Bethlehem Steel FC

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Bethlehem Steel FC
Bethlehem Steel FC (USL) Crest.png
Full name Bethlehem Steel Football Club
Founded 2015 (3 years ago) (2015)
Stadium Goodman Stadium
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Ground Capacity 16,000
Owner Keystone S&E
Head Coach Brendan Burke
League United Soccer League
2017 8th, Eastern Conference
Playoffs: Conference Quarterfinals
Website Club website
Current season
Active teams of the Philadelphia Union
Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg
MLS USL PDL

Bethlehem Steel FC is an American professional soccer team based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, part of the Lehigh Valley region. Founded in 2015, the team plays in the United Soccer League as the official affiliate of the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer. Its colors are navy blue, gold, and red. Brendan Burke is the head coach.

History[edit]

Since the formalized partnership between United Soccer League and Major League Soccer in 2013, MLS teams had begun to form and field their own teams on the third tier. This endeavor was largely driven to fill in the missing piece of player development between high school/college players and professional soccer players. In June 2015, the Philadelphia Union sent out a survey to fans gauging interest in fielding their own USL team.[1] The survey input and directives from the Union front office eventually led to the creation of a team that would play in the Lehigh Valley, officially announced on August 19, 2015.[2] This announcement made the Union the ninth MLS team to independently own and operate a USL club. The announcement also coincided with dissolving the previous affiliation with USL side Harrisburg City Islanders, originally established in 2010.[3] After surveying fans for a name of the team, the results ended overwhelmingly in favor of “Bethlehem Steel FC” honoring the previous incarnation of the team in the early twentieth century.[4] Bethlehem Steel FC would become the “missing link” of player development between the YSC Academy and first team for the Philadelphia Union. The club began to take shape hiring former Union assistant coach, Brendan Burke as the first head coach of the team’s history on October 29, 2015.[5] On December 3, 2015, Burke made his first signing to the team in Derrick Jones, who was a player developing in the Union Academy.[6]

Inaugural season[edit]

In preparation of their inaugural season, Steel FC built a roster with a combination of USL veterans (Mickey Daly, Ryan Richter, Bolu Akinyode), Philadelphia Union draft picks (Josh Yaro, Fabian Herbers), and key international players (James Chambers, Cory Burke). This team would be largely supported by Union players on short-term loans in addition to academy players from YSC Academy.[7] The team's first season saw glipses of positives but ultimately struggled down the stretch of the season, going winless in their last 12 matches.

2017–present[edit]

On January 5, 2017, the United States Soccer Federation granted USL provisional Division II status; making the 2017 season the first time the Steel FC would compete as a Division II team.[8]

Colors and badge[edit]

On October 27, 2015, Bethlehem Steel FC's name, crest, and colors were officially announced during a ceremony held at the ArtsQuest at SteelStacks. "Steel FC" alludes to the historical Bethlehem Steel F.C., which played from 1907 to 1930.[4] The origin of the clubs' name is the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, which was once America's second-largest steel producer and largest shipbuilder and was important to the economy of the area. The name was chosen following a fan poll held between September 8, 2015 and September 28, 2015; the other three options were Lehigh Valley Steel SC, Lehigh Valley Blast, and Steel FC.[9]

The colors of Bethlehem Steel FC are navy blue and gold, and red, combining the primary colors of both the original Bethlehem Steel F.C. and the Philadelphia Union. The team's crest is elongated, representing the foundation of a new player development program and extension of the Union brand. Its gold rivets symbolize the relationship between the Bethelehem and Philadelphia clubs. The Union's rattlesnake alludes to the "Join, or Die" political cartoon by Benjamin Franklin that was featured in the 1754 Pennsylvania Gazette, and is also reminiscent of the Gadsden flag, another Revolutionary icon. The red beam in the middle of the crest is a tribute to the original logo of Bethlehem Steel F.C.

Before sponsoring a team in the USL, the Philadelphia Union commemorated the original Bethlehem Steel F.C. once before. In February 2013, the club unveiled a third kit with Steel F.C.'s colors, featuring a black jersey with white trim, a sublimated Union logo, and a Steel F.C. jock tag.[10][11][12][13][14]

In 2016, the crest earned a third place recognition for "2016 Primary Logo of the Year."[15]

Facilities[edit]

Stadium[edit]

Lehigh's Murray H Goodman Stadium

Bethlehem Steel FC plays home matches at Goodman Stadium in Bethlehem, also home to the Lehigh University Mountain Hawks football team. It features 16,000 seats and a natural grass field.

Training facility[edit]

Bethlehem Steel FC practices at the training fields next to Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania, where the Union play their home games.

Broadcasting[edit]

USL began regularly broadcasting all league matches on the USL YouTube channel. Home match broadcasting is provided live by Service Electric where Play-by-play announcing covered by Dave Leno with color commentary by former Philadelphia Union player, Matt Kassel.

Club culture[edit]

Supporters[edit]

After announcing the creation of Bethlehem Steel FC, a supporters collaboration was soon formed. Largely organized through Facebook, the official supporters group emerged as the East End Army.[16] The East End Army support the team from the lower bowl section of Goodman Stadium, dubbed "the Forge." The official pub partner for the Bethlehem Steel FC is Revolutions located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.[17]

Rivalries[edit]

Bethlehem Steel FC is one of three USL teams in Pennsylvania, the others being Harrisburg City Islanders and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Since the 2015 season, the City Islanders and Riverhounds compete for the Keystone Derby Cup, which currently excludes Bethlehem Steel FC.[18]

Sponsorship[edit]

Period Kit Manufacturer Shirt Sponsor Ref
2016– Adidas Lehigh Valley Health Network [19]

Players[edit]

The Bethlehem squad in a huddle

The Bethlehem Steel FC squad is composed of an unrestricted number of first-team players on loan to the reserve team, players signed by Steel FC, and Philadelphia Union Academy players. Academy players who appear in matches with Steel FC retain their college eligibility. Union Academy product Derrick Jones was the first player signed by Steel FC on December 3, 2015.[6]

Current roster[edit]

For details on former players, see All-time Bethlehem Steel FC roster.

Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth. Squad correct as of November 5, 2017.

No. Position Player Nation
37 Forward Nanco, ChrisChris Nanco  Canada
38 Forward Moar, SantiSanti Moar  Spain
45 Midfielder Chambers, JamesJames Chambers  Ireland
48 Defender Mahoney, MattMatt Mahoney  United States
Forward Allen, BrandonBrandon Allen  United States
Defender Aubrey, BrandonBrandon Aubrey  United States
Midfielder Holness, OmarOmar Holness  Jamaica
Defender Mbaizo, OlivierOlivier Mbaizo  Cameroon
  1. ^ Signed to first team contract with Philadelphia Union.
  2. ^ Philadelphia Union Academy player.

Coaching staff[edit]

Position Staff Nation
Head Coach Brendan Burke United States United States
Assistant Coach Stephen Hogan United States United States
Goalkeeping Coach Jay Cooney United States United States
Athletic Trainer Akira Umeki Japan Japan

Coaching and Technical Staff as of January 15, 2018[20]

Head coaches[edit]

This list includes all those who have managed the club since 2016, when the club joined United Soccer League for the first time, whether coaching on a full-time or interim basis. Games played include all League, Playoff, and the win percentage is calculated from the total of games.

  • Figures correct as of October 22, 2017. Includes all competitive matches

M = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost;

Name Nat From To M W D L Win % Notes
Brendan Burke  USA October 29, 2015 present 62 18 18 27 28.6% First Head Coach

Records[edit]

Year-by-year[edit]

Year League Standings USL
Cup Playoffs
Top Scorer Average Attendance
GP Pts W T L Conf. Overall Nat. Name Goals Regular
season
USL Cup
playoffs
2016 30 28 6 10 14 11th 25th Did not qualify United States
Ghana
Ryan Richter
Derrick Jones
5 2,573 DNQ
2017 32 44 12 8 12 8th 17th Conference Quarterfinals Liberia Seku Conneh 10 3,052 No game
2018 0 0 0 0 0 TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Union sends out survey to gauge interest in USL team". 
  2. ^ "Philadelphia Union and USL announce expansion team in Bethlehem, Pa., for 2016 season". 
  3. ^ "Harrisburg City Islanders and Philadelphia Union Agree to Dissolve Five-Year Exclusive Partnership". 
  4. ^ a b "Press release". October 27, 2015. Retrieved October 27, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Bethlehem Steel FC names Brendan Burke manager". October 28, 2015. Retrieved September 25, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "Bethlehem Steel FC Sign Union Academy Product Derrick Jones". Philadelphia Union. December 3, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2015. 
  7. ^ Tom Via II (November 30, 2016). "Foundation laid in inaugural season poinsed to pay dividends for Bethlehem Steel FC". Bethlehem Steel FC. Retrieved January 16, 2018. 
  8. ^ "U.S. Soccer Board of Directors Grants Provisional Division II Stauts to NASL and USL". U.S. Soccer. January 6, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Philadelphia Union open fan vote for USL team name". October 27, 2015. Retrieved October 27, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Jersey Week: Union pay homage to Bethlehem Steel with retro 3rd shirt". MLSsoccer.com. 
  11. ^ "Philadelphia Union honors Bethlehem Steel soccer club on new jerseys". lehighvalleylive.com. 
  12. ^ "Bethlehem, PA Patch - Breaking News, Local News, Events, Schools, Weather, Sports and Shopping". Retrieved 14 March 2017. 
  13. ^ "Philadelphia Union unveil new third jersey, inspired by Bethlehem Steel". Philly.com. 
  14. ^ "Todo Sobre Camisetas: Philadelphia Union Adidas Third Jersey 2013". todosobrecamisetas.blogspot.com.ar. 
  15. ^ "Bethlehem Steel FC Grabs the Bronze for Best New Primary Logo". Bethlehem Steel FC. December 22, 2016. Retrieved January 2, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Supporters". 
  17. ^ "Revolutions named official pub partner of Bethlehem Steel FC". PENN97. May 25, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2016. 
  18. ^ "2016 Keystone Derby will be sponsored by PA Lottery, exclude Bethlehem Steel". PENN97. February 25, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Bethlehem Steel FC Announce Partnership With Lehigh Valley Health Network". Philadelphia Union. March 27, 2016. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Coaching and Technical Staff". 

External links[edit]