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Archive for the ‘Harrisburg City Islanders’ Category

For those Union fans now more attentive and those Isles fans eager to get a look at the squad in preseason training, they have announced a schedule of friendlies across the mid-state:

Date – Opponent – Time – Location
Wed, March 17 – Saint Francis University – 8:00 – Millersville University
Tues, March 23 – Bucknell University – 7:00 – Millersville University
Thurs, March 25 – Crystal Palace Baltimore – 7:00 – Millersville University
Sun, March 28 – Towson University – 2:00 – Richard Montgomery HS
Tues, March 30 – Penn State University – 7:00 – Jeffrey Field, PSU
Thurs, April 1 – UMBC – 7:00 – Millersville University
Thurs, April 8 – Temple University – 4:00 – Temple Ambler Soccer Field

While the roster of the Islanders is still being sorted out, the Isles have signed Nate Jafta, a college and PDL teammate of much-loved Islander Tiyi Shipalane, now of D.C. United. Nate, a 26-year-old South African, is a creative, attacking midfielder with flair with 15 goals and 35 assists to his credit in his PDL career. He was selected 3 times to the all-league team in the PDL as a four-year player for the Michigan Bucks.

Interested in more? Try the team website here: www.cityislanders.com

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With today’s announcement of an exclusive partnership with USL-2 side Harrisburg City Islanders, the Philadelphia Union has laid the ground work for a highly developed farm system. Already with a working partnership with PDL side Reading United AC, the Union have now established links to the college game (PDL) and to lower division professional soccer (USL-2). What does this mean to Union and Isles fans? What does this mean to the Philadelphia Union as a developing franchise? In short, it’s huge.

With the death of the MLS Reserve League and the chopping of rosters from 28 down to 24 before the beginning of the 2009 season, MLS teams were left with few options to get their young, developing players field time. And no matter how much you practice and train, there is a certain amount of confidence and calm that only comes with minutes on the pitch.

The Union will likely utilize the City Islanders franchise as a place to get their young talent game time, without having to sacrifce quality in their MLS starting XI. The City Islanders have done loan deals with both the Red Bulls (Danny Cepero, GK [Penn]) and D.C. United (Tiyi Shipalane, F) in the past, but have now signed to exclusively deal with the Union. This is big in terms of player movement back and forth, as well as the consistency of the system and proximity to Philadelphia.

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Get used to it. You'll be seeing more of this.

Philadelphia Union will partner with the Harrisburg City Islanders of USL-2 in a development contract could see Union players loaned to Harrisburg to get more playing time, the clubs announced today.

Under the partnership, the two clubs will work to identify Harrisburg players with the chops for MLS. The clubs will partner on promotional activities, clinics, and Union player appearances in Harrisburg, and they’ll play an annual exhibition match.

“We’ve worked with MLS clubs frequently over the years, but to formalize a relationship like this is ideal,” City Islanders Head Coach Bill Becher said. “I think players and staff from both clubs will see real benefits as a result.”

This kind of partnership could be hugely important for both sides. With MLS doing away with its reserve competitions, non-regulars don’t get much opportunity for playing time outside of practice. This would give them that time, in a way similar to that which is happening in England, where top Premier League sides have been increasingly loaning out players to Championship and League 1 clubs.

Philadelphia already has a partnership with Reading United AC of the United Soccer Leagues’ Premier Development League, but this deal allows them to partner with a club at a higher level of competition.

More on this later, when time allows. We’ll tell you a bit more about the City Islanders and just how unique this partnership may be.

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