Philadelphia to be awarded 16th MLS franchise

The wait is finally over Philadelphia, Major League Soccer is coming to your city.

MLS has chosen Philadelphia to become the league’s 16th franchise, sources told SBI on Wednesday night. The announcement is set for next Thursday.

Philadelphia beat out St. Louis for the right to join the league, helped in no small part by the state of Pennsylvania’s decision to approve $47 million in state funding for a proposed $115 million stadium in Chester, Pa.

The Philadelphia team is slated to begin play in 2010.

So why Philadelphia instead of St. Louis? The St. Louis expansion drive slowed in recent months as efforts to attract big-money investors proved difficult while Philly’s push for public stadium funding provided the final boost for the efforts.

Don’t fret St. Louis, there is always being No. 17. The city’s chances for eventually joining MLS look good and a city with as much soccer history and love for the sport as St. Louis will surely make its way into the league sooner rather than later.

As most SBI readers know, I have long considered Philadelphia as the ideal candidate for expansion. Not only because of the area’s soccer history, but also for the rivalries that will be instantly created with D.C. United and the Red Bulls. The fact that fans of two established MLS teams will be able to drive two hours to an opposing team’s stadium is invaluable for cultivating the sort of fan connection that will help MLS grow.

What do you think of this decision? Did you like Philly as a candidate? Are you upset St. Louis lost out? Was there another city you had in mind? Share your thoughts below.

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78 Responses to Philadelphia to be awarded 16th MLS franchise

  1. Congrats to Chester/Philly. I will definitely try to make it to some games down there. Another stop for the I95 rivalry!

  2. DuPont Mike says:

    In other news, the sun will rise in the East… Just kidding, this seemed inevitable. Congrats to Philly!

  3. Sean says:

    Congratulations to the Sons of Ben (et al) for this win. The DC/Philly/NYNJ triangle should be a great series of rivalries.

  4. Lee says:

    Love it. Not sure if I’ll follow them or not, but excited to see a team 2 hours away.

  5. vasco says:

    Yes, this is cool.

    while i will attend they can only be team 1B

    DC forever go black & red

  6. Steve says:

    Good news! Philly seemed like an obvious choice. I still hope St Louis comes in the league too, they would instantly create good “driving-distance” rivalries with Chicago and KC.

  7. George Griffin says:

    When you talk about the natural rivalries that adding Philly will set up don’t forget New England. Having four teams within driving distance on the East Coast will make for all four natural rivals,

    I can see a “Liberty Cup” being awarded to one of four for being the top seed at the end of the regular season.

  8. NewFoundMadness says:

    Welcome, Philly! Dallas promises to have at least one good defender available in the expansion draft by then. ;-)

  9. Brian Zygo says:

    Congratulations to Philadelphia, a city much deserving of an MLS franchise. For those that don’t know, Philadelphia, with its Lighthouse Soccer Club is an important part of soccer history in this country.

  10. michael says:

    With the momentum they gained during build-up to earning the team Philly (much to my chagrin) seemed a more natural choice as investors in an STL franchise seemed to thin out. Either way, the STL NEEDS to be in this league; the battle over I-55 (Chicago/STL) needs to happen. Closer road rivalries will give this league a real chance at survival and flourishing.

    Either way, congrats to the SOB’s in Philly, as of today you’re no longer “1000 fans of nothing”.

  11. UPPER 90 says:

    CONGRATS TO PHILLY… THE TIMES I HAVE BEEN THERE FOR SOCCER EVENTS IE; NSCAA CONVENTION/DRAFT HAVE BEEN TARRIFIC AND WELL RECEIVED. I ALSO THINK HAVING A MIND LIKE NICK.S. BEHIND IT ALL WILL HELP. HE KNOWS THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN THE BUSINESS TO START A FRONT OFFICE.
    CHEERS!!!

  12. PKTaker says:

    i liiiiike

  13. spiny norman says:

    Great; i’ll look forward to driving down there and being as obnoxious to them as they were to Revs supporters at the MLS cup.

  14. Rob C says:

    Congrats, Philly…

    I can’t wait to absolutely destroy this team, on the field and in the stands…

    Vamos Metro!

  15. Johnny says:

    I’m from philly and I love it! I wonder how many people drive up to New York for Red Bulls games from Philadelphia. Will this have a negative effect on Red Bulls ticket sales? I bought a NYRB ticket 4 pack last year, but will now hold out until the team in Philadelphia starts up.

  16. aristotle says:

    What happened to St. Louis?

    Before San Jose, Seattle, and Philadelphia, St. Louis was a “lock” to be the next expansion team. What is it that changed so much that the league is now at sixteen teams, but St. Louis still doesn’t have a team. Did the group in St. Louis run into trouble? I never heard anything.

    This has to be bad news for St. Louis because MLS has also stated in the past that after they got to sixteen teams that there would be a period of no expansion. Unless this is just another thing that the MLS likes to say, and then change shortly thereafter, St. Louis could be left out in the cold.

    I feel bad for St. Louis but MLS should stick to their guns on this one and not allow any more expansion for an extended period. Just looking at the expansion of San Jose this year you can see that the league’s talent is being spread too thin. The situation is made even worse by the fact that so many players are leaving MLS.

    I can’t wait for the time when we have as many teams as a standard league around the world, but if this is rushed and the league ends up fielding teams of 1996 quality, the league may find itself going in the wrong direction again. Survival should be first. If something were to happen to this league I don’t think you would ever see another one here.

    From this point on if a city wants to join the league they should look at strengthening the league by moving one of the weak teams that seem to be a drag on MLS like they did with San Jose. I think we all know who would be first in line to be moved. A team should be able to attract a minimum of 10-12 thousand on average. I don’t think just building a stadium is sufficient to solve a team’s problems if they don’t have the support.

    It’s great to have Seattle and Philadelphia in the league, finally. Based on tradition and support you would have expected them to have been amongst the first teams. How about the names? Sounders and Atoms? I never liked the Atoms, but I also hope it isn’t something corny like the Freedom that the women’s team went with.

    Long live MLS!

  17. ajr says:

    why not in 2009 with Seattle… so its even teams

  18. J says:

    This is great news! I am a bit disappointed they won’t start play until 2010 though. I won’t even get into the whole Seattle discussion. However, if I’m Philly, why not seriously look to start a PDL or USL 2 team as a feeder team for 2010? Also, I would do the same for St. Louis. Get a PDL team going, get crazy fan support, show the league the city can more than support it…etc. etc.

  19. Doug says:

    “Are you upset St. Louis lost out?”

    Hell yeah I’m upset St. Louis lost out! I gotta believe we’ll still get something done though. We’re the only other option with everything in place.

  20. aristotle says:

    Doug:

    St. Louis has everything in place? That’s a little hard to believe. MLS wanted a team there and I think they would have been the 14th team if they had everything in place.

  21. stencom1 says:

    If you take funding out of the equation and I know thats the biggest driver between St Louis and Philly (St. Louis would have eventually made it happen)

    I think there’s no comparison. St.Louis blows Philly away in soccer history and culture!!!!!

  22. Alex says:

    What happens with the St. Louis stadium approval now? With no team coming, will the locals change their mind on building the stadium. A lot of money and political clout has already been expended in StL. Has the MLS given StL any promises? Is the MLS assisting the local StL group in finding more investers? Or…is MLS using StL as a moving option for any current lacking MLS organizations? Several clubs need stadiums…. Somthing is fishy about this whole thing.

  23. Dan says:

    I live in the Philadelphia suburbs and I think this is great news. Philadelphia is home to the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association, which represents nearly 200,000 players. I am quite sure that among these 200,000 youth players, quite a few will become MLS fans!

  24. Q says:

    Ok, major problem here. I’m from Philly and live in DC. I only root for DC b/c Philly had nothing. Now they do and I’m screwed. I can’t stand any of the other DC teams. Will this happen with United also? Oh no…

  25. rocky says:

    good for philly they def. deserve a team. Miami should be next im a huge supporter of the cause. their is a lot of rumbling about the matter here, so lets hope something happens because with the latino flavor in miami,it could be great.

  26. Doug says:

    The only reason St. Louis does not have a team is because of market size. It’s not as big as Philly or Seattle, so the league wants to go there. I don’t blame them. Good for those cities.

    As for investors, the investors are there. MLS wants as deep of pockets as they can get, so they are pushing for more investors. I don’t really blame them there either. But if MLS wanted to award St Louis a team today, the investment money is there.

    As for the stadium deal, this is something that is unclear. How long before the city says enough, and pulls the deal. The stadium and everything else is a go – as long as MLS gives the ok.

    Congrats to Philly, though.

  27. Hincha Tim says:

    To St. Louis:
    If the only problem in getting franchise is truly finding investors then why not follow a Barcelona/Green Bay Packer and get, say, 60,000 people in the area to ante up $1000, (which would initially raise $60,000,000) to be members, then, say $100/year member dues (which would raise $6,000,000/year)? You wouldn’t have to wait for a deep pockets investor, the team would be owned by the fans. If soccer is as popular in St. Louis as is commonly claimed, I think that finding 60,000 people who want to partially own a a local soccer team might not be too far of a stretch. Has this been considered?

  28. aristotle says:

    rocky:

    Uh….Miami? Miami should be next? It could be great? Yeah, it’s a shame they don’t give Miami a chance. They should be next on the list. I have to go because I can’t type and laugh this hard at the same time. Thanks for the laughs!

  29. aristotle says:

    Doug:

    Market size? Why would MLS have ever been so interested in St. Louis in the first place if they are concerned about the market size? It’s not like it has changed. I think I would lean more towards the investment issue.

  30. denz says:

    Way to go Philly, a good addition to the league. For the St. Louis fans, sorry I understand the history and tradition there, but you lost out on a MLS franchise when RSL got stadium funding. There are other cities with funding, planning, and fans that are also waiting for a team. I actually hope that MLS stops the expansion for a couple years to allow the league to adjust to 4 new teams in 4 years, with the current player restrictions and MLS tight fisted control of teams, we are reaching towards the bottom of the US talent pool.

  31. Speedball says:

    Good for them. It’s time to update http://www.phillysucks.com

  32. kpugs says:

    This is awesome news for my scumbag south jersey friends (no offense to south jersey people–my personal friends down there actually are scumbags).

    It will be nice to finally have a team close enough so that I can make it to every single away game there.

    And the next franchise shouldn’t even be a discussion…it should be St. Louis. It’s undebateable.

  33. soccerroo says:

    I am disappointed that St Louis did not get the team. I hope that Philly will support this team as passionately as they do the Eagles. That would make for some great atmosphere at games.

  34. Frimp says:

    Good for Philly, rivalry will be sweet for those in the area and for the league in general.

    That said, if Philly get a stadium before NYRB (I know it’s seen some progress) I’m going to p**p myself. Go Bulls!

  35. J1m says:

    Congrats to the SOBs. I look forward to a great rivalry.

  36. Matt says:

    Bring it on! Roadtrip!!

  37. Moneyball says:

    If fans for other Philly sports are any indication, we could have a monster on our hands. They booed Santa Claus. Prepare for American hooliganism.

    I’m a transplant from an area with no MLS team and now living in Philly, but I used to live in Philly and work for RBNY, so this could present an interesting dilemma.

  38. JC says:

    Don’t forget Miami. Good news for Philadelphia soccer fans I hope Miami will get a expansion team in 2011.

  39. Moneyball says:

    The second “Philly” in my post should read “Jersey”. Oops

  40. MM says:

    Congrats Philly. Ben would be proud. Hopefully St. Louis is next in line. It’s a Missouri Derby!

  41. J says:

    oh man here we go…Miami? STL, Vancouver, Portland, heck Montreal should all be ahead of Miami.

  42. Derek (Brooklyn) says:

    Great news! I’ve been waiting for this day for a while now. I am looking forward to sitting in that beautiful new stadium under the Commodore Barry bridge in 2010.

    Good luck to St. Louis going forward. A great soccer city with a good stadium plan…they deserve an MLS team.

  43. EastLAChiva says:

    Bien hecho, Filadelfia!! (Spanglish spelling)

  44. Neumannator says:

    I’ve said it before, as a Philly area resident and a Red Bulls’ season ticket holder, I have a tough decision to make. The history of idiocy of the front offices of Metro and now Red Bull will figure in big time when I make my decision. A new coach and a new direction every season has not been a recipe for success. I guess I will give it 2 more years as a season ticket holder. Will there be success in Metro/Red Bull Land? If not, I’m gone.

  45. Tom says:

    Congrats to Philly, grew up and learned to play in that city. Well deserved for an awesome soccer city!

  46. Mark says:

    Congrats Philly. I’m looking forward to some good east coast rivalries.

  47. Tony in Quakeland says:

    I am disappointed that my wife’s ancestral homeland, St Louis, did not get a franchise, although it would be stunning if they don’t get number 17 (or 18 with a pair of cities).

    The conspiracy theories are looking a little too hard. It was obvious that MLS wanted Philly (market size, rivalries, prestige, etc.) and was simply going to wait until they had the deal. Anyone who is shocked at the announcement simply wasn’t paying attention.

    St Louis is next…

  48. Joamiq says:

    Congrats to Philly. This will actually make the SOB less annoying.

    I know this seems like a long shot, but I really hope Atlanta is next. Soccer fans in the South are dying for an MLS team…

  49. aristotle says:

    Tony in Quakeland:

    That would be too many teams. The league is going to have to transform into a US/South America/Africa league to fill all of these rosters.

  50. ugh to philly.

    now MLS gets to taste what the rest of the country all knows – Philly fans are *!&@*&!(@*@$*@!) and *!)(#!)$@(*@ and also !*$!*!)#!ers.

    I would like to see the next team in St. Lou. They appreciate their teams and support them.

    And Maybe even another trip to Miami would be a way to go. If they use Gallindo as their centerpiece of course . . . .

  51. David Berger says:

    As a Red Bull fan I like this. Another rival!

  52. Doug says:

    Aristotle-

    link to web.mlsnet.com

    “MLS plans to expand to 16 teams by 2010 and could feature as many as 18 clubs by 2012.”

    They’ve been saying something along these lines for some time now.

  53. Phillaayyyyyyy says:

    I was hoping Philly would get the next franchise. We could have a 3-way rivalry with United, the Bulls, and the Untitled Philly Project.

    Congrats everyone from the Philly area! I hope you beat the Red Bulls a lot, but play like crap against United!

  54. Derek (Brooklyn) says:

    Stay classy Dave Martinez…

  55. Let's go to Oregon!!! says:

    Here is how it should be after Philly (in terms of expansion teams):
    Portland, Montreal, St. Louis, Miami, NOT NEW YORK!!!
    reasoning:
    Have any of you SEEN those Timbers’ fans? And that’s just for USL!!
    Montreal has an insane amount of French people. The French like soccer. Look at the success in Toronto. I don’t know, maybe it will be similar.
    St. Louis is too close to KC for me. And KC is going to play 3 years in a minor-league baseball park, seating about 10k. Yeaaaahh.
    Miami- ehh. Maybe, if they try to attract the right crowd (the Latino population).
    NY- YOU HAVE A TEAM!!! IF YOU DON’T WANT TO ENDORSE RED BULL, ROOT FOR THE REV’S, PHILLY, UNITED, TORONTO, CHICAGO, COLUMBUS, SAN JOSE, REAL SALT LAKE, COLORADO, FC DALLAS, HOUSTON, KANSAS CITY, OR CHIVAS!!!! (That’s 12 other options, not including the Galaxy, who are a joke).

  56. Tom Beck says:

    As a Metro/Bulls fan since day 1 in 1996, I couldn’t be happier to see Philly land a team in MLS. My girlfriend lives in Philadelphia, so I imagine I’ll be taking her to games in Chester (as well as the Meadowlands and, hopefully soon, Harrison). Rivalries are what makes sports so unnervingly exciting – the more in MLS, the better. I’ll be cheering for FC Philadelphia (except when they play the Red Bulls, of course) – and especially when they play (and hopefully demolish) the Scum. Congrats!

  57. Gene says:

    Congratulations to Philly, it will be good to have an even number of teams in the league.

    I am hoping that at this point, the league stops the expansion for a few years to allow the level of talent to grow to evenly fill out these rosters with good competitive teams. Ultimately, there may be a place for 1-2 more teams (Portland, San Diego, or St. Louis), but expansion needs to be gradual.

  58. Sean H. says:

    Does anyone know how many members Sons of Ben has? I hope this team is well-supported.

  59. brentmcd says:

    suppose this pre-empts new york from getting a second team…?

  60. donovan says:

    This is great. I’ve always found it hard to support a team in MLS when they weren’t in my area. DC is like cheering for Redskins. It never really felt right. Philly fans tend to be die hards, so I’m sorry that Philly will now have a 5th major sports franchise to disapoint fans every year. We Philly fans are so used to futility, its inevitable they will suck. I just hope Comcast sports covers this team like they cover the other Philly sports. If the Philadelphia Soul (arena league football) gets more press, I’ll be seriously irritated.

  61. Mike Caramba says:

    I still feel Portland is deserving of a team. It’s a shame it hasn’t worked out…they’ve already got better support than a good portion of MLS

  62. DreamTeam says:

    Great to see it happening! Philly was the best choice right now for a franchise and they will create a rivarly with all other mid-Atlantic teams. Soccer history and sports fanaticism is a natural in that city. Now I’m curious to see what they will call the team, although I’m sure that announcement won’t be made until 2009. And it’s true about Philly futility. Though I could see this franchise winning hardware long before the Eagles/Sixers/Flyer/Phillies

  63. Alex says:

    For “Let’s Go Oregon”, St. Louis is about 4 hours by car from Kansas City, or, about an hour longer than the distance between Seattle and Portland.

  64. AR says:

    This is great news for Philly, but as a supported of the STL team (being from that region and with STL representing an MLS game I could actually get to) I feel bit cheated. The STL group had TIF funding, had a group, and had a stadium plan…they just didn’t have Philly. And, I think it is a bit disingenious for the MLS to play other cities off the immediacy of the STL bid in order to get them in the game. If NY2 or Florida hits MLS before STL, we’ll know for sure what’s going on. For now, I’m dissapointed, but hopeful that we’re next…

  65. Travis says:

    Sons of Ben recently just had member number 1,400 sign up.

  66. John says:

    St. Louis would be a waste of time. Spare me the violin audio on history and tradition. Soccer in America has no tradition, and is largely irrelevent for media partners.

    The only way MLS will ever become a major league is to increase its compensation to players… the only way that happens is if media revenue increases.

    The MLS needs to be in the largest DMAs if it wants to increase media revenue. Atlanta, Detroit, Tampa, Phoenix and Minneapolis should be the only considerations. Anything lower than a top 15 DMA is just a waste of time.

    For example, having Toronto in the league is a complete waste for television partners, and no one is clamoring for KC, Columbus or Real Salt Lake to be on their broadcast schedule.

    Go big, or expect the media payout per team to remain at around $2MM/yr (its not a coincidence that is the salary cap).

  67. Mike O says:

    Good comments. Obviously the MLS wanted Philly to get in first considering it’s around the 5th largest market in the U.S. (depending how that’s counted). STL is a good market and centrally located and has a good soccer base. However the city has been decimated by population and industrial loss and the region has hardly seen Sun-Belt type growth though like KC it seems to be finally recovering a bit. It seems natural that STL should receive the next franchise in 2012 if it can maintain and move forward its momentum towards a stadium.

    To the insinuation that KC should move because of its paltry fan base I understand but still disagree. Part of the fan problem there probably has to do with the continental climate which makes it insanely hot and humid in summer alternating with freezing weather well into the transitional seasons along with all the frequent thunderstorms and tornadoes. Unfortunately, Kansas City (and I lived there for a couple years) seems to have 2 to maybe 3 months of decent weather year round.

    Seriously, though, if the MLS can hang tough and grow its league OUTSIDE of just its traditional soccer hotbeds (i.e. large coastal cities with large Latino and other immigrant populations) I believe it benefits the DEPTH of the league’s support in the U.S. How better to do that then making the game relevant in NFL/NASCAR country? That will in turn give the league a better chance of survival in the long run. Additionally, KC ties the league together a little bit more geographically between teams that are otherwise even more spread out from each other (one of the biggest challenges for soccer in the U.S.). KC has a small but loyal fanbase that seems to be growing slowly but steadily. The Wizards’ success on the field has helped and if/once the stadium is completed it should help stabilize brand-name and local support (cavernous Arrowhead was one of the WORST places in MLS to see a game). I like how the Wizards new motto, “The World’s Game, Kansas City’s Team” identifies the team as one that’s local but part of something bigger.

  68. patrick says:

    I congratulate Philly on getting a team. I don’t think St.Louis should get an expansion team, they should take KC’s team, since no one cares about that team anyway. Two teams in the state of Missouri wont work. Other areas deserve it more than them. I think Montreal, Miami, and Vancouver deserve a team more. Since MLS doesn’t want to go above 20 teams, the only realistic solution is a relegation/promotion system to USL-1. I also think greater cooperation between USL and MLS well help soccer succeed on the professional level and create a soccer map like England. I don’t like this franchise system, you never get punished for playing bad.

  69. Dan says:

    Nah, you have to stick with franchises. Lotta people plunking down good money to be in MLS… gonna tell them now they’re losing 99% of that revenue by going down?

    Absolutely not.

    Plus, I don’t believe MLS could find 32-36 viable cities (excluding the odd two-team market) to do two divisions with!

    My guess is MLS goes to 18 or 20 teams and stops there for a while, maybe eventually adding a couple more to do NFL style conferences.

  70. papa bear says:

    @Posted by: Johnny | February 21, 2008 at 09:13 AM

    It would be pretty hard to find anything that could possibly hurt RBNY’s attendance more short of them renaming themselves the ‘I [[hear]] killing babies FC’

    St Louis and Milwaukee would be another nice 3 way rivalry with Chicago that already exists in the other sports here. Seems to make sense to me. Sure it excludes the SE but sports in general (outside of college) haven’t had the greatest track record down there.

  71. Columbus1996 says:

    I agree its great to see philly get a team
    but i also think MLS needs to cool off the expansion. Everyone seems to forget just a few years ago MLS was retracting its teams in the south due to poor attendance and money. Also For everyone who says Miami needs a team did you forget that they HAD a team. And that team had the worst attendance in the league, Miami sports fans are terrible, not one of their teams has good attendance in any sport.

    And as far as promotion and relegation goes that would kill MLS. It’s a completely foreign concept that most Americans wouldn’t go for. Once MLS gets too twenty they should stop, USL can build up the lowers leagues and i’d love that, promote and relegate all it wants but that would kill the MLS.

  72. Hincha Tim says:

    In 25 years soccer here will either have gone to promotion/demotion system or a rival league will have been formed.

    Soccer will continue to grow around the country and be in its third generation of fans by then (don’t forget soccer really has been around in the U.S. for about 20 years). Hispanic population in almost every part of the U.S. will continue to rise. The NFL, NBA, MLB, and Hockey really didn’t come into their own until they had been around for 30 years.

    If the MLS expands to 20 teams, lets say for argument’s sake that the teams would be the present ones plus Miami, St. Louis, a second team in NY and Vancouver (not who I would pick, but who I think will be picked).

    In 25 years the following areas will have more than enough support to be successful and large TV markets:

    Riverside, CA
    Atlanta
    Tampa
    Phoenix
    Minneapolis
    Sacramento
    Orlando
    Portland
    Indianapolis
    San Diego
    Charlotte
    Hartford
    Raleigh/Durham
    San Antonio
    Las Vegas
    Montreal
    San Francisco
    Austin

    If there aren’t teams there, there will be investors who see an opportunity to make money, and form a league. The other four big leagues have largely countered rival leagues by expanding into enough of the possible markets that there aren’t enough markets left for a rival league to establish a foothold. This won’t happen if the league is held at 20 teams.

    So there are three choices:

    1)Expand beyond 20 teams, using a conference and/or unbalanced schedule format.
    2) Expand by having divisions by Demotion/Promotion. In 30 years the initial investment of $30million will not be an issue, a team’s worth will be established by the market that they are in.
    3) Fight it out with a rival league.

    I think the MLS would prefer 1 or 2 to 3.

  73. patrick says:

    Dan, I agree with you. Though I do not think it would kill it, I agree with what Hincha Tim said and his list many market that could handle. Also then it will silence all the cities that want a mls team by allowing them teams and competing for 20 spots just like in England. to finish off, mainstream America didn’t know what soccer was 25 years ago, so I think promotion/relegation has to work to take advantage of all the potential markets between the USL and MLS.

  74. Bob says:

    Philly . . . worst fans in the country. Hopefully the new team will attract people who won’t applaud when players suffer career-threatening injuries during games.

  75. Josh says:

    Philadelphia becoming the next MLS team is great news. Philly is right in the middle of DC and New York, two very established MLS teams. But, there will be NO rivalry unless Philly can compete. DC has shown that they are a contender for the cup every year, and New York has some of the best players in MLS. If Philly can keep up with them I think an exciting, bitter rivalry will be created (i.e. DC United & Chicago Fire). Also, the fans need to make it out to the games. In entertainment, the fans dictate success. Toronto is a great example. They had continuous home sell-outs creating a European atmosphere which draws interest. I’m rooting for soccer in the US to become huge.

  76. Julio says:

    Congratulations to Philadelphia from Miami
    Ultras hope Miami will join you soon.
    http://www.miamisoccerfan.com

  77. Haig says:

    “Sons of Ben recently just had member number 1,400 sign up.”

    Look, the guys who organized the SOBs have done a great job, showing how smart they are by identifying and building on what other supporters clubs have done well.

    But the above figure doesn’t mean anything. There aren’t dues, and “signing up” for the SOBs just involves signing a petition and being on a mailing list. There’s nothing real about that number– some of those people will be standing and singing with the SOBs, and others are showing their support for Philadelphia MLS but will have season tickets in regular sections.

    I’m sure as Philadelphia MLS approaches its “launch,” the SOBs will continue to build on the sense of anticipation, and starting up in a great new stadium and being well organized, they’ll attract a great following come 2010. But I’m dreading the next two years, as Philadelphia fans claim that signatories to their petition/mailing list, who have not made a commitment to anything, demonstrates how much better the SOBs are in comparison to active groups who have to put their money where their mouths are.

    So be honest: the SOB’s count of “members” doesn’t mean anything until there are dues and ticket deposits. Let’s not hear about it anymore.

  78. JC says:

    Congrats to Philly !! This league is only getting better and stronger. But no other club can or will match the passion and insanity that are the Toronto FC Supporters. Bring it on Philly !!