In what has gone largely unnoticed by local media, a proposal for an all-encompassing sports complex along Torresdale Avenue in the Northeast is in the process of being approved. And it has a very interesting sponsor: international soccer power AC Milan.
As first reported by NEastPhilly.com's Shannon McDonald, the complex would include playing surfaces for baseball, basketball, field hockey, flag football, lacrosse and, of course, soccer, and admission would specifically be affordable for local families and young athletes. AC Milan would make use the facility to host tournaments and training sessions, one would assume in the hope that they find one or more players from the area through this facility that they can bring into their system. Pretty cool, but where might the Union fit into this complex, currently planned to open about a year from now?
Well, there's this little tidbit:
[...] the proposed complex would include a second-story loft, ADIDAS store and partnerships with various companies and professional sports teams, which Coughlan Fulmer said she’s not yet at liberty to discuss.
"We’re working hand-in-hand" with the local sports clubs, Coughlan Fulmer explained.
Hmm. What local sports clubs might be interested in selling their gear at a sports complex where soccer is the major focus? It's probably not a stretch to think the Union would be one of those professional sports teams the organization is working with. And this brings us to another question: might this be a precursor to a partnership of some kind between the Union and AC Milan?
Multiple MLS clubs already have affiliations with top soccer clubs in Europe: the Colorado Rapids have an agreement with Arsenal while the San Jose Earthquakes not too long ago partnered with Tottenham Hotspur. A Union-AC Milan partnership wouldn't really mean much outside of a marketing perspective -- probably some promises about training and conditioning program sharing, maybe about the European team visiting for a friendly every once in a while, or about the MLS team being invited to Europe. Maybe, though, the Union would promise AC Milan first right of refusal for any players sold to Europe (Danny Mwanga in a few years?).
This is all speculation, of course, but would you be okay with this? Would a partnership between our area's fledgling professional soccer team and the international powerhouse that is AC Milan excite you?