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From casual fan to face on a billboard, Sons of Ben capo is all in on the Philadelphia Union

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Adam Booth has become a recognizable figure in the River End over the past couple seasons

Morgan Tencza

In his personal and professional life, Adam Booth considers himself a pretty reserved and private person. But when he attends a sporting event, it’s a different story.

A social media manager in Philadelphia by day, Booth transforms into a guy who yells a lot at soccer games and other sporting events by night.

“It’s really funny because in every essence of the word I’m a really shy kid,” Booth said. “I’m not that much of a loud boisterous person in my day-to-day life, it just kind of comes out.”

He first discovered this alter ego as a student at Saint Joseph’s University when he became a key member of the student section at basketball games, serving as president of the student-run Booster Club.

His involvement with the Union and the Sons of Ben started out much more casually.

“When I started going to Union games, I was one of those people just casually showing up, got tickets on StubHub and would sit all the way across the stadium from the River End but then it was like ‘hey they seem to be having more fun than us,’” said Booth, an Upper Merion native who now calls the city home.

After joining in with the River End crowd, Booth was hooked but it wasn’t until the NYCFC away fixture in 2017 that he took his first turn leading the group.

“They had separated us as a group so some were singing up front but my group wasn’t singing so I started a Will Smith medley just to kind of keep the spirits going,” he said.

Booth caught the attention of Bill Gusler, the Sons of Ben president at the time, who invited him to come up front and lead. Another invite came in the subsequent home game and it eventually led to Booth becoming a capo.

“I’ve pretty much been doing it ever since,” he said.

As one of the regular capos, who spend large chunks of the game with their back to the game straining their voices, Booth’s become a recognizable fixture at games and in the team’s marketing efforts.

“I think the weirdest moment was when I was at a Trader Joe’s, the one in Center City and someone was like ‘is this you?’ and they held up a picture on their phone of me on Twitter screaming,” he said.

Booth’s photo showed up in February on a digital billboard on I-95 and I-76. He found out about the billboard from a friend who told him he almost crashed his car when he saw it.

“He was like, do you know your picture is on a huge billboard on 95 and I was like ‘oh hey cool,’” Booth said.

Voted the co-supporter of the year along with Jeffrey Mitchell, Booth had a chance to talk about the Union and the Sons of Ben as a guest — along with fellow capo Rob Migliaccio — on the Preston and Steve Show on WMMR on Thursday.

“Adam’s a great member of the group, he’s open to everyone and he’s so excited all the time even during the bad times, which is probably the hardest job the capos have when the Union aren’t playing well,” said Sons of Ben President Matt Gendaszek. “Even when he’s negative he’s more positive than most people in Philadelphia.”

Gendaszek said he was thrilled when he spotted Adam on the billboard driving on 95. Sons of Ben capo Cory Furlan was also featured on a billboard as part of the team’s This Is Philly campaign.

“The capos are so important for our game day experience so I’m happy when Adam gets recognized and when our other capos get recognized because it’s really a thankless task,” Gendaszek said. “I give those guys all the credit in the world.”

The capos will be back in action leading fans in the River End on Saturday with Columbus Crew coming to town. The game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start.

Know a Philadelphia Union fan you think should be featured here? Email me at matthew.r.ralph@gmail.com.