2008-2009: MLS Philadelphia 2010
Philadelphia was awarded Major League Soccer's 16th team on February 28th, 2008. The combination of extensive grassroots support and a public/private partnership between Philadelphia Union, the State of Pennsylvania, Delaware County and the City of Chester enabled the construction of a state-of-the-art soccer stadium and convinced MLS that the Philadelphia region deserved a soccer team.
The supporters association known as the Sons of Ben, which was founded in January 2007, petitioned Major League Soccer to expand to the Philadelphia market until the official expansion announcement was made. Named for Founding Father and Philadelphia icon Benjamin Franklin, the group was included in the expansion press conference, singing their anthem, "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover", and closing the event by presenting scarves to Philadelphia Union's ownership group. The Sons of Ben were also featured prominently in a Groundbreaking ceremony for the club's under-construction stadium on December 1st, 2008 and in a naming ceremony on May 11th, 2009 at City Hall.
Philadelphia Union operated under the name MLS Philadelphia 2010 for most of 2008 and the early portion of 2009. During this time period the club entered into long-term Keystone Partnerships with Panasonic and Crozer-Keystone/Premier Orthopaedics, officially broke ground on a world-class stadium in Chester, Pa., announced landmark youth development relationships with Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association and Delaware Youth Soccer Association, conducted a team name “Fan Vote”, and agreed to a marketing partnership with Seasons Pizza. Much of 2008 and the early months of 2009 were dedicated to gathering fan feedback and historical research in preparation for the official launch of Philadelphia Union, which came to fruition on May 11th, 2009.