Union players acknowledge crowd

Fan stories: How the Union have changed lives

No marketing campaign could top this.

When we asked fans on our Facebook page how the Union have impacted or changed their life, we expected thoughtful responses – but not this.

Families brought together, dreams sparked, city pride evoked – it's all here.

Obsession born, depression conquered, marriages proposed – all here.

They're your stories, or a variation of your story. Some moving, some funny, some fanatic – all nonexistent two years ago.

We strongly recommend taking the time to read the tales of your fellow fans. You were a part of them, whether you knew it at the time or not.

Below is a sampling of our favorite submissions. We'll let you take it from here, in your own words ...

Bassil Thayabeh – I am a 15 year old boy still improving on and working on my soccer touch and skill. I grew up with Soccer my whole life. It is my only passion. It is my life. My one and only love. It is my world. My mom recently was diagnosed with Cancer and needed surgery for multiple things in her body. Therefore, as the oldest child of 4, I have been home supporting her and my brothers, everyday, night and time. If being busy at home, I kinda grew distanced from soccer. It was hard for me, i had lost my one passion, but for a good cause, my mother♥ But then came along the Union, not only did I follow them from the start, they were my new passion, my love, I've followed them every single step of the way from ground zero, greatest inspiration in my life. They inspired my to resume training with different clubs and my high school team. I recently got named captain of my school team which changed my life forever. My mom is doing well and there is no mother that is prouder than her son. For that, THANK YOU PHILLY !(:

Bill Gusler – When the president of the company I now work for came to me and asked if I would come work for him, I said I would only under 1 stipulation...I will not miss a Union home match. He agreed. Now 2 years later, I still have not missed a single Union home match, even though i live over 2 hours away. I take a bus from the Poconos down to Philly and the train into Chester for each match. I come down just to donate blood, to help create banners and tifo, and to attend fundraisers for players causes. I create banners and skate decks just for the players to show them how much we love and respect them. I go in early to help set up the over heads, the flags and other banners in TRE. I miss weddings, birthdays and work events just because I will not miss a Union match at PPL.

Greg Lee – She said yes at a union game. Top that!

Alison Beier – My two year old son has been dooping since he was 18 months. We watch the matches together. He was born w/ kidney failure and life is hectic most days, but our fondest moments together are surrounded by the Doop :)

Joe Grady – The Union have brought me closer to my five kids. We are a soccer family. I'm a charter member of both Union and SOBs. Getting to spend quality time screaming for our boys at least 17 times a year have given them insight into the real 'daddy', as a person, and not just as a dad. Priceless.

Linda Melly – My son met his fiancé at the union. They sat next to each other in sect 136, and have an October 2013 wedding date! What a great addition she will be to our family.

Megan O'Driscoll – The Union changed my life by introducing me to my fiancé! I have season tickets with my 3 brothers in Section 136. It was in Section 136 where I met my seatmate Andrew. Andrew and his brother sit next to us. My brothers and I became friends with our new seatmates and tailgated together before all the games. We spent all last season cheering the Union on. By the end of last summer Andrew and I were dating- which caused a small commotion with our brothers. All they were worried about is if we broke up the seats would be “messed up”. A year later the seats are still intact and we’re engaged planning our “DOOP”wedding!!!!

Julia-Marie Cassidy  Back in 2009 my life was falling apart i felt like i had nothing to live for. I was very close to losing my dad.(he fell out of a tree wtih a chain saw) and i was in the hospital because of a soccer injury. They told me i wasn't going to be able to play soccer for a long time. I am still unable to play sports. The union gave me hope and gave me something to cheer on. my parents are now divorced and the only time we really come together is for Union games. With out the union i would have no family and no hope. I love the Union for bring out the bright side of life and even in the darkest hours you can always find something good. The philadelphia union is my new life and my family will be supporting you forever! Doop!

Micah Kleit  On a snowy Valentine's Day in 2008, I took a train ride to New York for work (I'm in publishing) trying to persuade Sunil Gulati, the commissioner of US soccer, to write a book for me on the economics of the sport in the US. While I was in his office he took a call. He asked me if I had heard rumors about a MLS team coming to Philly, and I said I had. He said he couldn't tell me who he was talking to, but that if I had heard what that guy was saying it would have made me very happy. Knowing that that basically meant a team was coming, after my meeting I literally skipped through the snow back to the subway.

Scott Hakim – The Union haven't impacted my life. They are my life

Jeffrey Mitchell – The UNION haven't changed my life.. The UNION are my life. DOOP.

Phil Jutkiewicz  ill make sure my child is birthed at a union game

Christine Curry  The Philadelphia Union has brought so much diversity to the city of Chester. Almost all of the players, including the coach, are from different parts of the world: Le Toux, France; Paunovic, Serbia; Mondragon, Torres, Valdes, Colombia; Paunovic, Serbia; Mwanga and Adu, Africa. Every player brings a part of his culture to Philadelphia, and ultimately, to Chester. As an international relations major at Widener University, it's amazing to see how all Union players bring something new to the table, but at the same time, they are able to work together on the field. This is unique and what the entire City of Philadelphia was built upon: a mixture of different cultures. And, overall, I think Union Soccer is a perfect representation of Philadelphia.

Fritz Schock  Very simple...me and my dad have become the closest and each others best friends. I'm only 11 now but we have been season ticket holders since last year. We go to every game we can...even the games my dad dosen't want to go to. We drive an hour and a half one way, and there have been games that my dad didn't want to go to due to weather, but i push him and pump him up so we go any way. We have been close to begin with. He has caoched my soccer team since I was 5. But going to the Union matches, spending the time driving listening to 97.5 the Phanatic, spending time watching the games, and spending time after the games in the CPT. Morgan club trying to get autographs of the entire team has been important to me. My dad has tough me alot in these times. Alot about soccer and life and has made us not only father and son...but best friends.

MD Moose – Because I was born in a different country, I never felt that this is home but when the union joined the mls..I'm proud to say I'm Philadelphian.. Goooo Uniooonnnnn

Shawn Kettyle – i am able to have long over due quality time with my brothers since being in the military...they are 16 and 13 and thye love soccer as much as i do and they still play...gives me something to look fwd to atleast once a week sometimes twice during these hard times...its like its my birthday during these matches.

Heather Detwiler – I was one of those Americans who said that soccer was something people in the rest of the world did--but not here! We have better sports! My boyfriend took me to the first ever game at Lincoln Financial Field and I fell in love with the fans as well as the sport. Now I'm actively recruiting my friends to give soccer a chance. I guess the way it has impacted my life the most is that I feel like I'm part of a family when I come to the games. No live professional sporting experience has ever compared to Union games. When you come to PPL park you feel like you're a part of something special and have an instant bond with complete strangers.

Taylor Cameron – It has become a family tradition - something we can all share and look forward to together. The Union have set the scene for my family to build lifelong memories. Whether we are dooping it up in PPL or cheering them on in our living room, we bond over every Mondi save, Califf header, Williams tackle, Farfan juke or Le Toux goal. Thanks to Jay, Nick, Piotr and the rest of the FO for having to vision to build a team worthy of the support it gets!

Daniel Patrick Hager – The Union have given me hope because Soccer is the best sport in the world and it gives us a platform in the world arena. People now know that American's and Philadelphian's have a common international bond. The Union have helped in an understanding that goes beyond the realm of sport. I can now speak with pride to anyone in the world knowing we have something in common..a passion for the greatest sport in the world! Thanks to the Sons of Ben, The Union and the MLS for making us a part of the world.

Drew Tomlinson  The union have cleaned up the city of chester. It went from a crime ridden city to now having something to be inspired by. It has created jobs for the community like stadium workers and parking guys. The union made me think that i can do something to affect just as many lives as the union have

Kristi Engler – I’ve been a soccer fan since before I can remember. And I’ve taken a lot of slack about it from my friends, who have never played and who had no interest in the sport. And I can kind of see their point. They don’t have the patience to watch and enjoy the tension, the build-up of a sport that does not typically have high scores. When the Union came to Philly, it changed that. Now, here’s this beautiful stadium, with it’s amazing atmosphere. It turns people into hooligans, and I love it. We have a team, with so much potential, passion, and drive…they encompass the Philly spirit. I feel like having a soccer team was something most Philadelphians didn’t realize they wanted or needed. Now that we have one, I can’t imagine not having one. It truly has been incredible sharing this under-appreciated sport with friends, family, and complete strangers.

Cherakee Patrick – Well I'm writing on my moms so here it goes... I practiced on the Union field this season and in that I felt like I was the luckiest soccer player in Philadelphia then after practicing and feeling what it feels like to be on that field I have vowed to do what it takes to get back to this field again playing on a pro team hopefully the Union but since that day I have practiced harder trained longer and set my goal for the day I walk on that field as a pro... I hope...

Rob Parker – I almost got divorced over always being tuned into Union games!
Claire McGrath – I was born in Belfast and grew up in a family worshipping the sport of soccer. No one else ever seemed to care. Having a team to call my own now is priceless. And to have the Union fans love and support their team the way I was raised to support your team make sme love the Union even more!!

Denise Bullock Patton – Following & going to the Union games has really helped my relationship with my daughter! She & I finally have a common interest.

Patrick Shelly – I stared working for the stadium before the first game last year. I fell in love with the stadium, the and the wonderful potential I saw in those empty seats. Being in the stadium for the game against the Sounders was by far the coolest event I have been to, and the pride I felt knowing that so many people had finally found their new favorite team to cheer and support for, and that I was able to be there in person. I became a member of the Sons of Ben, and developed many friendships with the many people who are like minded in the support for the Union. I have been to darn near every home game, and still try to find words to explain the amazing atmosphere to anyone who is a non fan. My own father, who was one of those who doubted the sucess of a soccer team in Philly, has now started watching games and following them online. He is hoping to finally see a game there in person, to experience it all in person. I keep bringing more and more people who know little to nothing about soccer, and creating great fans, who are learning more and more every day.

Kelsey Harkins  I never really liked sports until I went to a Union game. From the first minute of play I fell in love with a team i proudly call my favorite. I was at game one last season and i haven't missed a game since. I love my team and i wouldn't trade it for the world. ♥

Matt DeFusco  Dear Union, my life has changed dramiticly since the franchise started 2 years ago. Before the Union, I never even thought about being a soccer fan at all. In fact, I had no intenions of being associated with soccer at all. But one nite, I was flipping thru the channels and I spotted a Union game on ESPN. I decided to sit down and watch a little bit. I immedialtly fell in love with the team. After going to a couple of games, I was hooked. Now my life revolves around the union. I am even going to the playoff game on Sunday. I hope that you see how the union have changed my life....Just look at my Profile Pic!!!!

Mike Prendergast – The Union have added a completely new aspect to Philadelphia's lifestyle. I think that creating a soccer team here has completely changed the way I and many others think about Philadelphia. It's made the city a better place, added a new spirit to Philly, and has allowed me to support a team in my own city, not in England or Spain. Thanks, Union, for making this city a much better place. DOOP!

Juli Amato  I would rather not go into detail and the specifics, but in my last season of playing soccer competetivly in college my love and passion for the sport was almost lost. I continued to watch soccer but i felt the love I had as a youngster slipping away. This summer I went to a game and the atmosphere and especially the players, reminded me why i loved the sport. The players care about the fans just as much as the fans care about them. Its a give and take relationship. they need us and we need them. The Union may not have changed me or made the first impact but helped me to remember that soccer is a large part of shaping who I am today. For that I am forever in their debt.

Jeremy Crossley  The Philadelphia union has inspired me to keep the sport of soccer going by teaching the younger kids about leadership and pride. The Philadelphia Union us just another reason why philly sports are nothing to mess with! The Doop will forever always be the new sound of Philly!

Natalie Jackson  I was never really a big fan of soccer before June of last year. It was then I met my current boyfriend and first got introduced to the world of MLS and soccer in general. Our first date was at the July 10th home game in 2010 against the Earthquakes, and of course we were in the River End. There was so much energy in the stadium and in the River End, that I was immediately hooked, on the game, the Union, and the man who introduced me to it all. 15 months later, 6 live games, the Union Players Dinner, a trip to a rained out game in DC, and a wall that is plastered with scarves, posters, signed rosters, tickets and other memorabilia, I don't think any other sport or team has ever impacted me as much as the Philadelphia Union... and for that, I thank you.

Angelica Todero The Union has impacted my life because that is all I talk about!! And in times of excitement I just say DOOP!!!

Ben Mancini  Philly Union got me re-interested in soccer, after being discouraged as a child by being not good at it I felt like watching the sport would be worse. But I went to a game and feel in love with the sport again!

Bryan Bonder  before i asked myself to doop or not to doop. now my life is filled with dooping

Andrew Gerber  The Union coming to Philly has resparked my love of futball and made it accessible to me. It's now a huge part of my life. Go Union!

Nicci Gebhart  I was always into sports. And I played soccer when I was younger but it wasnt something that took over my life. Softball was my sport of choice. I started hanging out with my brother alot, who is a big soccer fan. He asked me to come to a Union game with him so I said sure. I didn't know how much I would like it. But once I walked inside and heard the cheers and chants I was hooked. And then after the game I noticed how the soccer players acknowledge the fans and clap for us and my heart sank! It was the best feeling in the world to see the appreciation they have for us. I was hooked after that. I bought my games and went to as many as possible. And this year I've gone to more than I thought I would! I got my partner to come with me and it has brought us closer together as well. We enjoy going to games and the feeling we get from the players. I went to the NY Red Bulls game this past week and sat right in the middle of SOB and LOVED it! I felt the passion and the love from everyone around me! It was like a big family (even if I wasn't a SOB member)...the Union has taught me everything about the good things in life! I love these guys and the fans that come with it!

Trevor DePaul – The union made me realize that soccer can never be underestimated. Everyone in pa now has a greater respect for soccer. LONG LIVE THE NAVY AND GOLD. DOOOOOOOOOOOP

Steve Reilly  because of the union i actually follow the MLS now DOOP!!!

Jeromy Aragon – It reminds me of my childhood and of the happy times in my life . Every game was an all day event filled with friends , family and fun ! But having a mls team here in philly gives others the opportunity to experience how much football/soccer has impacted and changed my life

Mike Blankemeyer – Because me, my awesome wife Carole Phy Blankemeyer and our soccer holigan kids, live, sleep, eat and bleed BLUE and GOLD #DOOP, oh and we sit in Union Local 136, the most awesome section in the stadium!!

Susan Kohuth – I used to get very upset with my husband for watching soccer. When we started to attend Union home games, and I was finally forced to watch an entire game, it all started to make sense to me! Not only did I begin to look forward to going to games, but I also started watching the away games with him on tv. I don't think I'll ever be quite the connoisseur he is, but I've stopped nagging and learned to really enjoy a soccer game. :)

Quillan Donnelly The Union has got me following the MLS and soccer is this country passionately now. I get so excited during game weeks to head up to PPL park and jump, scream, and jeer with thousands of other people who love the sport as much as me. Because I drive my friends so crazy they call me an addict. Doop for life!!

Brian Rosenbaum – My girls play soccer, but I never had any interest in MLS until last year when my friend Jacqui took me to my first Union game! We lost touch for a few months until we went to the HKH event at McFaddens on 12/4, and we started dating that night. We are now season ticket holders and enjoy every game together with the kids which love when they Doop!!!

Jonathan C. Pfancook Soccer is the Game of Gentleman, Philadelphia is meant for soccer, dedicated fans and passionate about their sports teams. A breeding ground for fans. I am a fan. Die Hard. My walls are full of posters. My fifa 12 team is Union, I sing Doop everyday. I read Union everyday. I dream Union. Season Tickets every season. I am part of The illegitimates. Doop doop doop duh da doop doop dooop. doop doop doop duh da doop doop doop. Union an Houston sitting in a tree.

Steven Matthews  When i heard the city where i grew up was going to have a team in MLS, especially when they have a name that couldn't be any more fitting for philly. I nearly cried... For years i have watched the EPL and the champions league wishing that I had a home town team to root for. FINALLY the time came where I could be a fanatic and where my jersey with pride. When i called my dad and told him the good news, the first thing he did was send me an authentic jersey, that to this day has not been taken down from hanging on my wall. Every morning I wake up and see it, and dream that someday I will run out on the pitch to thousands of die hard fans just like myself. The feeling could only be described as Immaculate. One day I will make the 3000 mile trip back to Philly for a game, and when i do... You best believe that i will paint my body Navy blue and gold and be the loudest supporter in the stadium. I have played soccer for more then 3/4's of my life and I will never stop supporting it, playing it, or getting other people to share my passion for the best, most passionate sport in the world. I just hope that there are other fans like myself that are there every game singing songs and cheering for a team from a city that has not only made me a genuine person, but was the birth place of this beautiful country we live in. CHEERS TO THE CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alexandra Kobsar – I am born and raised in Europe and grew up with soccer all my life, so when we moved to the U.S. 9 yrs ago I was very sad to leave this sport behind. My kids all played soccer and my husband and I did too. We coached our youngest boy for 4 yrs. just to stay involved. When we heard that Philly was becoming a MLS team ,we were very excited and bought Season tickets( Founding members ) for our family of five. We have enjoyed every single game and can't wait for next season to start !!!

Zachary Woomer – My brother Josh is a huge Union fan and has been since they were formed. He said it was amazing to be a fan of a team from the moment they were created. He's at almost every home game, and his enthusiasm makes the games I make it to so intense and fun. I don't see my brothers a lot and the union games get us together for a day to tailgate and relax, it's always a memorable time. I would love to have these but they'd most definitely have to go to my brother Josh. He's like a little kid at every game, it's awesome.

Joseph Shenk – Wow, where do I begin?? I went from a casual fan of Soccer a year-and-a-half ago to a rabid Union/Soccer supporter who now can NOT get enough of the sport!! It has brought a good friend of mine closer to me than ever before (someone who knew NOTHING of Soccer until i took her to this year's season opener). Now we'll both be partial season ticket holders for next season. We're both Very Much looking-forward to this Sunday... *DOOP* *DOOP* *DOOP*!!! :)

Carissa Fidik  Watching them inspires me and keeps me motivated on my journey to a healthier and more active lifestyle! :)

Joel Prushan – I never even followed soccer before the inaugural season. Then over the summer as I watched both the world cup and the union I began to fall in love with the game. I read and watched everything I could on soccer for the next few months and then by the time the second season arrived I felt a dedicated fan. I have only been to three games but I have only missed watching 4 this entire season. Then when zach signed with the team I got really excited for two reasons. 1. in no other sport can a 16 year be signed as proffesional player and actually be ready to play and 2. I realized that since we are only a year apart I will be able to grow up with him and watch his career as I go through my on life. Now some of my closest friends are union/soccer supporters and those that aren't I have managed to convert. It's a worldwide game that doesn't get enough recognition in america but i love it all the same.

Gregory Williams – Being a huge sports fan, It was frustrating to see my now 9-year old son having no interest in baseball or football games. Then came the Union and he's hooked! Can't wait for our 3rd game at PPL Park THIS SUNDAY for the playoffs! DOOP!

Jessie Garcia Sobrado – I grew up not playing any sports or truly following any pro sports teams. Then, 11 years ago I met my husband who grew up in another country & LOVES soccer, so I started to take an interest in the sport. Last year I bought tickets to several Union games as a gift for his birthday. It turns out it was just as much a gift for ME! I immediately fell in love with the Union, the Sons of Ben, PPL Park... all of it! My mother tells me that the Union are my new religion & I say AMEN!! Lol. We are proud season ticket holders & can't wait for Sunday's playoff game. My car, house & self are all decked out with the Union- even on my phone the ringtone is the DOOP Song! Ad Finem Fidelis! Jungite au Perite!!

Joshua Berger – I have loved soccer alot and nothing interested me in american soccer untill i found the philly union their skill and cutting edge tactics showed me that were just as good as the other countries and I living in Pennsylvania have alot of love for philly union you've changed the way i play soccer and one of my soccer idles and overall idles is Le Toux! DOOP!

Jesus Casper Alpizar – Philadelphia Union has impacted my life in a dramatic way i wasnt into soccer alot but when i seen that the players of Philadelphia Union are more like a family than a team it made me feel proud that our city can cheer for them win lose or tie no other team can compete with our great players and our city so DOOP or Die!

Haseeb E Goheer – I have been dooping since 07 and I'm yet to miss a minute of any union game and have been to plenty of the games so far! All my tweets and facebook updates have been about the U. Union for life! Doop!

Rich Bernstein – Me, not a big sports fan. In fact, for many years, I was the anti sports fan, looking to be a little different. Both of my kids played in-town soccer. My son played club and all the way through captaining his HS team. Imagine me, then, at the age of 52, with my same age buddy (less of a sports fan than I), becoming a first time in any sport season ticket holder, and then, becoming a rabid Union fan. My addiction includes mulitple times daily checking this and other blogs to see what you all have to say. I cannot say that there is any pasttime that I have ever enjoyed more. Union till I die!

Bronwyn L. Martin – Became a huge soccer fan, haven't missed a Union home game, but most of all love the respect and courtesy that the Union players have for their fans and exhibit these wonderful qualities at every game. Will be DOOP-ing this Sunday at the game!

Dan Lim – The union being the underdog coming in the league this year i have now learned that anything is possible with belief and hope. Being a soccer player myself union inspired me to do my best. doop

Alex McNaughton – before the union came I knew nothing about soccer like the typical american, now I know it so well that it is scary.

Amy A-strike  As a child, I was all about soccer.. Couldn't get enough of it. My brothers and I would play all the time, no matter where we were. As we grew older we didn't play as much and lost that connection between us. Now that I'm in college, and my oldest brother is married, we really were disconnected for a little while. When the Union team was formed, we decided to go to a game. Needless to say, our bond over our love for soccer has grown once again, and now we are even doing other activities besides soccer. Thanks Union for bringing my brother and I back together!

Larry Reeve III  The Union have no doubt made an impact on my life. From the first time that I watched the game to going to my first Union game it has allowed me to become a part of something so awesome. Each week I look forward to watching the games to feel the energy and get excited about the team who reached the playoffs in their second year. The atmosphere at the Union games are like no other. The Union have allowed me to become a part of something that I always hoped to be a part of. Thank you Union! DOOP!!!

Eric Carlino While – "changed my life" might be a little on the extreme, what the union have done is renewed my passion for the beautiful game. I was the typical kid who played soccer growing up but stopped, yet an interest always remained in the sport thanks to my late grandfather. We would watch the games from Europe, those that were shown here at least. My grandfather unfortunately passed away several years before the Union came to be otherwise I'd wager he would be singing and chanting in the river end with me today. But I digress. When the announcement came that Philly was to be granted an MLS franchise I was excited to have another team to support in this already great sports town. I attended my first game at PPL park around the middle of the inaugural season with my wife and the two of us were hooked before the 20th minute. Since that game my passion for the sport has grown a thousand fold. I'm on the Union and MLS website's every day. I read the newsletters daily follow twitter and Facebook updates as well as podcasts and other media. My wife and I have just completed our first season as union season ticket holders and members of the sons of Ben. We are already re-dooped for next season, and will be standing by the u for years to come. DOOP!

Sue Dunckley – What can I say, Union have returned me to my younger days. I was born almost within shouting distance of Old Trafford (OK, 50 miles) and supported Manchester United since the dreadful year 1958 and the loss of the 'Babes'. Saw George Best, Charlton and co play and watched United vascillate between brilliant and OK. Watched England at Wembley. Then .... moved to US and saw my football (soccer) days over. What a delight, after having to visit DC United to get a soccer fix, to learn of the Philadelphia Union. Now I have not only a team to watch every week, either live or on TV, but a family of fans who know the game, don't scream 'deeeeefense' in my ear - yes I even watched the Eagles a time or two - and a ground I feel at home in. And, a great team whose enthusiasm inspire us all. My son and I hope to get season tickets next year, we buy tickets every home game anyway. Thank you all, keep on dooping!

William S. Leitch – been a soccer fan since i was young, went to the atoms games at the vet with my best friend and his dad ..yes i saw bob rigby play ...saw the atoms win the nasl championship on tv that year... fan of the fury .. watched the world cup on the spanish stations for years because american stations didnt show it till 94 when the usa hosted the cup... read in philly weekly about the sobs and almost joined then, but when the mls officially came to philly i did join in jan of 2010 ,got season tix by my self , my wife was one and done at the linc against dallas ,kids and friends really not into soccer yet ,so i go to the tailgates try to help as much as possible , go on road trips, buy t shirts, scarfs, jerseys.. etc now my wife calls the union and the sob's my red sports car( a not yet mid life crisis) i am so glad they ended up getting a home playoff game cause i was really not ready for the toronto game to be the last ppl experience till march...

Kevin Boyle – I have been given a great gift by the Union when my family attend games at PPL Park. I am able to explain the game of Soccer to both of my children as we sit in section 117 and intensely watch the game. No better way to watch a game but live and in person. I was also able enjoy a game with my brother when game home for a visit with his family, Philadelphia is the city of Brotherly Love.

Kyle Martin  Do not ask my wife how it has changed my life! :) We now live at YSC and PPL! My son has meet much better coaches and joined more challenging youth Programs like LVU. I have returned to playing at a competitive level after not playing fir 15 years.

Justin Spears  what hasnt the union changed in our lives

Kristin Hair  The union games made my dad and I closer! We both can't get enough and we go to every home game together. The Philadelphia union allows me to spend more quality time with my dad and I thank you!

Laura Colucci  Molnar I am writing for my 9 year old son, he loves the entire team and once we started taking him to union games he never gives up and plays as hard as he can! He says he wants to be on that team someday!!!

Anthony Soda – They opened a whole new perspective to the city of Philadelphia in sports. Now the greatest sport of all time can be shared with all members of our great city. It changed my life to see soccer get bigger other then the countries over seas.

Nick Cruickshank – They inspired me to keep up my dream of being a professional soccer player. Even when everyone around me says i'm too small, not strong enough, and not fast enough they kept me going.

Shant Karakashian – My four sons (ages 6 to 14) only sporadically took part in soccer. Once the Union came along and we started attending matches, their excitement for the sport increased exponentially. They all play in the local organized league now, and my 12 year old who was not sure about going to his first match in 2010, never looked back and is one of the best players on his team. We've even cut the grass a different height in our backyard and made a small soccer field with goals, etc.

Avi Gordon – The union have inspired me to continue to try my hardest at any athletic or school-related event because once you try your absolute hardest at something and achieve that goal, you can feel really good about yourself and your confidence in life improves. Also the union have showed me that soccer in this country has really come a long way since its rebirth in the 90s. I cheer for the union, not only because they are an awesome Philly team, but also because I wish for soccer to be equally as popular as the other major sports in this country. My grandpa was a professional soccer player and all he wanted was to see his favorite sport become popular and loved by all in this country. I feel that by cheering on the union and supporting soccer all together, I am fulfilling his dream for this amazing sport. The union are an amazing team that really have inspired me to achieve my goals and I hope they achieve theirs and win the MLS cup this year!!! DOOP

Brian Rehm  After all these years, they finally brought a pro soccer team to Philly! I'd been waiting my whole life for this!! DOOP.

Matt Vernot – They inspired me to start playing soccer. Before the union came to philly I had no knowledge of the game and no love for it. I went through a rough patch of depression and soccer helped me along with therapy. A year and a half later I am now the captain of my high school soccer team and aspire to play in college next year. Thank you union for turning me on to what has now become my favorite sport.

Kara Rohrbach – The Union has lifted the "No-Sports" ban on the TV at my house!

Mary Kelleher – it has allowed my son to go to bed every night and dream big dreams. thanks Union. I m glad the flash did not wake him up!!!

Dan Mathers – With a local team, I no longer support Manchester United. Those jerseys have stayed in my closet for a solid two years now.

Derek Weikel – This is a great thread, with every response its harder to stifle my excitement for Sunday...cmon the u!!!