110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Pat Andrews
posted Jan 24, 2013 - 9:09:57am
The Major League Soccer team is returning to Dewey O. Boster Sports Complex in February. Already scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 20, in Deltona is a preseason scrimmage against the D.C. United team. The game will be free and open to the public.
Rowan spoke at the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce annual dinner Jan. 15 at the Victoria Gardens Clubhouse.
He said he’s spent 25 years in professional sports, starting as a baseball player with the
Rowan said a sports team can do much to bring a community together.
“There’s an economic impact and an emotional impact,” Rowan said.
As a baseball player, Rowan said, he fell in love with that emotional aspect of sports, of bringing smiles to the faces of children during a game or community event.
Rowan saw the Philadelphia Union bring a stadium and economic development to the town of Chester, Pa., just outside Philadelphia.
Chester was in need of renewal, he said. Crime was up, and the economy was down. Three years after the stadium opened, Rowan said, crime is down 23 percent and housing values are up.
Soccer will bring not only the team, but a lot of exposure for Deltona, drawing enthusiasts who want to watch the soccer team play and meet the players. Visits to training facilities are growing in popularity among fans, somewhat to the surprise of some Major League franchises, Rowan said. Fans will travel from Philadelphia and other parts of the country to watch “their” players.
It can help put Deltona on the map, he said.
The publicity — and money — coming into Deltona will bring even more businesses and more money, Rowan said.
When larger corporations look around for a place to build, livability and attractions like sports teams are assets they take into consideration, he added.
And, Rowan said, soccer is growing in popularity. This year, 10 of 34 games will be broadcast nationally.
As a bonus, while the soccer players are here, they connect with the community, visiting schools and working with youth groups, offering one-on-one instruction and soccer clinics.
“Players are helping instruct kids. They teach body, mind and soul,” Rowan said. “It’s not just about athletes.”
A Fantasy Camp is in the works for Valentine’s Day, Thursday, Feb. 14, allowing adult fans to learn and play with the pros.
The regular soccer season begins in March.
For more information, visit www.philadelphiaunion.com.
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