As a youth organization that has an agreement with Penn FC, Rush Soccer is hoping to create a solid pipeline for its players to reach professional soccer.
Last month, it was revealed that the former Harrisburg City Islanders of the USL would become Penn FC for 2018 and beyond. As part of that announcement, it was learned that the Colorado-based Rush had entered into an agreement with Penn FC that put the USL club in a unique situation by making it a “professional team at the top of the largest academy system in the world.”
With the first season of that agreement approaching, Rush is hopeful that the arrangement will help create a easier path to professional soccer for its players. An arrangement of this with a professional team is something that Rush had considered for years, according to chairman Jérôme de Bontin, and it came to the conclusion that Penn FC offered several advantages. More from The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Five years later, that plan has come to fruition.
Rush looked at partnerships with European clubs. But de Bontin knew from his time at Monaco that work permit rules in many European countries make it hard for clubs there to take chances on American prospects. So they started looking inward.
“We’re serving our audience better by getting into this relationship with a local club in a part of the country is fairly accessible, close to big cities that people know,” he said. “And where if successful, they will probably get not only the right training, but also the right exposure to what could be the next steps for them.”
Overall, the professional soccer situation in Harrisburg has seen undergone some major shifts over the last several months. Back in March, it was announced that George Altirs–former majority owner of Wilmington Hammerheads FC–had become majority owner of the Harrisburg club. Penn FC will continue to play its home games at FNB Field in Harrisburg.
RELATED STORIES: New for 2018: Penn FC; Altirs Joins Harrisburg City Islanders Ownership