Matej Oravec was officially announced as the Philadelphia Union’s latest signing on Monday morning and by afternoon had already inspired a hashtag and a couple t-shirt designs when he accidentally uttered the phrase “sexy season.”
The 21-year-old Slovakian midfielder was trying to say “successful season” in a short video posted to social media, but once the video was out there it quickly became a rallying cry for an engaged fanbase.
The #SexySzn hashtag was born within minutes of the video going up and several shirt designs followed. Doopy Brothers co-host and Brotherly Game contributor Luke McClung, who works as a graphic designer by day, designed one and SOB Tifo Director Ryan Bross had a design done and shirt made in time to wear one to the team’s open training on Wednesday morning. By Wednesday afternoon, a Sexy SZN Saison beer had already been created and added to the menu at the Chester-based Larimer Beer Company.
Soon enough the official social media accounts for the team were also using the hashtag, including for a post after the news of Ilsinho’s return on a one-year contract had been announced on Friday.
Oravec was a good sport about it all, but as with all things on social media not everyone was on board. One fan on Twitter asked it to stop because “it’s fucking dumb” while others pointed out that it had been beat “into the fucking ground.”
Whether it has or even deserves to have the staying power to last a full season or will flame out by the time the boys in blue play their first preseason game against Atlanta United on Wednesday, the fact that so many joined in on the fun and weren’t immediately turning it into something negative is a sign of progress for a fanbase that for once appears to be seeing the team’s prospects as a glass half full.
Finally winning a playoff game is certainly a contributing factor, but faith in Sporting Director Ernst Tanner, Technical Director Chris Albright and company couldn’t be higher.
Where previous regimes have promised to do things differently working within the confines of majority owner Jay Sugarman’s player budget to find hidden advantages, unearth diamonds in the rough and grow from the academy, Tanner has a plan and a track record of building a roster that even with some misses last year gave the team their best season in franchise history.
Year two of rebuilding the team to better suit his vision and preferred style of play has resulted in more departures, but the volume of positive moves — especially with a collective bargaining agreement set to expire — have only stoked the Posidelphia movement among the fans.
Jamiro Monteiro being re-signed for a franchise record transfer fee, Oravec and Jose Andres Martinez being signed before the start of preseason, Mark McKenzie getting a new contract and the hope that year two will see strides from players like Brenden Aaronson, Andrew Wooten and Sergio Santos has Union fans as engaged and expectant as ever.