Reading United’s friendly with the Philadelphia Union has become an early summer tradition. This year, the friendly gets new meaning as the two clubs unite to battle cancer. On Friday June 7th, the Union will make the short drive up the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Reading to play their player development partner at Exeter’s Don Thomas Stadium. Union stars Jack McInerney, Sebastien Le Toux and Zac MacMath will face off against Reading’s young and talented roster in a match that will entertain local fans and honor a Berks County soccer legend.
Without Archie Moylan, there wouldn’t be a Reading United. Moylan, a former Penn State All-American, founded the Reading Rage in 1996. Rage found early success on the field. The team roster, built on local talent like Troy Snyder, Drew Kauffman, Tom Auchenbach, won the D3 Pro League Mid-Atlantic Title in 1997. Moylan’s tireless dedication to Reading soccer also earned recognition off the field as the team was named Franchise of the Year in 1997.
Tragically, Moylan passed away in 2000 following a courageous battle against cancer. Reading United have chosen to honor Archie Moylan’s memory with the Clover Flash emblem that adorns every United player’s jersey and with the now annual Kicks Against Cancer Night to raise awareness and funds to battle a disease that affects so many families in the United States. Reading United Director of Community Relations John Cusatis stated, “This year we will be raising fund for a very important local cause. We will be donating 100% of the money we raise at the friendly to the American Cancer Society and the Jolee Boarder Foundation. We are honored to be able to help raise money in hopes for a cure.” Cusatis continued, “The Philadelphia Union, Reading United, the American Cancer Society and the Jolee Boarder Foundation have been tremendous in their help and support for this event. We look forward to a great game and then more importantly a great community turnout where we can all help in donating to this charity. Most everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer. We hope to be able to help to this great cause.”
Reading United Head Coach and Philadelphia Union Assistant Coach Brendan Burke also knows too well the toll cancer takes on a family. With his thoughts on loved ones, Burke said, “Cancer is a disease that hits close to home for all of us and my family is no different in that regard. My thoughts and prayers are with my family throughout the game on Friday. I am just happy that we have an excellent platform in this game to help raise funds that will aid in research and development of better treatments.”
This season’s Kicks Against Cancer Night will be bigger than ever. United have partnered with the Union in an effort to raise more money than ever in the fight against cancer. “We’re very proud of our partnership with the Philadelphia Union. It’s wonderful that Reading is not only a key piece of their development structure, but also that we are able to partner on causes greater than the game,” said Reading United President and General Manager Art Auchenbach. “Obviously the Reading United family has been touched by the evils of cancer but it is gratifying to know that we can use our platform of soccer to raise awareness in the fight against cancer. We are very thankful that the Philadelphia Union players, staff, and management are able to join us in this fight.”
Fans of both teams will have multiple ways they can pay tribute to a family member who has battled the insidious disease. New this season, family members can purchase a luminaire candle bag that will be lit during the match to honor a family member. Also new this year, families can purchase a black armband and write the name of one of their family members that have fought cancer on the band. Players from each team will wear the armbands during the friendly and following the game, the armbands will be given back to the familes.
This year’s jersey auction also includes a new element. As in past years, fans will be able to bid on their favorite Reading United player’s game worn jersey. New for this year, fans will also be able to bid on the game worn jerseys of members of the Philadelphia Union. The winning bidder will receive the jersey right off the player’s back following the game.