Skip to Main Content

The site navigation utilizes arrow, enter, escape, and space bar key commands. Left and right arrows move across top level links and expand / close menus in sub levels. Up and Down arrows will open main level menus and toggle through sub tier links. Enter and space open menus and escape closes them as well. Tab will move on to the next part of the site rather than go through menu items.

News - Details

Philadelphia International Unity Cup draw raises curtain on summer of competition

June 1, 2023 04:14 PM

unitycup1PHILADELPHIA — The draw for the 2023 Philadelphia International Unity Cup was held Thursday afternoon not far from where another champion will be crowned this fall at Lincoln Financial Field.

The 48-team field was drawn via ping pong balls at the home of the Philadelphia Eagles in the Firstrust Bank Club.

Chris Branscome, chief executive officer of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, one of the sponsors of the event, was among those drawing the ping pong balls to fill out the field.

“The Unity Cup has become one of the premier events in the city,” said Branscome, who is also a member of the Philadelphia Soccer 2026 host committee. “It’s great to have governmental support for our sport. Mayor Kenney has been one of the few publicly elected officials to ever outwardly support soccer in such a great way. We look forward to another great year and many more after that.”

The logo for the Philadelphia 2026 World Cup host city, unveiled at the Linc two weeks ago on a banner featuring USMNT star Christian Pulisic, is emblazoned on the jerseys that will be worn throughout the competition. The Unity Cup and the tournament it’s modeled after are forever intertwined now with the FIFA World Cup coming to the city in 2026.

2023-06-01_13-26-16_857 2023-06-01_13-23-11_706  unitycup2 2023-06-01_13-27-24_091_(1)

Meg Kane, host city executive for Philadelphia Soccer 2026, said “it can’t be overstated how important this event has been to the story of soccer that we’ve told over the last couple of years.”

“It really represents who we are and the welcome embrace that Philadelphia offers to all,” Kane said. “We know that on the pitch the Unity Cup is exciting and competitive but off the pitch this is so much more than a soccer tournament. It’s really a celebration of our city’s diversity and a chance for communities to come together, to honor our differences, to learn from each other and use soccer as a powerful force for good.”

The competition was launched as an initiative out of Mayor Jim Kenney’s office and first staged in 2016. Though Mayor Kenney is leaving office and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation commissioner Kathy Ott Lovell’s participation in Thursday’s draw is one of her last acts as commissioner, the competition isn’t going anywhere.

“Unity is what this is all about,” said Bill Salvatore, Deputy Commissioner of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. “And you don’t have to look any further than when teams walk into the draw, when they walk into the championship, when they walk onto the game pitch, to see how it’s really brought people together.”

USA are the defending champions, having beat four-time champions Liberia 5-3 in overtime last fall. Ivory Coast is the only other team to win the title, winning the inaugural cup at Citizens Bank Ballpark in 2016.