Blog

09 March 2:35 pm

Ray Gaddis and Andrew Wenger were featured in the MLS's top ten plays of Saturday night. View here: 

 

03 March 11:50 am
Jeff Benjamin
 
Jeff Benjamin serves as Partner and Chief Operating Officer for the Vetri Family of Restaurants. In addition to being an integral component of the company’s day-to-day work, Jeff also serves as co-founder of the Vetri Foundation for Children, a non-profit, charitable organization whose mission is to help kids experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living. 
 
Jeff was bitten by the hospitality industry bug in his junior year of high school when he worked weekends as a busboy at a kosher catering hall in New Hyde Park, NY. The energy and pace of the working in the dining room, coupled with meeting and serving all kinds of interesting guests truly lit a fire. In 1987, he enrolled in UMass-Amherst, majoring in Hospitality Business. Throughout college, Jeff held various front-of-the-house positions, experiences that solidified his chosen career path.
 
Following his college graduation, Jeff landed in New York City with foodservice industry giant, Aramark. He spent the better part of the next decade managing high-level corporate employee and executive dining operations. During his time in the Big Apple, Jeff met and became friends with Chef Marc Vetri, who was also working in the city at the time. When Marc decided to return to his native Philadelphia to open his own restaurant, he tapped Jeff to be his general manager.  
 
In 1998, Marc and Jeff opened Vetri, a small, intimate, fine dining restaurant in Philadelphia’s Center City neighborhood. Vetri was an instant hit, with Marc’s bold, contemporary Italian cuisine and Jeff’s thoughtful service style and finely curated beverage program earning universal acclaim. Within two years of the restaurant’s debut, it received the Philadelphia Inquirer's highest restaurant rating, and Jeff was made a partner. This dynamic duo has been rolling along ever since.  
 
With Marc and Jeff at the helm, the Vetri Family has grown to a total of seven critically lauded restaurants—Vetri, Osteria (Philadelphia and Moorestown, NJ), Amis, Alla Spina, Pizzeria Vetri and the most recent, Lo Spiedo, which opened in fall of 2014. Throughout the years, Jeff’s thorough attention to detail demands all operations standards are met and remain intact. His vigilant eye ensures the signature Vetri Family philosophy and experience is always upheld for guests and employees alike.
 
In Spring 2015, Jeff will launch his first book, Front of House (Burgess Lea Press, 2015), which pulls back the curtain to show all that goes into an evening out, from staff training and systems to the proper way to deal with boorish overimbibers. 
 
Outside of the restaurants, Jeff is a committed philanthropist. In 2009, he and Marc created the Vetri Foundation for Children. The foundation’s signature initiative, “Eatiquette,” is a school lunch improvement program in which children experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living. The program currently services 10 schools, and has served nearly 265,000 healthy meals. Additionally, the partners are the driving force behind the “Great Chefs Event,” which brings together scores of the country’s greatest chefs to raise money and awareness for the pediatric cancer charity, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Jeff also serves as a member of the board of directors for Alex’s Lemonade Stand and the Community Partnership School. 
 
Jeff lives in Cherry Hill, NJ, with his wife, Melissa, and their two daughters. When he’s not working, he can be found rooting for his children’s sports team, and his beloved Union, Phillies and 76ers. 

Marc Vetri

Marc Vetri is the chef/founder of Philadelphia’s critically acclaimed Vetri Family of Restaurants. In addition to his storied career in the kitchen, Marc is also the driving force behind the Vetri Foundation for Children, a non-profit, charitable organization whose mission is to help kids experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living.

A Philadelphia native, Marc initially pursued a career in music as a guitarist before realizing his true passion came from cooking. Spending his formative professional kitchen life in Bergamo, Italy, working alongside some of the region's most noted chefs, Marc has become known the world over for bringing a bold, contemporary sensibility to classic Italian cooking. In 1998, he and business partner, Jeff Benjamin, opened the eponymous, fine-dining restaurant, Vetri, to universal acclaim. Vetri’s outstanding pastas, innovative flavor combinations and artful presentations captured imaginations and propelled Marc to the culinary forefront. Within two years of the restaurant’s debut, he was named one of Food & Wine's “Best New Chefs” and received the Philadelphia Inquirer's highest restaurant rating. In 2005, he was given the James Beard Award for "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic."

Following years of continued success at Vetri, Marc launched Osteria in 2007. Larger and more casual than Vetri, Osteria’s menu of traditional Italian thin-crust pizzas, homemade pastas and wood-grilled meats and fish quickly won over the dining public. The restaurant was nominated for “Best New Restaurant” in 2008 by the James Beard Foundation. In 2010, it helped earn Vetri Family chef/partner, Jeff Michaud, the James Beard Award for "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic."

The Vetri Family’s third restaurant, Amis, opened its doors in 2010. Inspired by Rome’s neighborhood trattorias, this smaller but energetic restaurant specializes in small plates such as handcrafted pastas and house-cured meats. In November 2010, Bon Appetit named Amis one of the top “10 Places for Pasta” in the country. The opening of Amis also brought Chef Brad Spence in as a Vetri Family partner, and subsequently, he has been a two-time finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic" award. 

Alla Spina, an Italian gastropub opened in 2012. It’s been recognized by publications such as GQ and Zagat as being one of the top craft beer havens in the U.S., making it a must-visit destination for beer connoisseurs of all levels. The following year saw the debut of two more Vetri Family restaurants: Pizzeria Vetri, the group’s most casual eatery to date, and a second location of Osteria in Moorestown, NJ, the group’s first restaurant outside of Philadelphia. Similarly to their predecessors, these restaurants have quickly become fixtures in their respective neighborhoods, earning high marks across the board from diners and critics alike. Pizzeria Vetri was named to GQ’s 2014 list of “Top 25 Best New Restaurants” in the country.

In October of 2014, a seventh restaurant joined the Vetri Family ranks. Lo Spiedo serves a casual Italian-inspired menu with a focus on spit-roasted meats. It is located in Philadelphia’s up-and-coming The Navy Yard district. This year also includes the expansion of the flagship Vetri. The restaurant now encompasses two floors, making it available for private events and accommodating larger parties. The new Vetri space includes a test kitchen, allowing Marc and his fellow culinary partners a place to develop and explore new dishes and menus.

Marc is the author of Il Viaggio di Vetri (Ten Speed Press, Oct. 1, 2008) a collection of more than 125 of Vetri’s most-requested dishes. His second cookbook, Rustic Italian Food (Ten Speed Press, Nov. 1, 2011), brought artisan cooking into home kitchens and was named one of the top cookbooks of 2011 by such outlets as Bon Appetit, St. Petersburg Times and The Huffington Post. His third cookbook, Mastering Pasta (Ten Speed Press, 2015), will be released in March of 2015. In addition to his cookbooks, Marc’s writing can be found on The Huffington Post where he is a regular blogger.  

Outside of his restaurants, Marc is deeply passionate about giving back to the community, in particular his hometown of Philadelphia. In 2009, he and Jeff Benjamin created the Vetri Foundation for Children. The foundation’s signature initiative, “Eatiquette,” is a school lunch improvement program in which children experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living. The program currently services 11 schools and two camps, and has served more than 300,000 healthy meals. Additionally, Marc and Jeff are the founders of the “Great Chefs Event,” which brings together scores of the country’s greatest chefs to raise money and awareness for the pediatric cancer charity, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and The Vetri Foundation. Marc also gives his time to his alma mater, Drexel University, where he’s been a regular guest lecturer and adjunct faculty member.

Marc lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Megan, and their three children. He enjoys spending weekends cooking with his family, training in Brazilian jiu jitsu and playing his beloved guitars.

 
02 March 5:10 pm

Soccer For Success is now at 10 schools in Chester!

In conjunction with Widener University, the Philadelphia Union Foundation supports Soccer For Success and after school youth soccer program. The program includes nutritional and life skills programming as well as parent involvement.


Games!

50/50 Raffle is back in action! Make sure to purchase your raffle ticket at any Union home game for your chance to win half of the jackpot raised. The other half goes to the PUF. 

March 7th Union VS. Colorado

  • Be sure to check out the Sons of Ben tailgating area to donate to “Stache Bash” proceeds to benefit Special Olympics PA.
  • The Union recognizes Hometown Hero’s. For this game, Mr. Lawrence Hamm of the Boys & Girls Club of Chester will be honored on field for his work with youth in the community.

March 20th Union VS. FC Dallas

  • Concussion and Brain Injury Awareness

Here comes Spring!

Once a month the Philadelphia Union Foundation will head to the playground and small field at STEM High School to clean and maintain the area. If you would like to volunteer for this, please email foundation@philadelphiaunion.com

Chester City United: April 8th – June 8th

Chester City United will kick off in April of this year for a two season, 3 day a week, after school soccer program. But, we need your help! Give the Gift of Soccer - $30 will pay for the registration for one young soccer player to participate in this program. The program includes a t-shirt and other fun soccer gear!

To donate visit: http://www.philadelphiaunion.com/content/give-gift-soccer


 


Cocktails & Cleats – NEW DATE: April 22nd

The PUF brings you the 3rd annual Cocktails & Cleats Celebration presented by Cozen O’Connor. Sign up now for a night filled with fun: silent and live auctions, plated dinner, open bar, complimentary valet parking, a chance to meet the Philadelphia Union team.

To register visit: http://www.philadelphiaunion.com/foundation

24 February 6:19 pm

Just four days are left on the Philadelphia Union’s preseason schedule. Tuesday the club was back on the training ground after enjoying Monday off – the team’s second while in Florida.

But indeed it was a busy day -- aren't they all? The Union officially announced the signing of 22-year-old goalkeeper John McCarthy. A Philadelphia native -- and former La Salle and North Catholic High School standout -- McCarthy joins the Union after a stellar rookie season in USL Pro with Rochester Rhinos. He was the league’s Goalkeeper and Rookie of the Year after allowing a league-best 0.72 goals per game. McCarthy had been practicing with the team since the beginning of preseason.

The team also announced some more goalkeeping news, as Andre Blake officially settled for arthroscopic surgery after a nagging left knee injury suffered during the first phase of preseason in Florida. The move is precautionary in nature, and Blake should be back on the training grounds in four to six weeks.

Elsewhere, there was plenty going on. Maurice Edu quickly flew out to Tucson, Ariz., Sunday night to take part in a league-wide event with Continental Tire. The campaign, What Cha Got, features several MLS players racing a Lamborghini. The videos will be shown prior to MLS Games of the Week on Fox Sports. The player with the best time gets a nice prize… the car.

Elsewhere Cristian Maidana and Sebastien Le Toux spent the day on the golf course. No word on the winner.

 

another day of golf with my friend @touxi84

A photo posted by Cristian Chaco Maidana (@chacomaidana) on

Some guys decided to relax a little more at the comfort of their own home, the hotel. Courtesy of Ethan White’s Tumblr takeover, Sheanon Williams and Antoine Hoppenot relaxed in the pool. Fred, always trying to catch as much sun as possible, was on the beach.

But yes, they were back on the field Tuesday. Fernando Aristeguieta continues to get acclimated with his teammates, and there’s been plenty of two-striker looks alongside C.J. Sapong to take note of. Much of the workload Tuesday was during full-length intrasquad scrimmages that were eight minutes long.

On the injury front, Vincent Nogueira is back practicing with the team. He was held out of Saturday’s game as a precaution. Everyone else with the team is healthy and practicing. Second round draft pick Eric Bird is working through a groin injury.

In case you missed it, the Union held a team BBQ at Bright House Field, the Spring Training home of the Philadelphia Phillies (it’s also right across the street from the Union’s training facility). Before the game, Edu and Andrew Wenger had a chance to meet with Cliff Lee and the baseball Carlos Ruiz. You can see the Phillies video here, and Comcast SportsNet’s report here. Talk about Brotherly Love..

Lastly, Mo has taken over MLS SnapChat today, and in typical fashion, he’s killing it. For those of you who are perhaps a bit too old for that social media, here’s one of the highlights today with Mo, Ethan, C.J. and one unassuming Florida resident while grabbing lunch at Chipotle.

Contact Union press officer Chris Winkler at cwinkler@philadelphiaunion.com.

24 February 4:09 pm

Philadelphia Union hosted a Fan Trip in Clearwater, Fla over the weekend. The weekend kicked off with a Welcome Reception at the Sheraton Sand Key Hotel in Clearwater. The following day, our fans traveled to the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic Tournament in Bradenton on Saturday to support the Union's 6-0 win. The weekend ended with an open practice and team BBQ at Bright House Field! 

Photo Credits: Sideline Photos, LLC - Greg Carroccio

24 February 11:39 am

The Philadelphia Union hosted a free youth soccer clinic in Clearwater, Fla on Sunday, February 22nd. Brian Carroll, Sebastien Elney and Will Campbell helped out at the clinic! 

Photo Credits: Sideline Photos, LLC

19 February 3:54 pm

This afternoon, new striker Dzenan Catic participated in a Reddit AMA for /r/mls. For those who are not familiar with Reddit, AMA stands for Ask Me Anything. From 2-3 p.m., Dzenan answered questions ranging from being a rookie to if he likes onion rings or french fries. Click here for a total recap of his AMA! You might learn a thing or two about our new striker.