22
May
08

Goooaaallll!!!


Since the late 1800s, pro soccer in Philadelphia has run the gamut from winning franchise to league laughing stock, and from financial stability to down right investment nightmare.  It seems quite apparent, however, the more than 100 years of pro soccer experimentation has finally paid off.

Twelve years after MLS took the field, professional soccer has finally come back to Philadelphia. In February, 2008, the league announced the decision to make the City of Brotherly Love home to its 16th team starting in 2010.  The official word couldn’t have come a moment sooner for Philly’s soccer faithful.
The city just beat out St. Louis in its quest to obtain the pro team.  Philly was able to get all the necessary pieces of the puzzle to fall into place at the right moment–the investors, the State and City Government financial support for a new stadium, and of course, the fan base.  St. Louis had everything but the new stadium deal, and in the end Philly nailed the free kick while St. Louis clanked it off the crossbar. 
No doubt, St. Louis will continue its pro soccer endeavor, and as the MLS plans to continue its expansion over time, they will surely have a team of their own some day.  But, it’s not this day, and what can be more Philadelphian than savoring our moment while St. Louis suffers. 
Getting everything in line to please the MLS Lords wasn’t the easiest of tasks, but if there was one thing the city had all along it’s the fan support.  In 2007, a fan club for a team that didn’t even exist came onto the scene to get the ball rolling for this whole project.  The Sons of Ben was founded by Bryan James, Andrew Dillon, and Dave Flagler.  Since its inception, the club has grown to more than 2,500 members.  They not only lobbied harder than any other group to bring a team to Philly, but have also began a strong drive for committed season ticket holders.
For the fans, 2010 cannot come soon enough.  Regardless of how our nascent squad competes early on, the faithful will be there in force; bringing with them the Philadelphia attitude the locals have come to love and expect for professional sports.  
The Philly force finally provides the MLS the platform it needs for serious success–a true fan base–a Philly fan base.  Let the games begin, and dare I say, Yo! St. Louis, we’ll be waitin’ for ya!

 
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