Professional soccer will be back in Bethlehem and the Philadelphia Union made things official on Wednesday afternoon at Lehigh University's Goodman Stadium.
The Union held a press conference announcing it will continue its player development structure by launching its own team in the lower division United Soccer League.
Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz was joined by Lehigh University president John Simon and USL CEO Alec Papadakis for the announcement.
The team is expected to play in Goodman Stadium and implements an important element in the club's player development.
Jake Hebert's story is a unique one.
Hebert, one of a handful of talented pitchers on the Northern Yankees' staff, grew up in Missouri and later attended his early collegiate years in Illinois. Just last November, Hebert moved to the Macungie area and transfered to Lehigh Carbon Community College where he plays baseball in the spring.
On Sunday night, Hebert brought the Yankees one step closer to their first Blue Mountain League title after experiencing plenty of success in the Tri-County League.
The Cooperman family has a successful tradition of baseball.
Casey, the oldest of three brothers, just finished a successful collegiate season at Bloomsburg University. Tyler is right in the middle of his journey at DeSales Unversity. And Chad just finished his junior season at Salisbury High School where the Falcons finished a game shy of reaching the district championship. All three share one thing in common success on the pitching mound.
Just a week ago, it looked as if the road to another championship appearance in the Blue Mountain League would be easy for Limeport.
The Bulls, who finished the regular season with the No. 1 seed in the playoffs at 25-11, quickly built a 2-0 series lead against the Northampton Giants. A pitching spectacle from ace Adam Maini in Game 1 led to an 8-0 win. A 7-5 victory the next day brought the Bulls within one win of their fourth championship appearance in six years.
After plenty of success in the Tri-County ranks in recent years, the Northern Yankees transitioned to the Blue Mountain League a year ago with much of the same triumph. In their inaugural BML season, the Yankees were one of the final four teams standing in last year's playoffs.
But a 1-0 series lead in the semifinals against Limeport quickly diminished to a 3-1 series defeat in a matter of days, leaving an uneasy feeling in the Yankees' stomachs.
It may have taken three days and 12 innings of baseball, but Salisbury is headed to the Connie Mack state playoffs.
After Friday's game was suspended due to darkness at 4-4 in the eighth inning, Salisbury and South Parkland resumed play on Sunday with a berth in the state tournament on the line. It took quite a bit of time, but the Falcons' bases-loaded walk by Pete Dubois in the bottom of the 12th gave Salisbury a 5-4 victory and a 2-1 series victory against South Parkland.
Finishing the regular season at 5-12, Salisbury was given two final chances to reach the Lehigh Valley Legion playoffs. The team was included in a three-team playoff to fill the seventh and eighth seeds, thanks to a situation that complicated the season for a number of teams.
It's been awhile since the Salisbury Connie Mack baseball team qualified for the postseason.
But that streak can be put to rest after a stellar regular season that awarded the Falcons the No. 5 seed with a 12-5-1 record. Once the postseason got underway, the Falcons continued that momentum in the opening game of a three-game set against South Parkland.
The task ahead might seem like a daunting one.
Replacing four senior starters, including 1,000-point scorer Meagan Eripret in the middle, is what lies ahead for Salisbury after a successful run in the winter. Many other pivotal pieces in their league and district postseason runs are no longer with the team.
Despite going 9-3 in summer league play over the last two months, Salisbury head coach Jason Weaver would have liked to play a number of the Lehigh Valley's bigger schools to see how his Falcons stacked up to that level of competition.
He got a little glimpse of that over the recent Stellar Construction "Catch A Rising Star" Basketball Showcase that ended on Sunday.