The region's new pro soccer team has found its voice - Carl Cherkin, the former TV sportscaster who once handled public relations for the old Philadelphia Atoms.
"As my English friends would characterize it, I'm over the moon," Cherkin said yesterday. "I'm elated to be part of what will be an amazing organization."
Cherkin, a graduate of Northeast High School and Temple University, will hold the title of vice president of communications, responsible for news-media relations and helping to manage relationships with corporations and governments.
Cherkin's hiring had been expected, as he spent more than a year working behind the scenes, first to help land a major league soccer team and then to help it get established.
"His passion and energy are infectious," said team president Tom Veit.
The Philadelphia club will be MLS's 16th team when it takes the field in 2010, to play at a $500 million stadium complex being built on the Chester waterfront. The team name, colors and ticket prices are to be announced on Monday.
Some fans remember Cherkin from 1973, when he was the first public-relations director of the Atoms, who won the championship during their first year in the North American Soccer League.
Cherkin still attends Atoms reunions, and said yesterday that a goal of the new club was "to connect the past with the present and the future, and to be a conduit for all things soccer in this community."
An Emmy-winning broadcaster, he spent nearly a decade on local TV. After leaving The Ten O'Clock News on Fox in 1998, he worked as sales manager for a telecommunications firm, ran as a Democrat for a Bucks County seat in the state legislature - and tried to lure a MLS team to the region.
Cherkin developed a business plan that included the construction of a soccer stadium, and gained MLS's blessing to approach prospective owners. But, as happened so often between Philadelphia and MLS, nothing came of it.
The city finally was awarded an expansion team in 2008.
"Carl has a deep understanding of the Philadelphia region," Veit said, adding that Cherkin "brings a consistent and respected voice as we're preparing to unveil our team identity."