Newly appointed Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke took the podium for the first time in his new position. What he had to say was almost a synopsis of both his new club and the Philadelphia Union ownership over the past week or so. Burke seemed revitalized, passionate and if nothing else, extremely anxious to get started. Burke touched on some similar points that Union coach Jim Curtin did on Tuesday - Bethlehem Steel will be integrated into the Union, they'll practice at PPL, and they will serve as a development center for the main club.
To his and the Union's credit, Burke will be in a role that seems to suit him by developing youth players. Burke turned Reading United into a factory for young talent, with CJ Sapong, Ray Gaddis, Deshorn Brown, Andrew Wenger, and Leo Fernandes the most familiar of the players he's coached. Burke said that "My hours will be spread across all three levels of the club" which bodes very well not only for BSFC but the first team and academy as well.
Burke had been the coach of Northeastern University in Boston since Leaving Reading in 2014. He cited that he left because of an illness in his family (he's a Massachusetts native), however he noted that everyone was now doing well. During his time at Reading, Burke went an astonishing 65-11-15 with United constantly being a threat in the PDL postseason.
The most interesting part of the press conference is how many times Burke noted that he has worked with some of the kids he will be coaching already, chemistry will be a bigger factor in USL than I think it is in MLS. No one can really play "hero ball" and having prior experience with his new players will play into Burke's hand nicely. The only thing to do now is to wait until we know who will suit up for him.