While the Union season was finished long ago - this article help remind you when things are happening this off-season. The Waiver draft passed by without any additions, and we already have the schedule released (which sent me into shock). There are still some important dates to keep an eye out for:-
MLS Season Rewards:- Week of December 2nd - 5th.
Dillon Powers already won the Rookie of the Year, but there are some dates with awards to keep in mind.:-
MLS Best XI on Monday, December 2nd - Will there be any Union players thought of? No one on the Union made the MLS Best XI.
MLS Comeback Player of the Year on December 3rd - Conor Casey should be a frontrunner. Casey was beaten out by New England's Kevin Alston, who overcame leukemia this season.
MLS MVP - Will it be SBNs pick of Mike Magee? Will Robbie Keane make up for playoff disappointment or will the MVP award be going to Canada to live in Marco Di Vaio's trophy cabinet? Find out on December 5th. Mike Magee was indeed named MLS MVP
MLS Cup 2013 :- Saturday, December 7th.
The final game of the MLS season and it's the "big one". An interesting battle with no big name teams, but plenty of big name players. Will Real Salt Lake lose both the MLS Cup and US Open Cup finals in the same season? Find out on December 7th. Sporting Kansas City edged out Real Salt Lake in a shootout thriller. Aurelien Collin was named MVP.
Bearfight Brigade's "Jingle Balls" :- Saturday, December 7th.
The Bearfight Brigade are holding an MLS Cup viewing party-slash-toy drive at Stoney's Pub in Wilmington, DE on December 7th. They are requesting new, unwrapped toys that will be donated to Nemours - Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington.
MLS Re-Entry Draft - December 18th
Last year the First Round was December 7th, and the Second Round was December 14th. This was where the Union picked up Conor Casey - will they use that success to chose another player in the Re-Entry Draft? Here's the list of current players available for the Re-Entry draft.
MLS SuperDraft - January 16th
This is yet again being held in the Philadelphia Convention Center - so there is no excuse for a large crowd of Sons of Ben to get there and greet our future players (and maybe give some Red Bull draftees a sign of what is to come). This year is the most interesting SuperDraft for the Union since year 1, as they will have the 2nd, 6th, 25th, 27th, 44th, 52nd and 63rd picks of the draft. There will be Brotherly Game draft previews up in advance of the event, but there is always the chance of some quality picks to improve the squad, and even some spare draft picks to use in trades.
Help Kick Hunger - January 18th
After months of not seeing fellow Sons of Ben members - go along to this great event and get back into the Dooping spirit. Tickets are $40 if you get them in December.
First Training Session - January
It will be the middle of January when the Union players will be returning from the off-season holidays and getting back to the hard slog that is pre-season training. Lots of fitness, sprints, beep tests will be on the menu to get fit after the turkeys of the holiday season.
Transfer Window Opens - February 12th
This is when the rumored big name signings from outside MLS can actually put pen to paper. Who will be the impact player that the Union bring in from abroad?
Pre-Season tour to Florida - February
There will be a repeat of last years tour to Florida - where we should get to see how the new signings and remaining players are going to look on the pitch. While friendlies are meaningless other than to get fitness and get used to one another - it's always good to see the team back on the pitch.
First Kick 2014 - Saturday March 8th at Portland Timbers.
A repeat of first kick 2012, hopefully with a better result. It will be tough, but new season new hope. First home game of the year is the week after against the New England Revolution.