MLS- Philadelphia Union

The SBI Philadelphia Union Ticket Contest


Are you a Philadelphia-area soccer fan ready to live the dream of seeing your own professional soccer team play in your hometown this weekend? If so, SBI has a contest just for you.

We are giving away two club seat tickets to Saturday's home opener at Lincoln Financial Field between the Philadelphia Union at D.C. United.

How do you win? We want to hear from Philly fans. Tell us in 250 words or less why the Philadelphia Union means so much to you. We will select what we feel is the best entry and announce the winner on Friday.

Submit your entries in the comments section below and be sure to include your email address in the email address section (which won't be seen by the public). The contest winner will be contacted via email on Friday and the tickets will be left for the winners at Will Call at Lincoln Financial Field.

Now, submit your entries below (and if you are not submitting an entry, DO NOT post comments.).

  • Dan C

    The Union mean so much to me because they offer the kids in our soccer club a hometown example of what professional soccer is. Before, the kids played but barely watched as high level soccer was often in another city or in another world to them. The game is the greatest teacher of the game and it being on display will allow them to understand the beauty and passion of the game. It was very refreshing to watch the opener with my daughter and hear her TALKING soccer and LEARNING from the game. It was also great to hear how angry she got when seattle scored! That 90 minutes explained the game to her better then I ever could and the hometown team invoked a passion that hasn’t been there when watching other MLS teams or teams from other leagues. Go Union!


  • Aiden

    A blue collar city–that’s what Philadelphia was. In a move reminiscent to Harlem in the 1920s, Philly is renaissancal.

    The spring air is light and crisp, the sun bright and warm, and the Union in the center of it all.

    We’re amidst a revolution, not just of sport, but of culture. The coming of the Beautiful Game to once-not-so beautiful city, signifies the transcendence of residents to a world culture. A world no longer blurred by country lines or skin color, but rather one embracing foreign cultures and sports.

    Philadelphia is historically a poor city, and with a poor city comes certain obstacles–poor schooling, crime, murder–but throw into the fray a “rich man’s” game and what do you have left standing? Something everyone can be proud of.

    The Union signify not only a step forward in American Soccer, but a giant leap forward in the hearts and minds of Philadelphians. The world is no longer a far-fetched concept–we are now the world.


  • Chris R

    There’s not many things that my dad and I have really in common these days as I grow older, progress through my education, and slowly drift away to start my own life and one day family. However, the one thing we do have is soccer. He loved driving me all over the region to practices, games, tournaments, and getting to watch me play knowing the pure enjoyment it brought me. Me teaching him about the game, he reading books in his spare time in attempts to impress me with knew knowledge; there was always something new to learn and talk about. Now that my club and college career is over and I have been less present in his life due to medical school, the Union is something that has brought us together. He has grown to love and understand the game as much as I have, and as soon as the Union was formed, we knew we needed season tickets. Because of the Union, I get to squeeze in a few valued hours each week to see my dad and watch the games, something I hold in high esteem these days. For all the sacrifice and time he has given up for me, these tickets would be a great start to thanking him for everything. Regardless if I get them or not, no matter the distance that may be put between us in the future, we will be season ticket holders together, for life.


  • Mthawk23

    Why do the Union mean so much to me? Its just another sport we can be the scum in New York, Dallas, and DC in.

    Of course, it means a lot more than the rudimentary hatred of other cities. It means Philadelphia is now on the map. It means that when the Turkish National Team plays the US, the agree to play in Philly. It means when the next World Cup host site is determined, Philly is in contention. Philly is a great city, and to get it put on the soccer map is a tremendous step forward, especially with the world-wide appeal of soccer.

    But also, its not just Philly. This includes the run-down Chester area. Besides the jobs building the new stadium, the Union are also making an effort in the community of Chester by hiring mainly Chester residents for their game-day staff. They are holding a job fair on 4/17 for that specific purpose.

    The best part about the Union is simply that they want to unite Philadelphians young and old, poor and rich around the great game of soccer.

    Join or Die


  • KevinLin

    What do the Union mean to me, a 21 year old with an already crowded sporting fan schedule? They mean the convergence of past and present of my family. Growing up in the Lehigh Valley I had a polish grandfather who worked at Bethlehem Steel. And so in a sense I am bound to recall the glory days of Bethlehem Steel and the days of my deceased grandfather. Why does the Union recall my grandfather and Bethlehem Steel? The incredible story of Bethlehem Steel FC and the entertainment a bunch of polish steelworkers had.

    Now the future is the chance to connect with my sister’s husband. Last year my sister was married in Macedonia to a Macedonian. Macedonia is a small yet soccer mad nation in the Balkans. And since he has immigrated he has worked on adjusting to life in America. We’ve gone to baseball games together, but it is hardly the same and only shows how much of a stranger he is to American culture. But now with the Union I can finally show him professional American soccer in my area and hopefully give him something to be a fan of.


  • Mark L.

    The formation of the Philadelphia Union has been a labor of love. Nowhere in recent sports history has there been such a unique start to a sports franchise. The Philadelphia Union had supporters before they even existed. This passion has spread through the region and now on the eve of the home opener I am as giddy as a school boy. I feel like that kid on Christmas morning waiting for the sun to rise so he can run into his parents bedroom and drag them down the stairs to begin to tear open the various gifts left for him. Saturday is culmination of years of hard work from many dedicated individuals who worked tirelessly to help Philadelphia soccer fans fulfill their dream. That dream is now a reality and I can’t wait to watch our team take the pitch in our city and play the beautiful game again for the first time.


  • Steve D

    What do the Philadelphia Union mean to me? They mean the reward after years of work. They mean finally having a team to call my own.

    They are my reward for pouring over every detail of every Garber speech for years; a reward for sacrificed weekends volunteering at Futbolito, even when I’m not playing. They mean enough to go as away support to MLS games when the Union was still just a pipe dream. They’re payment for dragging my girlfriend out to bars so I could chat up disinterested strangers about a team that doesn’t even exist.

    They mean taking a trip to Seattle when my doctor said my ankle needed more time to heal from surgery. They mean enough to use valuable sick days to go to the team announcement, and the ground-breaking ceremony, and the name unveiling.

    They represent a bright future of road trips and home games, jumping and singing a full 90-minutes until I’m completely horse and my feet cry for mercy. They mean being a part of the avant-garde of domestic soccer. In short, what does the Philadelphia Union mean to me? Everything.


  • Luis F

    Can the winner of this choose to postpone when they get tickets? I think going to a game this season is more of a punishment. Let them have tickets to the 2012 opener or something.


  • ivanov

    The Union has given me a weekly outlet to shout obscenities at Danny Califf. It’s given me a new role model in Toni StÃ¥hl. Since Preki is no longer at Chivas, where else but Philadelphia can I see “tough, hard-nosed football?” Where else will a coach promise me that they’ll be going at people, and that I better get used to it?


  • Luis F

    You could get tickets to a Steelers game, although Nowak’s teams probably tackle harder (with Big Ben as a notable exception – I think he made a great open field tackle on that co-ed in Georgia).


  • Neumannator

    The Philadelphia Union mean so much to me because they will be the continuation of a long family tradition of spending time together through soccer. My earliest memories include going to Veterans Stadium and then the benches of Franklin Field to watch the Philadelphia Atoms from about 1974-76 (from what I remember the last season they fielded a mostly Mexican team but I still got a chance to watch the likes of American icons like Bobby Rigby and Bobby Smith). Then it was back to Veterans Stadium to watch the Philadelphia Fury and to run around (unsupervised) in a 99%-empty stadium with my brother. In fact, the worst years in Metroland at Giants Stadium don’t compare to the crowds for the Fury which I remember being announced at 5-7,000 (except when the Cosmos came to town) but were closer to between 200-2,000—we got to know most of them on a first name basis. One of the highlights was winning forward Pat Fidelia’s jersey at a team dinner through a raffle–nobody knew who he was, but I was a proud 8 year-old.

    While my family and I have spent the last 14 seasons driving entirely too far to be Metro-Red Bull supporters, we are elated to be back home in Philly (ok, it’s Chester but what the hell). This first season we will have 3 generations of family attending games and reviving our home-town tradition.


  • Gino

    It means the first game for my 4 year old daughter and the second game for her six year old sister. She wore an american flag as a dress to her first game – last year’s gold cup final. It means tailgating with neighbors and their kids for hours before kick-off like we used to at Giants Stadium for Cosmos games. It means explaining to the manager at a South Jersey sporting goods chain that it wasn’t a mistake that he got a shipment of scarves in April and that yes, I will gladly take four even though it is going to be in the 60’s this weekend. It means having a built in answer to the question: who do you support? It means I will be buying tickets even if I don’t win.


  • Sal

    I have a slightly different take than the previous posts. The driving force is not the rekindling of an old fire or how history has played a role in my desire for these tickets – it is the game itself.
    Prior to three years ago when I went abroad I had no idea about professional soccer. I played college football and never paid any mind to the game. When abroad I learned of the different culture the fans created and the energy the game possessed, and when I came back to the States I brought the passion for soccer with me. Now with the team at the doorstep, I am die-hard & hooked.
    I believe I deserve these tickets because I represent a demographic that can be influential to the success that MLS reaps in the future. My allegiance has and always will be with the Eagles, but since the day I experienced soccer I was sold. I went from being completely negligent to cruising soccer blogs and forums everyday. I am excited to know that the sport and the team will continue to grow with many more people like myself, who get exposed to the unique atmosphere and become hooked on the experience. If I receive these tickets, I can certainly guarantee that I will help develop that atmosphere in Philadelphia this Saturday and beyond.


  • Go Union!

    Soccer has always been a sport that brings together — and sometimes apart — communities. Philadelphia Union means so much to me as a native son because I feel so connected to the Philadelphia region and all it’s sports teams and culture and history. I’ve now lived for a number of years now in the Washington, DC area and “cheered for” DC United in MLS, going to a few games a year and following them. But the reality is that my heart just wasn’t in it. I ultimately didn’t care whether they won or lost or made dumb moves or anything. It was just a diversion, something to pass the time.

    But then MLS announced that Philadelphia was finally getting a team and it just brought a tear to my eye. Finally, my interest in soccer was being rewarded with a team that represented me and the place I truly feel connected to. I have never watched a soccer game — USMNT, MLS, UEFA, whatever — as intently and with as much enthusiasm as I did the Union/Sounders game 2 weeks ago. Every play, every touch was important to me. I hang on every press release and mull over the roster in vast detail, caring so much about who our third string players would be. I went out and bought a jersey and other “swag” to show my pride and display my loyalty. I have realized in my heart that this is MY team and I’d be loyal to the end.


  • Bernini

    Writing is a loathsome task, for me. I prefer to watch, and soccer is a deeply satisfying visceral experience. It demands my full attention unlike other sporting endeavors. As the match marches ahead in time and space my memory is continuously upgraded and minor scenes that play out early on, like some defensive passing around the back third while the crowd is whistling for attack, inform how I approach later portions of the match. Yes, the goals can be memorable, but it is this relentless layering of seemingly benign action that creates anticipation and provides an unparalleled pleasure.

    In spite of my loyalty to the beautiful game, I am one of those crazy people that does not own a TV. I watch matches online. Little grainy, pixilated videos or steamed live with continuous interruptions. I have a Septa token. I am ready take the Orange line to the Linc and visit my Union. I want to watch, live.


  • Josh F

    Growing up in central Pennsylvania, one only hears either constant talk about the Eagles or the Steelers. As a soccer fan (mainly international)its frustrating to hear how soccer doesnt have a place in the U.S. or how nobody seems to care about the USMNT and the impact they could have(have had) on a global scale. I’ve never been to a MLS game. They’ve always been too far away for me to travel or to afford. I must confess that I’m also a little bit guilty of paying less attention to MLS than european clubs. When I heard Philly was getting a club I swore that I would go see a game, that instead of listenting to incessant Eagles/Steelers drivel at work I would talk incessantly about the Union! I’ve even joined the mfls for the first time in order to give me incentive to cheer on the mls this season and support the movement, as any american soccer fan should i now realize. i know i’ll never see a world cup match, or even a european match. I really cant afford it. What I would like though is to see the next set of young stars that could potentially make an impact on the world stage. anyways I’ll still be routing for ’em. I would love these tickets and see Mwanga start! Thanks for the chance Ives!


  • Dytmus

    As a youth I came to rely on soccer more than anything else in my life. I grew up with an abusive father. When push came to shove the few hours a day that I could escape my torn home life I spent honing my skills. Soccer taught me how to be independent through the mastery of self. Soccer also taught me that I could trust others through a common goal. As soon as I could I blew out of that small town and started a life in the great capital of PA. While I must admit I have all but lost the skills that I had honed in my adolescence, I still carry the life lessons soccer has taught me.

    Living in Harrisburg is great we have always had a great soccer tradition with the Harrisburg Heat(indoor), and the Harrisburg City Islanders(USL). When I recently heard that the City Islanders announced their partnership with the Union I was ecstatic. At that point I started following the Union and I must say I’m impressed. I would love to go see Saturdays match against DCU. Make it happen Ives!!


  • Barry Dehlin

    I’m a recent transplant to Philadelphia without a lot to tie me to the area other than my in-laws. For the major pro sports I’m a slave to my Michigan roots, so I can’t really identify with the Phillies, Sixers, and Eagles given my allegiance to the Tigers, Pistons, and (God help me) the Lions. Since we’ve decided to settle here for life, I’m pretty much set up to be an sports outsider for the long haul.

    So the Union give me a chance to establish my bona-fides and connect with the local sports fans, right? Well, not really…the typical Eagles fan is still probably going to laugh off someone who wants to talk Union “football.”

    But there will be some fans to connect with. And, for someone who still doesn’t really know how to pronounce “Schuykill”, who’s indifferent to cheesesteaks (I’m trying), and who’s never seen Rocky all the way through (yes, I’m embarrassed), this is a chance to bond and identify and own at least one part of the Philly experience.


  • Peter

    It marks the arrival of a club team here in Philadelphia that I can truly support with all of my heart. For years, I was just a passionate U.S. National Team fan without a club. No club made me feel so angry and down like their 1998 and 2006 World Cup performances, and yet so excited during the 2002 World Cup and the impossible Confederations Cup comeback.

    Some support powerhouses like Real Madrid, but I cannot. I would feel indifferent during expected victories with occasional bouts of sadness when they lose surprisingly. It was a no-win situation.

    When I vacationed in Spain and watched Atletico Madrid, I thought I had an underdog club like the U.S. However, my temporary allegiance evaporated two weeks after the vacation. I could never really relate to their rivalry with Real Madrid since I never lived there.

    As a U.S. supporter, I was a bandwagon fan of Fulham when they had five Americans on the team. Once Fulham cleared themselves of Americans outside of Clint Dempsey, I just did not care about them that much.

    So I continued rooting for the U.S. when I moved to Philadelphia. Luckily, I ran into the Sons of Ben at a pub. These guys made me feel at home. A vocal, fun-loving group that faithfully followed the U.S. yet simultaneously brought a club team here in my new home of Philadelphia that I can now truly root for.

    I’m stickin’ to the Union ’til the day I die!


  • Rod Hood

    Respect. Philadelphians often feel that they are living beneath the penumbra cast by both New York City and Washington D.C. Those who live in Philadelphia feel that the city is just as important economically, culturally, and athletically as the cities to our north and south. Frankly, it was somewhat of an embarrassment that it took Philadelphia this long to field an MLS team. This Saturday at 6pm, however, we will no longer have to answer the question why it took so long to deliver professional soccer to the Philadelphia region. And the hope is that the Union will not only be embraced by our city of Philadelphia, but be respected by the rest of the MLS and even globally.


  • Doktor Amor

    The arrival of MLS soccer to Philadelphia means so much to me personally and to all Philadelphians in general. The Philadelphia Union is not just a soccer team, it is a representation of our city and our community to the rest of the country and hopefully the rest of the soccer world. I play soccer with a bunch of weekend warriors in Northwest Philadelphia. We come from all over the city each Sunday to play our hearts out and to emulate all that we see on TV. We have players who are originally from all over the globe and we too have formed a union. Until the Union formed, we would debate which MLS team was better, but now we have a team that we can all support and cheer on together. I think the team will eventually rise to the highest level of MLS play because Philadelphians expect only the best out of their teams because their teams represent the City. To be in the stadium for the first home game would be the greatest gift of all.


  • Doktor Amor

    One other thing – If I can get those tix, then I will be able to purchase the jersey with money saved on the cost of tickets. Then I will be able to support the Union all 7 days of the week, not just game day!


  • Jon T

    It means I can finally care about the MLS. While DC and New York are close enough for me to support, cheering for either would cause significant moral and ethical problems in light of my strong Philadelphia up bringing. I now have a team to call my own.

    It means that I don’t want to win this contest. I put in for my season tickets over a year ago, and I have been counting down the days unti tomorrow.

    Go UNION!! DOOP!


  • Michael D

    I am a huge fan of the US MNT. And I’ve been wanting to be a huge fan of MLS because I think its important for American soccer to have a quality top-level domestic league that can compete with other top-level leagues around the world.

    But I find soccer much more fun to watch when you have a rooting interest. For that reason, I follow the news on international leagues, but don’t really watch the matches on TV because I don’t care who wins or loses. Up to now, it was same with MLS (ok, I will always root against a New York team, in any sport or any league, but rooting against a club is not as fun as supporting one).

    So the Union means I can finally release my inner MLS fan who was screaming to be released.


  • Charles

    I believe it is the Don’t Tread on Me symbol.

    Nice job with the essays, I hope that the Philly fans enjoy/support their team for centuries to come.


  • Burgandy Holiday

    There once was a union maid, she never was afraid

    Of goons and ginks and company finks and the deputy sheriffs who made the raid.

    She went to the union hall when a meeting it was called,

    And when the Legion boys come ’round

    She always stood her ground.

    Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union,

    I’m sticking to the union, I’m sticking to the union.

    Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union,

    I’m sticking to the union ’til the day I die.

    This union maid was wise to the tricks of company spies,

    She couldn’t be fooled by a company stool, she’d always organize the guys.

    She always got her way when she struck for better pay.

    She’d show her card to the National Guard

    And this is what she’d say

    You gals who want to be free, just take a tip from me;

    Get you a man who’s a union man and join the ladies’ auxiliary.

    Married life ain’t hard when you got a union card,

    A union man has a happy life when he’s got a union wife.

    -Lyrics to “Union Maid” by Woody Guthrie.

    I am a Union Maid and I will live and die by these lyrics!


  • dan c

    SFG, the rattle snake was used by Ben franklin in his pamphlets urging the colonies to Unite and rebel. Often depicted in 13 seperate parts, it was the early symbol of the fledgling Union and represented what they could become. The Philly Union site does a great job of explaining the crest and colors of the Philly Union and the historical context of them. Go to their website for an interesting read and history lesson!


  • Jay D Clark

    Soccer is the world’s sport and helps connect people of all nations on Earth as much as anything possibly could. It can bring peace to warring nations and tribes as they battle on the pitch. One can learn about places they’d never be exposed to by following their favorite players and national or club teams. We, the soccer players and fans of America, have long had to live in the shadows of major sports entertainment. We have dealt with the ridicule of mainstream media pundits disrespecting us and the Beautiful Game that the rest of the world enjoys passionately. We have dealt with their ignorance too long in Philadelphia without an outlet for our voice to be heard. I’ve been a fan of MLS since it’s inception but usually cheered for the home team to win so that paying fans would go home happy. No longer. Now I root for the Philadelphia Union, against the soccer haters in my own hometown and against MLS fans across this continent. The Union means to me that Philadelphia is connected to the world’s sport finally. We are the Union and we will be heard!!


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