It all started before the Union had even a single player.
Manager Peter Nowak was knee deep in scouting and strategizing for the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft, but he also had something else cooking. PPL Park was eight months away from completion, yet Nowak couldn’t help but think ahead.
The former Bundesliga star had an idea, but couldn’t execute it alone. For something like this, he needed backing. And who better to come to than the ravenous supporters club that helped Philadelphia secure a team in the first place.
That’s where the Sons of Ben come into the story.
Two weeks before the Expansion Draft, Nowak called SoB President Bryan James and Matchday Coordinator/Capo Corey Furlan into his office. This was a brainstorming session in preparation for the first season in club history, the first of 4-5 such meetings including one larger one at the Dark Horse Pub. Prior to the first gathering, the Union’s head man had already put a lot of thought into a particular goal celebration song.
“The idea was to find a song that fit with what we were doing before,” said Nowak. “We worked with the Sons of Ben to find something that would translate to what we’ve been trying to do as a club and something that connected with the SoBs.
If you were in attendance at PPL Park’s first ever match, you may have already heard it. If not, just wait until it picks up a little more steam.
“I think it’s a unique blending of cultures for American sports fans,” said James. “First of all, it’s not a song you’d normally listen to on your own, it’s more like cheesy Euro pop. Coach saw or heard it at (Bundesliga side) Borussia Mönchengladbach and said ‘this is fantastic’ and he asked if we could do it. It’s not too often as a sports fan that a coach of a team comes to you with an idea and says ‘can you make it happen?’
Not surprisingly, make it happen they did.
“He asked us if we could do it and after two weeks, Corey and I got it around via email and on BigSoccer.com,” added James. “We tried it out, working on it during Meet the Team events. Now it’s become a whole thing inside the Sons of Ben. One guy who I don’t remember being part of us in 2009 was holding a yellow DOOP sign (during a match). You don’t have to learn a lot of words, it’s just one syllable.
Don’t be surprised if you start hearing the DOOP song in your head or find yourself singing it on non-match days. At PPL Park, however, it’s fast becoming a marker of success.
“First and foremost, it’s the perfect song to go with the pandemonium that comes along with a Union goal,” explained Furlan. “People are already bouncing off the walls and screaming their heads off. It just throws fuel on the fire so to speak.
“We introduced it to the masses and it has taken off. It is a simple enough song and is truly catchy, so it spreads like wildfire throughout the River End."
It’s only a matter of time before the entire stadium picks up on it too. Especially since it’ll be played over the loud speakers after every goal.
“The fact that the team has decided to play the song after goals has made it even more of a epidemic,” said Furlan. “Hopefully in the near future, it will help us to have the rest of the stadium join in with the Pan-DOOP-monium!"
You can bet the Sons of Ben will do their part. They’ve yet to give anyone a reason to doubt them and they’re not about to start now.
“Being an SoB comes with a lot of responsibility,” said SoB member Tiffany Grooms. “We are solely in charge of keeping our team going, win or lose. A quiet stadium is a losing stadium. We sing, chant, even create the occasional jig to motivate our team! 90 (minutes) plus stoppage time of non-stop energy.
“As for the DOOP song, we DOOP when we're happy. DOOP is our anthem, our battle cry, our victory cheer. Our aim is to eventually get all of PPL Park DOOP-ing! DOOP DOOP DOOP da da DOOP DOOP DOOP!"
The concept of a goal celebration song isn’t innovative unto itself. Clubs and their supporters all around the world have them. The key is embracing one and making it your own.
Along the Chester Waterfront, that process is well underway.
“Around the world, most clubs have what’s called a Torhymne or a goal celebration song," added Furlan. "I for one will say that we believe we have the best one in the world!"
Nowak would agree.
It’s his vision to see the entire stadium ‘DOOP-ing’ after every Union goal. But great ideas die hard without proper support. That’s why it was critical that the Sons of Ben were involved in the planning from the very beginning.
“The most important thing is that we came to it together,” Nowak said emphatically.
The DOOP song -- and the story behind it -- is just another extension of the close-knit relationship developing between Union fans and their club. It’s representative of the type of culture Nowak is trying to foster, and so far so good. It couldn’t be more obvious that his players are buying into the philosophy when you see them jumping into the stands and into the waiting arms of supporters following home matches.
So if you haven’t joined in on the Union’s new goal scoring tradition yet, why not start DOOP-ing this Saturday when the Union take on the Earthquakes at PPL Park.
Nowak wants you to. The Sons of Ben want you to. Your signal? The ball in the back of the opposition’s net.
In the words of Furlan, one of the most passionate Union fans around, “Welcome to Doop-Doop-Doop-A-Delphia!”