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  • Richard Smith

Subaru Park - Philadelphia Union II

Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.43

Subaru Park 1 Stadium Dr Chester, PA 19013

Year Opened: 2010 Capacity: 18,500


Another Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union II is a professional soccer team based in Chester, Pennsylvania competing in MLS Next Pro. Founded in 2015 as Bethlehem Steel FC, the team is the official affiliate of the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer. The team competed for five seasons in the USL Championship (the first three as Bethlehem Steel FC) before joining MLS Next Pro.

Subaru Park opened in 2010 in Chester, PA, and has also been called PPL Park and Talen Energy Stadium. Chester is a small city located southwest of Philadelphia towards Wilmington, Delaware, and is directly on the Delaware River.

Besides soccer, there have been “Battle of the Blue” football games played here between the University of Delaware and Villanova. The stadium has also hosted the NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship, the Major League Lacrosse’s Championship known as the Steinfeld Cup, the ACC Lacrosse Championship, and the NCAA Division I and Division III Women’s Lacrosse Championship, as well as numerous rugby matches and concerts.

Food & Beverage 2

During Union II matches there is a single concession stand open, that sells a small variety of food. There is not much here so eat before or after the game and use the concession stand for small items only. There may be a Kona Ice truck in the concessions area for certain games as well. There is only one main scoreboard, located in the north end.

Atmosphere 2

There are limited seating sections open for Union II matches within the west stands. On sunny days that is a good thing as the sun will start to set behind the stands and keep you in the shade. On rainy days the covered stand should keep most fans dry.

The stadium has a U-shaped set of three grandstands, with an additional smaller stand at the riverside. This is called the “River End” and is where the team’s supporter groups sit during regular Union matches. It is not open for Union II matches.

Neighborhood 1

The neighborhood is terrible. Chester is a downtrodden community that is not showing much life. The area around the stadium is safe on game days but you will not want to venture too far away. And, frankly, there is no reason to do so as there are limited local establishments worth going to. Keep to the local parking lots and areas where there are fans.

The one exception at this time is The Larimer Beer Company, a short walk away from the Union’s training complex. It appears to be mainly open on regular Union game days (as well as some weekend days) and offers some nice drink options. No food is offered there although they may have an occasional food truck outside. Please check to see if they are open on Union II match days.

Harrah’s Casino is right down Delaware Avenue from the stadium. If you are the gambling type this may be worth a visit. They offer casino gaming, as well as off-track-betting and live harness racing. The harness track was built over a top part of the river, so it is worth checking out.

Fans 2

There is a small number of fans who attend Union II matches and no visible supporter section. The fans in attendance were very knowledgeable about the action and offered good cheer.

Access 3

The stadium can be pretty easy to get to. It is not far from I-95 via Route 322 towards New Jersey. If you cross the Commodore Barry Bridge from Pennsylvania you have gone too far. Delaware Avenue is the main street right by the stadium and runs north to the Philadelphia International Airport.

Parking is free for Union II match days and is very plentiful. There is construction going on for an expanded training facility, so plan on potential changes as the season goes on.

If coming from the south we recommend getting off I-495 in Claymont, DE, and driving through Marcus Hook, PA, and the south part of Chester, PA along US Route 13.

Return on Investment 5

The parking is free and game tickets are $12. This is a great value for this type of sports event.

Extras 2

The dramatic view of the Commodore Barry Bridge makes this stadium stand out. It provides a cool atmosphere for watching the matches. You should also wander around the parts of the concourse that you can and look at the various soccer memorabilia presented. Unfortunately, you cannot tour all parts of the stadium for Union II matches.

Final Thoughts

Subaru Park is a well-designed soccer stadium located in a beautiful setting along the Delaware River. Union II might not get a lot of fans but the experience is still worth it for a sports fan desiring a cheap and enjoyable sports experience.

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