LOUISVILLE, Ky. – On Jan. 7, the United Soccer League announced the addition of seven new clubs to the league, with six of the seven beginning play in 2016. One of the newest clubs, Philadelphia Union-affiliated Bethlehem Steel FC, will kick off their inaugural season in March.
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The Eastern Conference newcomers will play Louisville City FC twice in the 2016 in the regular season — with meetings scheduled on May 1 at Bethlehem Steel and on Aug. 27 at Louisville Slugger Field.
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Bethlehem Steel FC
Professional soccer is returning to an area that has seen a lot of historical success. On Aug. 19, 2015, the United Soccer League announced the addition of Bethlehem Steel FC. The club, located in Bethlehem, Penn., is owned and operated by Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union.
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“We are extremely pleased to add yet another ownership group that is experienced in operating highly successful professional sports franchises to the USL family. It’s an honor to return soccer to not only one of the most historic, but also vibrant and growing markets in the U.S.,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said.
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As Papadakis said, the area is accustomed to successful professional soccer. Clubs in the area won five Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups between 1915-1926. The Union were previously affiliated with another Pennsylvanian USL side, the Harrisburg City Islanders, from 2010-15.
Bethlehem Steel FC will play their games at Goodman Stadium, which is where the Lehigh University football team plays. Brendan Burke, a former assistant coach with the Union the former head coach of Reading United, will serve as head coach. The team is scheduled to begin play in 2016. Bethlehem will play in the USL’s Eastern Conference.