SBD/May 1, 2013/Franchises

MLS Franchise Notes: Man City To Use N.Y. MLS Franchise To Develop Players

Man City may use a N.Y. expansion team as its talent pipeline
In London, Ian Herbert reports EPL club Manchester City "will use a new Abu Dhabi-owned" MLS franchise in N.Y. to "nurture future Premier League stars, after struggling to develop home-grown talent through their own academy in the past five years." Gaining a foothold in the U.S. is "seen as a solution to the problem of finding a strong level of competition" for Man City's "promising reserve players." One of the "major obstacles to developing young players that City are experiencing is the struggle to get those youngsters out on loan to lower division English sides for competitive play, because those sides can no longer afford to pay them" (London INDEPENDENT, 5/1).

LOW-RENT DISTRICT? DC United Managing Partner Jason Levien said that "despite a 'deep level of disappointment' about a league-worst start," the club "does not plan to make a coaching or a management change but is prepared to upgrade the roster." Levien said, "It's been painful. However, we are also cognizant we are only eight games into the season. It does force you to re-evaluate your personnel and your plan, and part of that may mean making moves. But we don't want to make knee-jerk decisions either" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 4/29).

THROWBACK LOOK: In K.C., Tod Palmer reported MLS Sporting KC on Saturday "debuted a new uniform, the long-rumored third kit." The alternate jersey "features a black top with an argyle pattern -- using the club's primary colors, Sporting blue and dark indigo -- across the front and black shorts, which pays homage to the club's first four [seasons] when the then-Wiz/Wizards" wore black uniforms from '96-99. The logo of the club's jersey sponsor, Ivy Funds, "runs underneath the patterned diamonds" (K.C. STAR, 4/28).

DOUBLING UP: In Philadelphia, John George reported fans are "spending more money at Philadelphia Union home matches this season," more than "double from last year, thanks in large part to the introduction of a third kit." The team has "sold more than 500 of the third kits since the start of the season, and sales of Bethlehem Steel FC merchandise -- which also includes scarves, T-shirts and hats -- represents about 20 of the [club's] total merchandise sales." Those sales helped the team record "an average per capita spending of $6.47" for its home opener in March, the "highest" among MLS clubs (PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/26 issue).
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