Dear Philly Fans,
The Philadelphia Union won the Supporters’ Shield and finished with the best record in Major League Soccer. We are the first MLS team ever to finish with a perfect record at home.
I grew up here, I looked up to all the sports heroes of this city, from Allen Iverson and Brian Dawkins to Chase Utley and Eric Lindros.
Coaching a Philadelphia team is special for me, nothing else will ever give me the same thrill. From the moment I joined the Philadelphia Union, all I wanted was to bring a trophy to this city. But I wanted to do it in a way Philly would appreciate, through hard work, grit, determination, and an us-against-the-world mentality. I wanted to do it with players that understood what it meant to wear a badge with this city’s name on it, guys that understood the connection Philly has to its sports teams.
Guys like Alejandro Bedoya, one of the best American players of his generation. People always underestimated Ale, but he’s one of the smartest players this country has ever produced, and an even better leader. He wanted to come to Philadelphia and fight alongside younger guys with big potential, like Brenden Aaronson, who I’ve known since he was nine years old, and Mark McKenzie, who was the best center back in the league this year at age 21.
I’m so lucky to work with players that want to fight for this city, and that embrace it as home no matter how they arrived here.
Our goalkeeper, Andre Blake, was unquestionably the best in MLS in 2020. He’s the captain of the Jamaican national team and has played his whole pro career in Philly. Fans love him because he loves them and respects their passion.
The same for Ray Gaddis, a guy from Indianapolis that has grown into a wonderful leader and true Philadelphian.
Every player, every member of the Union organization played a huge role in winning the Shield for this city. But we could not have done it without our supporters and fans. There is no feeling on Earth like the sound of Philly fans going nuts, chanting, cheering and releasing our city’s brotherly love in a moment of pure joy. I’ve been one of them at Eagles, Sixers, Flyers, and Phillies games. I’ve been out in the streets after those teams won trophies, and think about them every day when I get the privilege to coach a group of guys that want to bring that same feeling to Philly fans like me.
The Union have come so close to silverware three times before this, and when we didn’t get the result we needed, it was our supporters and fans that picked us up and gave us the fire to fight on. And now we did it. We did it for the fans — all the people like me that love Philly teams in a special way that no other city can match.
So thank you, Philly. This was for you.
And believe me — we still want more.
From one Philly sports fan to another, see you in the playoffs November 24th at 8 PM.