of producing top quality players, but it helps to catch the ones who may have slipped through the cracks of the top academies,” says Elliott, who received an academic scholarship to study Management Information Systems in the US.

“Going through the college system allows you to get a degree, which was one of the reasons I had no questions about it, but the quality of football, facilities and fans are something I might not have experienced had I stayed at home.”

The 6ft 5in stopper played 68 games for the West Virginia Mountaineers between 2013 and 2016, before being selected by Philadelphia Union in the fourth round of the 2017 SuperDraft, an annual event in which MLS clubs snap up players who have either graduated from college or been signed by the league.

“It was one of the best days of my life,” Elliott recalls. “Philadelphia was a place I’d been many times before and really enjoyed, plus it wasn’t too far from West Virginia.”

The young defender, described by Union sporting director Earnie Stewart as a “good passer who reads the game well”, was an unused substitute for early-season meetings with Vancouver Whitecaps, Toronto and Orlando City, before making his MLS bow from the bench in a 2-1 loss to D.C. United. Elliott performed well despite the disappointing result, and he soon became a regular part of manager Jim Curtin’s starting XI.

“It all happened very quickly. The second game of the season I was in the 18 [matchday squad] for the first team, and then I played 45 minutes at D.C.,” he told the club’s YouTube channel.

“It allowed the coaches to see I could handle the pressure of the league. And then the next week I was starting. It all came very quickly and I’m very thankful for it.

“When I got subbed in, I had 15 minutes to think about it. It’s not a lot of time; I was just warming up. It was good that I didn’t have time to think about it. I just went out there and played the way I play.”

It can be particularly tough for young centre-backs to establish themselves in the first team, with many managers unwilling to risk inexperienced players in such a key position. Yet by the end of the 2017 season, Elliott had made 30 appearances in MLS and racked up more minutes than all but two of his Union team-mates.

The quality of his performances caught the eye even more than the quantity. The Londoner played with a maturity which belied his tender years, as the Union finished eighth in the Eastern Conference. Elliott’s displays were so consistently impressive that he was nominated for the MLS Rookie of the Year Award, which was ultimately won by Atlanta United midfielder Julian Gressel.

“I didn’t expect to play as much [as I did], no,” he admits. “But from my first few weeks there I could see it was a place where I could belong.

“It was a good feeling,” he adds when talk turns to his third-place finish in the newcomer vote. “I’d never have expected to be there at the start of the year, so it was nice to get that sort of recognition at the end of it.”

Compatriot Aaron Jones departed the Talen Energy Stadium in November, but Elliott isn’t the only Brit in the Union squad for the 2018 campaign, which has begun with a 2-0 victory over New England Revolution and a goalless draw with Columbus Crew. Former Arsenal and Hull forward Jay Simpson is also in his second year in MLS, having moved to Philadelphia from Leyton Orient a few weeks before Elliott signed on the dotted line.

“Football in the US is still growing so obviously it isn’t as big as it is in the UK,” Elliott says of the differences between the two countries. “As kids they don’t play it every day in school and they don’t see it as much on TV. I feel kids here don’t get to play enough unstructured football, which in some ways can help to develop a player in different ways than structured coaching does.”

It’s an interesting point and one which the powers that be at the US Soccer Federation would be wise to consider as the national team attempts to bounce back from its failure to qualify for this summer’s World Cup. Elliott cannot afford to dwell on such big-picture issues for too long, though, with his focus now firmly on his second season with the Union.

“Individually I’d like to build on what I did last year and improve as a player,” he says of his hopes for the campaign ahead. “And as a team our ambition is to get to the play-offs and make a run there.”

If Elliott can replicate last season’s performances this time around, Philadelphia Union will fancy their chances of achieving that goal.

View on The Set Pieces.