Soccer becomes official in Philly tomorrow

Pump up those soccer balls and dust off the cleats - professional soccer is about to return to the Philadelphia region.

Major League Soccer plans a 2 p.m. press conference in in Chester tomorrow to formally announce what The Inquirer reported last week - that the region has been awarded an expansion team. The as-yet-unnamed Philadelphia club will be the league's 16th team.

The announcement is scheduled to be made at the Wharf at Rivertown, an office complex that links downtrodden Chester's past and future, located in what was once the Philadelphia Electric Co. station.

The team will play at a $115 million, 18,500-seat stadium to be built on the Chester waterfront near the Commodore Barry Bridge. The stadium will anchor a $500 million development to include housing, retail stores, a convention center and riverfront promenade.

Major League Soccer is the top professional men's outdoor league in the United States. Philadelphia is the largest market in which the league does not operate a team. The new team is expected to begin play in 2010.


Contact staff writer Jeff Gammage at 610-313-8110 or jgammage@phillynews.com.