With the 2014 seson in the books, and the Denver Outlaws capturing their first title, talk has started to surface about a team returning to Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Barrage played at Villanova Stadium from 2004-2006. In 2007 the Barrage played at the United Sports Training Center in Downingown, PA before becoming a travel team for the 2008 season, which was their last. Prior to moving to Philadelphia they were known as the Bridgeport Barrage (2001-2003).
During their time in Philadelphia (Villanova University) the Barrage won three championships, two of them under Tony Resch who compiled a 30-18 record as head coach. Some of the names that have played here in Philadelphia, Roy Colsey, Matt Striebel, Greg Cattrano, Ryan Boyle, Kyle Sweeney, and the man known as “DOC”, goalie Brian Dougherty.
In recent years teams have relocated, folded. The Rochester Rattlers were purchased and moved to Hamilton, ON., and this season they became the Florida Launch. The Chicago Machine became the new Rochester Rattlers in 2010. On December 9, 2010 Commissioner David Gross said the long term goal is to have 16 teams by 2020. A total of 19 sites were identified as potential markets. Three of those markets are Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco, markets that had a team before. So if it didnt work the first time why would it now? Here is why.
They have a perfect venue that would be perfect. Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL Park) in Chester, PA. This is the home of the MSL Philadelphia Union. This is only 12 miles from the other sports complex in Philadelphia.
In recent years there have been professional Rugby games and college football.
In 2012 PPL Park hosted two quarterfinal matches for the 2012 NCAA Div 1 Mens Lacrosse Championships, and on August 24-25, 2013 PPL Park hosted the MLL Championships. Just under 3,892 watched the finals, and the semi-finals had just under 5,000.
The facility has easy access to Interstate 95 and the Commodore Barry Bridge (New Jersey) is just two minutes from the stadium, so fans from Deleware and Philadelphia can easily arrive and depart.
With the growth of the sport in the area, Philadelphia can easily bring in more than some of the established teams do now. Maybe a partnership with the Union soccer team could bring more fans.
Could the MLL make it’s return to Philadelphia? With the right owners and game plan it could return and stay for a long time.