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    9/16/2018   5:00:00 PM        Location                           

Philadelphia Fury


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Fury to Tour Asia
Fury to Tour Asia IN November.

Philadelphia Fury to tour South East Asia in November

The Philadelphia Fury, which currently plays in the American Soccer League the 4th tier of the US Soccer System, has proven time and time again that its performances match that of even the best MLS teams on and off the field.

The Fury, which was originally established in 1978 and competed as part of the NASL until 1980 prior to the NASL folding at that time.

The previous owners of the Fury were at that time rock stars Peter Frampton, Paul Simon, Rick Wakeman, and Mick Jagger with the Fury playing all their home games at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.

This era would prove to be the dawn of what the US Youth Soccer Scene is now in the United States. After the demise of the original NASL, many of the fans would become parents and for their children start youth clubs in their own communities, becoming administrators and volunteer coaches. This would eventually grow into a movement that would see soccer take hold at the grass roots level and expand to become the most participated youth sport in the United States.

The estimated number of Soccer players in the US is approximately 24.5 million. With over 4 million registered US players, the Big Count as they say that happened in 2005, accounted for over 270 million across the globe playing or involved in the game. Making that just over 11% of players in the world playing their soccer here in the USA.
However, we have no US National Team playing in the 2018 World Cup.

This is no surprise as it happens. Knowing that in fact on opening day of the MLS season in 2018 there was less then 2 US players that took the field on each of the 23 MLS teams across the country.

Do you see the problem here and recognize the consequences?

The work that was started in the late 70ís and early 80ís by those pioneers who grew the game, must be extremely disappointed and disgusted as to what has happened to the game in the US. Seeing that our leaders of the sport in the US are not committed to doing anything other than commercialization of the game at the MLS level. To what end?

What about the up and coming young American lads, seeking out the chance, the opportunity,
the dream of playing professional in their own country?

These players have been relegated to seeking out greener pastures elsewhere in lower professional leagues across Europe, South American and the South Asia
Countries. In those countries, they admire the work ethic, desire, professionalism, technical ability, and the passion of these American lads to make it anywhere they can and at any cost!

With no representation at the 2018 World Cup due to our National Team failing to qualify, the soccer community finally cried out for change. Change the coach, change the president, change the team, but what needs to be changed is our system.

The current system that exists, of a single entity league in MLS, was the correct one in 1996, to create stability in the game where none existed before. However, as we have developed as a soccer nation, and more importantly as a soccer culture, gaining an understanding of what is going on in the rest of the soccer world, is that the current single entity model we play by has to change.
In a country where you have hundreds maybe thousands of adult and semi-pro teams, other semi-professional and professional leagues across the country, the single entity system is outdated for what our needs are.

A system that is open rather than closed is needed. A system that is inclusive not exclusive is needed. A system where we can have promotion and relegation. Where the players and teams can dream of going to the next level. Be it on the field of play or as a soccer business that is grown organically by fan support and playing merit, not just by the almighty dollar.

Your National Pride is being challenged. The fact that we are watching teams like Iceland, a country as big as Texas, competing against the best in the world, is disappointing. While we sit back and watch the demise of the American professional soccer player happen.

Well not me!

I might be an American with a funny Scottish accent but still a naturalized citizen of the US. I watched the professional game in Scotland, at the national team level, slowly deteriorate due to the influx of lower paid foreigners being brought into the game. Over time that took away the opportunities and experiences which are the two most important aspects needed in the development of a professional soccer player. It took hold like a cancer and slowly ate away at the fabric of the game.

Where this might have been slightly different from what is happening here in the USA the results no doubt are, and will be the same.

For the past several years, since resigning from my own successful career in MLS as first team coach to Steve Nicol with the New England Revolution, I have been the caretaker of one of the most popular and historical Soccer Brands in the USA, the Philadelphia Fury.

While in the early days of the Fury in 1978-1980, such English football legends as Johny Giles, Frank Worthington, Peter Osgood, and Alan Ball all played for the Fury. Along with Hall of Famer Bobby Smith and fellow American NASL stars Pat Fidelia and Bob Rigby.

The Modern version of the Philadelphia Fury has been, and will be, dedicated to the development of the American Professional Soccer Player first and results second.

Since 2014 when the Fury brand was revived and brought back, it has been a platform that many US players have used to launch their careers in the US professional game and abroad. Having successfully moved 14 players to Europe and just this week, another Fury player Defender Richard Forka has agreed terms to move to Gibraltar. Former Fury players have found themselves moving on to the MISL, the USL as well as clubs in Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Spain, Germany, and Cambodia to name a few.

A big part of the Furyís season has always been to take the team overseas to create exposure for the players. This started when we hosted SD Eibar of La Liga at Rowan University in Glassboro NJ, where we tied 1-1 in a game that was televised across 92 countries as part of the La Liga World Cup Challenge. Later that year we decided to take the Fury on tour to Spain playing Elche, Benidorm, and Alicante (1 win 2 losses). Then last season we were invited back to play against Benidorm, Alicante, and Hercules (3 wins 0 loses).

This season is a little different. We have been invited to go where few American professional soccer teams have gone before, to the South Asia Region, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Singapore. As we are having ongoing discussions with our representatives to have the Fury go on tour there at the end of the fall season. So we continue our goal of taking the Philadelphia Fury abroad each year to be the advocate for the American Professional Soccer Player.

We are creating more experiences and professional playing opportunities for these young lads. Giving them a chance to play at the highest level possible wherever that might be.
Matt Driver


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