PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Last fall saw the first soccer game ever played in Citizens Bank Park when it hosted the finals of Philadelphia’s “Unity Cup” amateur soccer tournament.
This year, the Park’s not available, but the championships will still have a premier venue.
Mayor Jim Kenney says even he didn’t know the deal for a new venue was in the works until he walked into the morning news conference and spotted Eagles president Don Smolenski.
“My staff doesn’t always tell me everything, and I walked in the room and saw Don sitting there and I’m going, ‘we’re playing at the Linc, this is awesome,'” Kenney said.
One tiny glitch with the plan is that the exact date for the finals, sometime in November, can’t be set until the NFL schedule comes out, but Smolenski says, whatever day it is, will be great.
“We’re going to have a whole bunch of festivities out on the plaza in the morning for families and everyone to take part in, and really it’s just an honor for us to be considered to be the host and we’re looking forward to it,” he said.
Also new this year: no limit to the number of teams that can sign up, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation is forming a Unity Youth Soccer League, focusing on forming teams in the city’s immigrant community.
Parks and Rec Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell says the League will do more than teach soccer.
“We hope to give children the opportunity to learn how to work in teams, to set goals, understand commitment, and how to properly handle wins and losses,” he said.