I grew up in South Jersey, and played soccer through high school, but was never really exposed to the Premier League, MLS, or even much of the USMNT. My dad grew up in Ohio and he, my mom, and my older brothers lived there before I was born. He indoctrinated us with Ohio State Buckeye fandom, so Saturdays were for College Gameday, watching the Buckeyes and any other college football we could scrounge up. Sundays were for my soccer games. But I never knew the football I played could be watched the same way as football I pined for on Saturdays.
Like many others in this country, I watched the 2014 World Cup intensely. My first memory of the USMNT was Landon's goal against Algeria in stoppage time in 2010, but I was fixated from start to finish last year. I honestly don't remember how I started watching MLS, it might've been a Portland Seattle game at Providence Park where Obafemi had a miraculous run through Portland's backline for a goal. But at some point, I paid like 28 bucks for an MLS Live subscription to watch through the end of the season, and I began watching the Union. Though my family made sure I was a Buckeye, I had loved watching Iverson's Sixers, Donovan's Eagles, Jimmy's Phillies, and sometimes the Flyers. I instantly felt a connection with the team and loved the distinctive gold stripe down the center of the jersey. I vaguely recognized Mo Edu, so he immediately became my favorite. I saw most of their games down the stretch, though I most distinctly remember Rais' insane giveaway against Chicago that effectively knocked them out of the playoff race.
I checked online for any bit of rumors involving roster improvement this past winter, and was chomping at the bit for the home opener against Colorado. I think I've missed 4 games this year. I saw the improbable wins against DC and NYRB in the Open Cup, and fondly remember that early home win against NYCFC.
I consider myself lucky to have a father who made me "bleed scarlet and gray" since I was a toddler, in that I have witnessed 2 national championships. This past one was especially sweet. But I also remember losses to Florida and LSU in final games, where the Buckeyes went up early only to get demoralized late. I was young enough that I either cried or went to my room speechless after the those games, my only consolation that my family was with me in the sadness.
All of this to say, I am stunned at the way I've so quickly clung on to this team, and at how deeply this loss hurt. I've lived in Ohio since the end of high school, where my parents moved after I graduated. I go to college in the state where my beloved Buckeyes play. But Philly is so far away. So I, again, watched a team I love go up early in a final game, only to lose in a way more heart-wrenching than I could have imagined. But this time, I sat alone in my room. No parents or brothers were there to share in the sadness. I am stunned at how upset this loss has made me. I have no desire to go to class or see anyone tomorrow, much less speak, because the Union lost in PKs and life is dumb.
I can only imagine how much more this loss impacted those of you have been cheering and supporting since the club's inception, and it almost frightens me to think what I've gotten myself into. Somewhere in my mind, I hope that the club will eventually make the originals, and even newcomers like me, proud. Right now I just hope they sign Bedoya and some others and make the playoffs next year. Actually, right now, I am just very, very, sad.
Anyway, I haven't posted on here before despite reading quite often, so thanks to the staff who pour so much into this site. I know this rambled on, so if you're here, thank you so much for reading, and thank you for allowing me to be a part of supporting this stupid, dumb, snake-bitten, awesome, lovely, club. I hope that soon we will have something to celebrate.