With the Philadelphia Union's past couple of weeks, there's a new sense of cautious optimism throughout large swaths of the fanbase. It seems like the Union are finally doing things right by the fans, who have had good reason to be upset over these past few years. For years there had been calls for the ouster of Nick Sakiewicz, and that happened. And not only did it happen, but he was replaced by Earnie Stewart - a guy who is a proven winner at maybe not the highest level, but at levels far higher than the Union have ever seen. The Union finally finished laying the groundwork to have their long-term vision of a sustainable system of player development by unveiling the missing link between the Union's well-stocked Academy and the first team. Bethlehem Steel FC is also doing everything right, from the new logo that while not universally loved certainly has a good number of people excited, to the hiring of long-time Union assistant and former Reading United coach Brendan Burke - another proven winner.
But with everything there is balance. It's not all sunshine and roses. There are some real challenges that the Union and its fans will face in the coming months. Sons of Ben President Kenny Hanson is stepping down, and while there are some good names rumored to be in line for the job, there's always trepidation during a transition such as this. Change is never easy or comfortable, however I'd ask folks to remember when Matt Ansbro stepped down and no one was sure who was going to replace him. That worked out ok.
There's also issues outside of the stands (imagine that!) that should give fans cause for concern. There are a lot of personnel decisions to be made - decisions we'll outline in an upcoming article. Just going by what we know, I am not envious of Jim Curtin this offseason. There are a ton of hard decisions to be made, and by March we could see an almost entirely different team. Sure, that may mean your favorite player is a bench option or playing somewhere else, but if we're being completely honest here things have to change and this club has to improve during the offseason or else we can expect more of the same on the pitch in 2016 - an option that none of us wants.
Try and remember the sense of optimism you have now when these hard decisions are being made.