The Philadelphia Union and the City of Jacksonville announced today that the Major League Soccer team will participate in friendlies for the next three years in Florida.
From 2013-2015 the Union will play a friendly game in Jacksonville, as team CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz made public with the city's mayor, Alvin Brown in front of media at Everbank Stadium, home of the National Football League's Jacksonville Jaguars.
"We are excited to play in front of the people of Jacksonville and look forward to establishing a long-term relationship with the city of Jacksonville and its fans," said Sakiewicz in a press release.
Brown pointed to Jacksonville's recent history with hosting soccer games as a reason for which the city was excited to enter into a new partnership with the Union.
"Jacksonville has shown a strong interest in soccer. Just ask the 45,000 fans who broke a Southeast attendance record last May for the US Men's National Team match at EverBank Field," Brown said the same press release. "The city's partnership with Philadelphia Union poses an incredible opportunity to expand our portfolio of events and create an unforgettable experience that enlivens our Downtown and strengthens our heartbeat as a city."
The Union will look to extending the partnership beyond the first three years, based on Sakiewicz's statements about Jacksonville and the team's future, as he said that he wants it to be the "home away from home."
Philadelphia's opponent for this preseason's friendly. on February 15, was not revealed, but tickets were already available at the time of the press conference on Ticketmaster. The Union are scheduled to play a game the next day, February 16, at Disney's Wide World of Sports as part of the team's participation in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic.