Ground Broken for Pa. Soccer Stadium

Thu January 01, 2009 - Northeast Edition

CHESTER, Pa. (AP) Major League Soccer, state and local officials broke ground on a planned $115 million soccer stadium just outside Philadelphia on Dec. 1.

Officials at the ceremony along the Delaware River, in the shadow of the Commodore Barry Bridge, said the stadium project in Chester is on schedule despite the nationwide economic downturn.

The stadium will be home to a yet-to-be-named team that is expected to start play in 2010 as the MLS’s 16th club.

MLS commissioner Don Garber called the groundbreaking a historic moment for Chester and U.S. soccer fans.

“Philadelphia is one of the most passionate sports markets in the country and we are excited that they will be joining our league in 2010,’’ Garber said.

The team will carry Philadelphia’s name, even though the stadium will be in Chester, an economically struggling city just southwest of Philadelphia.

Gov. Ed Rendell has pledged $25 million in state funding for the 18,500-seat stadium and stressed the positive impact of the planned development.

“With the creation of nearly 2,600 construction-related jobs alone, this project will have an enormously positive economic impact that will be felt across the Delaware Valley and the southeast region,’’ Rendell said.

The stadium is the centerpiece of an entertainment, retail, residential and commercial development plan that is to cover more than 100 acres along the waterfront.