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Becoming a Philadelphia Union Fan

My journey to becoming a supporter of the boys in blue

A sentence with six words was proposed to me the other day, which in turn sent me on a wild memory trip. These six words has my remembering my first year as a season ticket holder for the Philadelphia Union in 2012. That season the U saw the firing of Peter Nowak and the hiring of John Hackworth.

During that time, we had seen plenty of names come through Chester. A former child star by the name of Freddy Adu, who amounted to nothing. Maurice Edu, a man who couldn’t get on the pitch because of injuries.

Plus, who can forget about the goalkeeper drama we had had; 2014 would see the U spend a lot of money to bring in Rais M’Bolhi, who only ended up playing in 9 games before head back home to Morocco.

While those were the beginnings of my Union fandom, my love of the game goes back to years before the Union came into existence.

I played a few years of soccer as a child and one thing I remember from it, was not wanting to do it anymore because I was wearing shorts outside in the fall. That was a stupid reason. The other reason was I was also playing basketball and needed to focus on one sport. I would give up on soccer and move on, but I did keep playing indoor for a few more seasons. Nothing is more fun than kicking a ball off the wall to send it upfield.

Then came the 2006 World Cup, I remember watching a few matches and slowly getting into the game. I watched the final from the break room in Sesame Place surrounded by a bunch of Italy fans. Seeing their passion for this sport really got me thinking about getting back into soccer.

However, like a typical person, it would take another four years for me to get back into the sport. This time saw me watching every game in the basement of my house with the surround sound going. A mistake many people made because of the drowning vuvuzela sounds.

This time around I told myself I would stick with soccer and get back into watching it. It would take another season and a friendly that would bring in Everton to Chester for me to go see a game at PPL Park (now known as Subaru Park). Since that day I was able to convince my brother to become a season ticket holder.

Since becoming a season ticket holder, life has changed. I have since graduated college and moved to different states. The Union’s home has gone through three name changes. But what hasn’t changed is the little family that has developed in Section 140. After moving on to start my career in news, my brother kept his season tickets. He was in the middle of his ninth season before MLS shut down due to the coronavirus.

So in conclusion those six words that someone asked me this week, why I became a Union fan. I can answer it rather simply: family.

How did you become a Union fan? Share your story with us by emailing matthew.r.ralph@gmail.com or posting in the comments below.