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Why I'm a fan of the Philadelphia Union

SB Nation’s new campaign “Come fan with us” is an invitation for fans to connect with the team sites. Our managing editor Eugene Rupinski tells his story of becoming a Philadelphia Union fan.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the refreshed Brotherly Game! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts section to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

Here’s my story.

I’ve been watching soccer on and off for a very long time. As a child in the early ‘80s, it was the sporadic Tampa Bay Rowdies games from the other side of Florida where I lived. Then it was catching random Mexican league games on Univision. When the World Cup came in 1994, I was sure soccer was here to stay.

But it wasn’t. Not for me at least. The new Major League Soccer didn’t do it for me, and over time I kinda forgot about it. I’d still catch the occasional match from England, Germany, or (especially) Mexico, but as MLS was on fewer and fewer televisions in the US, my interest waned.

Fast forward to 2010. My neighbor had tickets to the Philadelphia Union. I knew the Union were the brand new local MLS team and had thought about getting season tickets, but hemmed and hawed and just decided not to because I didn’t think it was going to be worth it. But she offered and I accepted and went to the opener at PPL Park. It changed my life.

After that match I immediately went home, joined the Sons of Ben, and bought tickets to the next match. I was hooked. I can’t tell you exactly what it was that got me into it so deeply. Maybe it was the drums and crowd participation. Maybe it was because it was close and re-kindled something dormant. Who knows. Who cares.

Over that year and the next couple of years, I met a lot of great people through going to soccer matches. I met my wife there. All of the non-family people at our wedding were people we’d met through watching the Union. My best friends are people I met because I went to a soccer game. I’ve been to weddings of people I met at a soccer game. I’ve also been to a funeral for a good friend I met at a soccer game.

Back in 2012 I started writing about Mexican soccer and was approached to write for a blog. Over time I became an editor, the staff from that blog came here to Brotherly Game, and in 2014 I became the Managing Editor here. I get to interact with thousands of people on a daily basis, talking about something I’m deeply passionate about, all because I went to a soccer game.

I’m not going to bullshit you - it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. I’ve had fallings out with people, and the club has been (to put it as nicely as I can) difficult to watch at times. But I am thankful every day for these things. I am thankful every day for the Philadelphia Union. That’s why I’m a fan. - because without the Union, I honestly don’t know where I’d be right now.

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