Monday, October 10, 2011

Better Know A Supporters Group – Sons of Ben

We continue our comprehensive coverage of American soccer culture with our series “Better Know a Supporters Group,” just like Steven Colbert’s “Better Know a District” from “The Colbert Report“. 

Our goal: to feature each of the MLS teams’ supporters groups. We’ve sent e-mails to each and every SG in Major League Soccer and soon you’ll be able to check all what each is all about and what awesomeness they have to contribute to our growing American soccer world.

When we devised this idea a while back it was cool to be able to see what each supporter group is about, but in light of the terrible, one-sided, anti-American, condescending profile of Philadelphia’s Sons of Ben SG by the British GQ (not even going to link to it to give them the site hits) we think its all the more important to give supporters groups in Major League Soccer the proper exposure and voice they deserve.

Today… it’s the supporters group that inspired our series, Philadelphia Union’s Sons of Ben.

As told to the Free Beer Movement by Sons of Ben President Matt Ansbro.

The Basics
Photo Credit: Paul Rudderow

MLS Club: Philadelphia Union

Stadium: PPL Park

Year SG Founded: 2007

Section Name (if other than SG name): The River End

Any other SGs apart of your section? The Illegitimates, Bearfight Brigade

Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction): 134 – 140, River Side

The Meaty Questions

Photo Credit: Daniel Gajdamowicz
What are the origins of your groups’ name?

In late 2006, after some long discussions on BigSoccer Ethan Gomberg, one of our original members, suggested the name “Sons of Ben” and it was almost immediately adopted. 

Favorite chants/songs?

Dale Philadelphia and Phindaloo

Another favorite to the tune of She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain: We’re the best behaved supporters in the league, when we win / We’re the biggest bunch of bastards, when we lose.

Why is being in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?

There is nothing quite like sitting in an area you had a hand in designing.  In conversations with the ownership group from the start they wanted to make sure we had our own section set up in a way that would be the best supporters experience in the league and the most intimidating. We, and the team, have accomplished both

Photo Credit: Paul Rudderow
Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?

“Here before the team”.  Sons of Ben was born out of the passion for the game and the desire to have it played in our city.  That started in 2007 when SoB was formed and has continued through today.  Our members are ridiculously passionate about this game, this team.  They bring their energies each and every game, for 90+ minutes, through thick and thin.  We’ll abuse our opponents (and their supporters) the entire game all the while supporting our boys and pushing them on to 3 points.  Other SG’s have done this longer than us, and some of them are pretty good at it, but we would put our short history up against all of them.

Greatest game(s) in team history?

June 27, 2010 vs Seattle Sounders – The first game at PPL Park and our first true home game, win.  It was our first game in the River End.  The first time on our new, beautiful pitch. The first time we all got a glimpse of the energy we could create.  And, most importantly, the first time we were truly a supporters group.

Predictions for this season?

MLS Cup Champion.  Is there really another answer to this question?

Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer?

It’s all ours.  There is a sense of pride in coming to a professional soccer game near home. Many Union fans had never had that feeling and with ticket sales very strong the interest won’t wane any time soon.

US Soccer has travelled light years since their “just happy to be here” qualification for Italy in 1990. The players are getting valuable experiences all over the world and ratings for World Cup & Gold Cup games have grown audiences at rates that make ESPN & Univision take notice.  Lots of people talk about the destination of Winning the World Cup. It may happen someday, but why focus on the future when we are pretty damn good right now.

For more information OR to join the Sons of Ben, check out their website.

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JJ said…

FYI: there are two small SG's that have sprouted throughout PPL, outside of the RIver End – The Bridge Crew and Tammany Saints. Nowhere near the size and intensity of the SOB's, but equally as passionate about the Union. Make no mistake, none of us would even have a team to cheer for if it wasn't for the hard work and determination of the Sons of Ben! DOOP!

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