Tis the season of New Year's resolutions and making promises to ourselves that, if followed, should lead to a better life. The staff here at the Brotherly Game believes there's room for improvement even in our soccer lives. We can even be better Philadelphia Union fans.
I polled the staff here to see if there were ways they wanted to be better fans as they faced the upcoming season. What I found is that this is an extremely passionate bunch, and that passion sometimes breeds beliefs about certain players or facts about the team that they hold onto perhaps a bit too strongly....
Heather kicked off the proceedings with some very logical and fair resolutions. My thoughts in italics.
Heather Reppert: I resolve to give Rais M'Bolhi a shot to show us he is truly a world class keeper and that we are lucky to have him.
I also resolve to give Coach Curtin the benefit of the doubt this season. Maybe. Well, at least the first half of the season.
Nicholas Youngstein I resolve to blindly support the CJ Sapong reclamation project
Nick is so desperate for a striker he is going blind...
John Rossi I resolve not to lose it when Nogueira takes a shot.
John wrote an excellent post last year documenting Vincent Nogueira 's Achilles heal, shooting the soccer ball at the goal.
Jason Kates: Because I have not been the biggest follower of this team, I resolve to become a much more attentive Union fan.
Also, I resolve not to get angry every time Hoppenot is in the game.
Jason is a newbie on the staff and I haven't had a chance to tell him it's okay to hate when Hoppenot is in the game. Heather is with me:
Heather Reppert: Pretty sure that last one is impossible, but good luck.
Eugene Rupinski: I resolve that in 2015 I will stop worrying and learn to love the bomb.
Mr. Rupinski was either catching up on his Kubrick over the holidays or is going to be turning into a kinder gentler Gene next season. Stay tuned.
David Lee: These are meant to be broken, so I'll vow to remain in the closet regarding my newly adopted fanship for Orlando City FC and their acquisition of Amobi Okugo by finding a Danny Cruz jersey at a Goodwill and drinking in the morning.
What David doesn't know is that staffer JC Escobar drives around to all of the Goodwills in the area and buys up the Danny Cruz jerseys.
Frank Cobbina: I resolve that in 2015 I won't be as patient with bringing Zach Pfeffer along slowly. Spot starts and regular substitute appearances.
While I agree with Frank in principle, I looked at a handful of other USMNT U-20 call-ups who play for MLS squads and none of them received more than 820 minutes of action last season. So the Union's slow development of Pfeffer isn't all that unusual. That said, I think this is a great year to work him into the rotation.
Frank bonus response: I promise to be relieved, no matter what, when there are only 2 goalkeepers on the roster. Doesn't matter which two goalkeepers they keep; just get rid of one of them.
Matt Reppert: I resolve to not be so harsh on Curtin...for awhile
That's what we want: Committment!
Andrew Stoltzfus: Last year I resolved to be positive. This year I'm not resolving anything other than being completely honest.
This is all we can ask for here at Brotherly Game.
Douglas Gobrecht: I think I follow the Union perfectly, but maybe I could throw less things when I watch them? That all hinges on Curtin's tactics of course.
Now I need to know which of Curtin's tactics drive Doug crazy....
Barry Evans: I resolve to be ok with playing only 1 striker up top. Oh, and also not breaking any more sunglasses due to Cruz falling over.
Barry Evans: Don't think I can promise that. Way too tough.
Clearly there's a wide range of issues the staff will work on this season. Goalkeepers, strikers, coaching and depth are all on our minds as we enter the new season.
As for me, I promise to be patient with Curtin. He is just thirty-five years old with little coaching experience. The reality is he will have a learning curve. If he is the Union's guy then he is my guy, and it may very well take some time. The important thing this season is to see sustainable progress. If that results in the playoffs then great, but I want it to be something we believe is repeatable and not a fluke.