It’s been a strange and challenging year to cover a soccer team, but we still managed to put out some great content. In terms of page views, these were out most read stories in 2020.
It may be hard to remember that this happened in 2020, but former Philadelphia Eagles player Jay Ajayi signed on as the Union’s gamer for the eMLS Cup events in 2020 and pretty much bombed everything but the initial rollout, which garnered a ton of press for the Philadelphia Union and lots of eyeballs to our site.
How 2020 is it that the Union winning their first trophy didn’t come close to getting the kind of attention signing an NFL player to play a video game not very well did.
As a series, Greg Oldfield’s articles about the 1990 friendly between the USMNT and United German Hungarians outpaced the Jay Ajayi story but part 1 got the most attention of his series. Thirty years later, it’s still incredible to believe that a local amateur team hosted the senior men’s national team in a warm-up for the World Cup in Italy.
Back in early March reports surfaced out of Colombia of the grizzly murder of Juan Diego González, who made seven appearances of the Union in their inaugural season. There hasn’t been much more since then by way of information about the murder and the Union never formally acknowledged the loss.
Aaron Heard was a huge addition to the academy from Maryland in 2019 but after impressing in the 2019-2020 season he decided not to return to the Union Academy for the 2020-2021 campaign.
With soccer shut down for months we joined with our fellow SB Nation sites to do theme weeks. During our Jersey Week, Justin Fisher gave us an enjoyable guide on how to buy jerseys with a name on them.
Stadiums changing names have kind of become a regular thing but the announcement of Subaru’s sponsorship went beyond just giving the stadium its third name after PPL Park and Talen Energy Stadium. The partnership included a number of community initiatives — like the garden outside the stadium — and was a big move considering the scope and reach of Subaru. As a team, the Union won all of their regular season home games too.
The Union acted swiftly in response to fan complaints about a group of fans attending the game against the Chicago Fire in October who were shouting racist and homophobic remarks.
It’s hard to believe this was within the past year but signing Monteiro was something many fans didn’t think was possible after his loan expired and while he didn’t quite make the impact he made in 2019, it was still a big and unprecedented move.
Drew Gobrecht took a look at the offseason moves ahead of the 2020 season. It’s hard to argue any point beyond a definite yes to this question now.
Chambers retiring after the 2019 USL Championship season marked the end of an era but it was especially great news to hear that he was staying on full-time with the academy. Marlon LeBlanc ended up doing more than coaching in the academy as he took over as the interim head coach for Union II after Sven Gartung was let go in August.