South Jersey high school soccer powerhouses Delran and Rancocas Valley are taking their rivalry across the river to Talen Energy Stadium tonight in one of several non-MLS matches to be hosted at the home of the Philadelphia Union in recent weeks.
With a division title on the line, the game carries high stakes but the additional strain from this and several other non-MLS games on the field is something Philadelphia Union captain Alejandro Bedoya and teammate Haris Medunjanin aren’t too happy about.
“The field was terrible,” captain Alejandro Bedoya said in a post-game interview on Sunday after the Union’s 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls. “It pisses me off now that I heard there are high school games being played here or whatever after today and tomorrow. It’s a disaster. We’re a professional team getting ready for the playoffs and then the field is in terrible shape and they’re going to mess it up even more.”
One of those games happened on Sunday night after the Union’s loss with The Haverford School beating Shipley School 2-0 (another between St. Elizabeth and Brandywine High School was scheduled for 5:30 p.m.).
Other recent high school games included Archmere Academy vs Wilmington Charter, Central Bucks West vs Pennridge Holy Ghost Prep vs William Tennent, and Mainland vs Middle Township. Haddonfield was originally slated to play West Deptford this month but the game was moved to November 6th. The Army-Navy Cup and the final of the Philadelphia International Unity Cup were both played last weekend. Villanova’s women’s team hosted Virginia Tech on the field back in September.
In other words, there’s been a ton of soccer played on the stadium field, during a rainier than usual season.
“But how the field looked today, I prefer to play away because it’s unbelievable we play on this kind of field,” Medunjanin said. “It’s unbelievable. A team that’s already achieved the playoffs who play good soccer, to play on this kind of field, it’s a shame.”
Hosting non-Union games and other events is not a new phenomenon, but the high school games have picked up over the past couple years. There is also talk that the stadium or practice fields would host games for a Chester High School program the Union plan to fund.