Philadelphia was awarded Major League Soccer's 16th team on February 28th, 2008. Led by the ownership group of Keystone Sports and Entertainment, LLC, the club operated under the name MLS Philadelphia 2010 for most of 2008 and the early portion of 2009. The combination of extensive grassroots support spearheaded by the Sons of Ben and a public/private partnership between Philadelphia Union, the State of Pennsylvania, Delaware County and the City of Chester enabled the construction of a state-of-the-art soccer stadium and convinced MLS that the Philadelphia region deserved a soccer team.
After thorough historical and fan research, the club announced its name,crest and colors on May 11th, 2009 at Philadelphia's City Hall. Philadelphia Union alludes to the Union of the Thirteen Colonies, of which Philadelphia was the first capital. The club’s name and crest incorporate Philadelphia’s rich colonial history and vital role in the creation of our nation – the Union. The team's name was chosen following a 'Fan Vote' held between January 19, 2009 and February 6, 2009.
Philadelphia Union's primary colors are navy blue and gold, representing the Continental Army's uniforms during the American Revolutionary War. The light blue in the middle of the badge is derived from the civic flag of Philadelphia and is a tribute to the Sons of Ben supporters club. The team's primary crest is circular, symbolizing unity. The thirteen gold stars displayed along the base of the crest represent the original Thirteen Colonies, while the shield's contour derives from the Philadelphia coat of arms. The rattlesnake featured in the center of the shield pays homage to a political cartoon by Benjamin Franklin that was featured in multiple editions of the Pennsylvania Gazette in the 1750s. The rattlesnake became a national symbol during the American Revolution, representing the danger of disunity, and was featured on the Gadsden flag. Union's secondary logo also features the rattlesnake, along with the motto "JUNGITE aut PERITE", a Latin phrase meaning "JOIN or DIE", which was displayed by Franklin in his cartoons along with the rattlesnake.
Peter Nowak was introduced as the first ever Team Manager of Philadelphia Union on May 29th, 2009. The club's first players were then acquired on November 25th via the MLS Expansion Draft.
On March 25th, 2010, Philadelphia played its first ever match, a 2-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC. On April 10th, 2010, the club's Inaugural Home Opener, Philadelphia notched the first victory in team history beating D.C. United 3-2 in front of 34,870 fans.