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Survive And Advance: Part Three (College Cup)

Dec 12, 2013, 7:22 PM EDT

The Irish men’s soccer team spent their first full day in Philadelphia today after a flight delay out of South Bend (Ind.) last night and a late arrival to the City of Brotherly Love.

Today’s schedule had a little of everything – soccer, media, food, traffic, cold and a banquet – just to name a few.

Thursday began bright and early with an early morning breakfast before heading to PPL Park at 10 a.m. PPL Park, the home of the MLS’s Philadelphia Union, is about a 30 minute drive to nearby Chester, Pa.

Upon arriving at PPL Park, the squad hunkered down in their locker room while the coaching and support staff was ushered around the facility to see medical and media facilities.

A quick media session and field walkthrough followed as the Irish took in the MLS Stadium and rock-hard turf.

After about 30-minutes on the pitch, the entire team minus the tri-captains and Coach Clark headed out to lunch at a local dining establishment.

The tri-captains, Grant Van De Casteele, Andrew O’Malley and MAC-Hermann Trophy finalist Harrison Shipp, and Coach Clark went through a sit down with the production crew at ESPN, including color analyst Taylor Twellman, and got in front of the camera for some colorful moments for ESPN promos (as seen below).

With their carbo-loading complete after their buffet-style lunch, the team headed to YSC Sports for some training in preparation for Friday’s tilt.

Even with a beautiful indoor facility at YSC, Coach Clark determined that the squad should get used to playing outside in the cold as the weather is projected to be near freezing (32* F). One of the proprietors of the facility, Iain Munro, the Philadelphia Union’s Academy Director, was a teammate of Coach Clark’s in the professional ranks over in Scotland.

After a bit of training, the Irish headed back to the hotel to get their suits on for the NCAA College Cup Team Banquet at Citizens Banks Park, home of MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies.

The Irish continue their College Cup trip tomorrow as they take on New Mexico at 5 p.m. at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., on ESPNU.

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