No more Peter Nowak, no more trips down to Costa Rica for fights against first division teams will be the new direction of the Philadelphia Union.
The Union announced today that they will participate in Disney's Pro Soccer Classic, starting in 2013. The tournament will take place from February 9 to February 23.
The preseason tournament features eight Major League Soccer clubs. Those eight teams divide into two groups of four and the top two teams in each group face off in a championship game to determine the winner, which were the Vancouver Whitecaps in the latest iteration of the Classic.
In the past, the Union have left the United States to travel around the world for their preseason camps. The choice to travel has not always been the most productive or healthy experience for Philadelphia.
2010 was successful by any criteria, as the Union went 2-2-1 in their first ever preseason.
The following preseason was rife with secrecy, as Nowak, the team's former head coach, took the Union to Greece to face third-division teams. Philadelphia also played against the United States Men's Nation under-17 Team, drawing 1-1, beating two college teams a combined 3-0 and lost to Orlando City S.C. 1-0.
The final preseason under Nowak was interesting for all the wrong reasons. A draw against Florida Gulf Coast University was followed by a 5-0 defeat of the University of Central Florida, before tying 1-1 with Orlando.
Then the Union flew down to Costa Rica for a final run through before the 2012 MLS regular season. This involved a 1-0 loss to then top of the table Perez Zeledon, before beating Costa Rica Men's National under-20 Team 3-0.
Only one game separated the Union from heading back to America and it turned out much different than anyone could have expected. The scoreline of a 2-0 loss to Belén Bridgestone F.C. was eclipsed by the brawl that the Union were involved in during the game, which was blamed on the visiting team by the local media.
Fans with interest in traveling to the preseason event should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the team's package.