Union players become students of the game

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Union players become students of the game. Ducis Rodgers reports during Action News at 6 p.m. on June 30, 2017. (WPVI)

The Union's roster consists of players from eight different countries. And that can make communicating a bit difficult.

But the Union are able to overcome that because many of their guys are students of the game -- the language game.

Philadelphia Union soccer is all about hard work, practice and preparation, but for some players when that final whistle blows, the learning process is just beginning.

For the past 3 seasons, the Union have teamed up with the University of Pennsylvania to create a program to help their Spanish speaking players learn the English language.

Christy Shea, UPenn Language Specialist said, "We've seen just a lot of improvement in their confidence, in their fluency, and in their ability to express themselves."

"So grateful for this amazing teacher. I think it's the best teacher in United States," Ilsinho said.

Fabhino added, "I can express, I can talk, I am joking. I can spoke with my teacher, I can spoke with my coach. I'm so happy."

"The majority of what we do helps them with their daily lives. I think it also helps communicate with the guys on the team better. So they understand even the banter a little bit more, and just feel more part of the team," Shea said.

Head Coach Jim Curtin said, "It's been a very powerful program, something I'm happy we were able to start here. And I think very pro sports team in Philly could really use."

Of course, the program is more than about soccer. These are lessons in a new language that will last a lifetime.

"I love soccer. Soccer is my life now. I played soccer since 6-years-old, but I think I English I ring for the rest of my life." Fabhino said.

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