Don’t let the Texas accent fool you: FC Dallas season-ticket-holder Cory Cipollone is as Philly as they come.
The 54-year-old Philly native has lived in the Dallas area since he was in grade school, but his rooting interest in professional and college sports is all Philadelphia.
“When I go back home they kill me for my accent but around here I’m known as the Philly dude,” said Cipollone, a logistics manager who lives in Allen, Texas. “I even have a Philadelphia Stars (defunct USFL team) sticker on my car.”
An Italian-American with rooting interests in Serie A, Cipollone’s fanaticism for Philly sports dates back to his days living in Philadelphia when he fell in love with all of the local teams, the old NASL Philadelphia Atoms included.
“My dad took me to Philadelphia Atoms games at Franklin Field,” he said. “He weaned me on soccer. Champions League, the Union and all of that stuff is a big deal to me.”
So too of course are his beloved Eagles. When they won the Super Bowl, Cipollone stayed with an aunt in South Philly so he could attend the parade.
“It’s kind of fun being a Philly fan here in Dallas, especially when we’re rolling,” he said. “Because it was the Patriots a lot of people here were weirdly rooting for the Eagles but now they won’t even look at me. I have enough Eagles gear to wear for two months.”
While fellow Union fans aren’t always easy to come by — they only play at FC Dallas every other year — Cipollone hasn’t had any trouble finding fellow Philly sports fans. A Meetup.com group specifically for “Philadelphia Sports Fans of North Texas” has 600 members and a nearby bar has a section specifically for Eagles fans on game days.
Cipollone plans to wear Union colors at the game Saturday night at Toyota Stadium, but he has a small group of fellow Philly sports fans going to the game with him who plan to sport Eagles green.
“I’m probably going to get roasted in the middle of some 10-year season-ticket-holders,” he said. “I don’t think they realize how big of a Union fan I am.”
Cipollone’s love of soccer extends beyond rooting for the Union, FC Dallas when they are playing anyone else and following Juventus and Serie A in Italy. He’s also a soccer coach and has a daughter who plays for an FC Dallas youth team.
He was stopped at a game recently by another fan curious about him wearing an FC Dallas hat and a Philadelphia Eagles shirt. “Are you confused?” he was asked.
The Philly ex-pat is anything but.
“I think you should support the domestic game,” he said. “In my heart I don’t like sitting next to Cowboys fans rooting for their team — I would never root for any other Dallas team — but I want the league to grow and the sport to catch on more here.”
The Union have never won at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, but did get to celebrate advancing to the club’s first ever Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final after a 1-1 draw there on August 12, 2014. In league play at Toyota, the blue and gold have lost four times and played to a 1-1 draw in May 2012.
Cipollone, along with the rest of the frustrated Union fanbase, hopes that changes tomorrow night.
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