Breaking news:  Brendan Burke has been named the first Head Coach of the Bethlehem Steel F.C.

You may recall Brendan Burke as the successful Head Coach of the Reading United A.C.  The Reading United A.C competed in the Premier Development League.  Here’s a quick bio as posted by the Reading United A.C Website:

Brendan Burke has been Head Coach of the Reading United PDL squad since 2008.  He has compiled a 57-10-13 regular season record, making him the most successful coach in the club’s 17 year history. Brendan is a former Div. 1 standout at Boston College (2005 Graduate) and has playing and coaching experience in every level of the game.

Brendan has played with the Sligo Rovers (Irish Premier League), Cape Cod Crusaders (USL), and captained the 2007 Reading Rage PDL team.  After a number of years playing in the Premier Development League with the Worcester Kings, Cape Cod Crusaders and Reading Rage.

Brendan took his first significant coaching role at age 25 when he was named the Head Coach of the Reading Rage PDL Team.  In 2008 he led a franchise that had not won anything since 1997 to the 2008 Mid Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference Regular Season Title.  In 2009 Burke and the Rage did not slow down.  They dropped one match at Hampton Road en-route to a 13-1-2 season and the clubs first ever PDL Regular Season National Title.  The club also qualified for the U.S. Open Cup, a feat that had not been accomplished since 2003.  2009 also saw Aaron Wheeler (Philadelphia Union) named the National PDL Player of the Year, one more first in club history.  Brendan promotes an attractive fast paced attacking brand of soccer that has seen United bang in 204 goals in 80 games, earning a spot in the PDL playoffs in each of his five years in charge of Reading.

Just Yesterday morning the Union announced the name of their new USL Pro Affiliate, Bethlehem Steel F.C.  Union Executives explained the importance of the Bethlehem Steel name and their ideas for honoring the past team, while looking toward the future with today’s Bethlehem Steel F.C. club.  I have to hand it to the Union marketing team for their efforts to blend the two teams identities into one logo.  Based on fan reactions on social media,  I would say they put it right on frame.  The Union media guys put this outstanding promo together explaining the new team shield.  .Bethlehem Steel F.C

Wow, I am ready for this off-season.  Just two weeks after the dismissal of former Union C.E.O. Nick Sakeiwicz the Union have located and hired the 1st ever Director of Soccer Operations Earnie Stewart and now the USL Pro has it’s identity with an amazing logo.  This is just the start of a list of items the Union will have to check off during this off-season.  A complete roster for the Bethlehem Steel F.C. , which should include some Union Academy players,  recent draft picks, and Union 1st team players that are unable to break the 18 man game day roster.

The next generation of the Union is here, with the start of the USL Pro team and the hiring of Earnie Stewart.  The Union will now have a system to funnel new talent up to the 1st team.  The funnel will begin at the Union Academy.  Local kids will develop inside the Union system and then graduate to the Bethlehem Steel F.C until they’re ready to make the jump to the 1st team.  For the first time MLS Super draftees will have a place to go inside the Union system, until they’re ready to go up to the 1st team.  If one of our 1st team players are recovering from injury and need playing time to get back up to speed, they could see time on the Bethlehem Steel F.C.

Earnie Stewart will be included in the process leading up to his arrival in January.  He has made it clear, he will be ready to hit the ground running as the MLS Draft and the January trade window will open shortly after his arrival from overseas.  Mr. Stewart will design a style of play for the entire organization.  Coaches will have a lesson plan to teach every player from academy kids, to members of the Bethlehem Steel F.C. to the members of the Union’s 1st team.  I am so excited for the Union’s future.

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