Variety of topics discussed as Union, Sons of Ben convened at Chickie's and Pete's Tuesday

Supporters Summit vital for not just fans, but Union brass alike

Sons of Ben chanting Portland 2013

Photo Credit: 
Greg Carroccio

Sons of Ben, season ticket holders, and fans alike gathered at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia for Philadelphia Union’s Supporters Summit Tuesday evening.

Along with Union manager John Hackworth and CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz,  Sons of Ben board members Kenny Hanson and Brad Youtz made up a four-man panel to address any questions surrounding the team, organization, and supporters group. Mike Quarino, vice president of ticket sales and fan services, directed the event and answered any questions that involved his area of expertise.

The Supporters Summit is an event that is important, not only for fans and Sons of Ben, but also for the Union organization. Fan support is the ultimate key to success in any sports market and giving them a chance to express their opinions and receive answers to their questions is an essential part in creating a desirable product. Union manager John Hackworth knows the fans have been fundamental to the existence and progress of the organization and believes the Summit is a great opportunity for both parties to communicate.

This latest gathering, which lasted nearly two hours, consisted of a variety of questions and concerns from fans regarding subjects such as expansion of PPL Park, the future for Kleberson, and the evolution and plans for the Sons of Ben. As fans poured through their inquiries they seemed to be completely satisfied with the way they were answered and the manner in which they were addressed. Sons of Ben board member and season ticket holder Jeff Mitchell believes the event gives Union fans a unique opportunity that allows for a more concrete relationship with the organization.

“This club was essentially started by the fans and everything we have done up until now in our history has been in some ways dictated by the fan base themselves,” Hackworth said. “So anytime we have the opportunity to exchange ideas and answer direct questions in a very honest way I think that’s very important.”

 “It’s great,” Mitchell said. “I grew up a Philly sports fan and this is the only team that gives you an actual opportunity to talk directly to the owner and the coach and even a lot of times the players. They might not always agree with what you have to say, but they are willing to listen and they are willing to give you their vision about what is going on so it’s nice to have that relationship.”

Philadelphia Union are dedicated to creating a valuable experience for their supporters and the open forum has allowed both fans and the organization to create a better environment for the game of soccer to be enjoyed.

"There are always some very interesting questions," said Hackworth.  "And we always do our best to answer as honestly as we can knowing that there are some things we need to keep internal because we are in a very competitive business, but I think when fans come here they get real answers, ones that are honest and ultimately that's what they want."

Contact Union writer Howard Hutchinson at hhutchinson@philadelphiaunion.com