The old Lot B is no more. Gone are the gravel parking spaces that saw hundreds of thousands of cars from 2010 through earlier this year. Also gone are the bulldozers, mounds of dirt, and stacks of pipes, concrete, and other building materials that replaced a lot of those parking spaces. In their places is now a large grass field where the Philadelphia Union will now train.
Absent were any goals, benches, or anything that would have given this away as a soccer pitch or training facility. And while there had been rumors that the club may host US Open Cup matches here, there was also no signs of any stands or seating. That being said, this was a gravel lot two months ago and the club won't have to think about the Open Cup for at least another six months. There's plenty of time for the club to make that decision and (if they deem necessary) purchase and install seating.
The lack of a practice pitch has hindered the club. Over the past few years, the players have trained at Chester Park - a public park a ten minute van ride from PPL Park. Former Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon was reportedly aghast at having to take a van to a public park to train, and former Union center back Bakary Soumare once famously ridiculed the club on twitter for having to train at this park after Amobi Okugo said that he wished Michael Bradley would come to Philadelphia.
Have him train at Chester Park? Come on bro "@amobisays: Please Bradley, Stay overseas we look up to you.but if you do come to philly haha"— Bakary Soumare (@BakySoumare) January 8, 2014
Those days seem to be headed toward the past, with this on-site facility available to the club. And while it remains to be seen what other improvements will be made - perhaps a gym facility or other on-site accommodations - this should be seen as one more step the Union are taking to become the world-class organization they aspire to be.