Daily Doop: The 14-day wait, Tickets on the way, Bumbling Blatter and Prince is our hero

The 'Happy Birthday Danny Cruz!' edition of all things Union

Happy Thursday, everyone.

Slow day around here, but we are still hard at work in preparation for 2013. Believe it or not, preseason is a mere two weeks away with players reporting to camp at YSC Sports in Wayne in just 14 days. Many of the players are getting into the swing of things, specificallly midfielder Danny Cruz. Despite today being Cruz’ birthday, the 23-year-old was on his grind posting the following on Twitter this morning:

 

Hard work…dedication.

Our "Countdown to First Kick" has already begun. Starting today we plan to roll out a two month long multi-element marketing campaign to get you fueled for the season. Top prize in the Countdown to First Kick sweepstakes are a pair of tickets to the March 2 home opener against Sporting Kansas City. Also don't forget we are hosting a LIVE preseason chat next Wednesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. on philadelphiaunion.com.

For those of you that have tickets, we thank you. Like Union aficionado and CBS 3 weather personality Katie Fehlinger who asked via Twitter:

 

We took her question to ticket sales manager Jason Freedman, who wanted season ticket holders like Katie to know:

“Generally, we send out tickets anywhere from 2-3 weeks before the season starts. I don’t want to give an exact date because people tend to hold you to that, but around the middle of February is generally when people will start seeing their packets arrive with either their card or for those who requested paper tickets, those tickets in addition to your gift and your parking pass if you requested one.”

Freedman also added that this has been the standard since the club’s inception so he doesn’t foresee any changes in the immediate future.

Hope that helps, Katie. Moving on...

Say what you want about him, but MLS commish Don Garber doesn’t mince words. When he’s not out shoveling snow off a field to get it playoff ready (see October’s D.C. United-New York, Eastern Conference semifinals) he’s putting FIFA president Sepp Blatter in his place.

If you haven’t heard, during this interview with Al Jazeera television Blatter suggested that MLS should be on par with the aged NFL and MLB in terms of popularity and hype – you know, after a mere 18 years of existence. Blatter’s talk of the U.S. game starts at the 21:12 mark of the interview.

“The problem in the U.S. is that they have no strong professional leagues…they have just the MLS, but they don’t have any higher leagues that are recognized by the American society,” Blatter said.

In his retort of Blatter’s comments, Garber told MLSSoccer.com:

“If he [Blatter] were to come to a game – whether it be in Seattle, Portland, Toronto, LA, Philadelphia, New York or any of our MLS markets ­– I think he would be very pleasantly surprised to see the passion that exists in our fan base and the high level of soccer IQ that exists in our fan base.”

The MLS report also states that Blatter hasn’t attended a live MLS match since the 1996 MLS All-Star Game, which if true moots all the hot air that spewed from the leader of what clearly is an old boys network.

And finally…

Our “hero of the day” award goes to AC Milan’s Kevin-Prince Boateng, who walked off the field today in a friendly against a fourth tier Italian club whose fans spewed racist comments at black players from the stands. Boateng can be seen in this video punting a ball towards the unruly crowd before removing his jersey and walking off the field. His Milan teammates did the same and the game was suspended.

Great statement and an ingenious way to again point a spotlight on an atrocity in world soccer that needs to stop.

Catch you all tomorrow…

Contact Kerith Gabriel at kgabriel@philadelphiaunion.com