Fans' View

Fans’ View: Like a good neighbor

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Good neighbors make good neighborhoods. Many of us, I’m sure, have lived in an apartment building or dorm room near the guy who plays his stereo at max volume at 3am, or the upstairs neighbor who decides to tap dance around the living room. It doesn’t matter how great the apartment is, with neighbors like that, you’ll be looking to move.

We live in Lower Bucks, and we have wonderful neighbors—and fantastic diversity among our neighbors. Some older, some younger; some Jewish, some Christian, some atheist. The people on our street watch out for one another, and we have some truly great friends among our neighbors. In short, we live in a great neighborhood because we have great neighbors.

PPL Park

PPL Park is, essentially, one giant neighborhood with a great diversity of neighbors. The River End. The club boxes. The folks stuck next to the other team’s supporter’s group. Each section in the stadium has its own personality at this point, and that diversity makes PPL a fantastically fun place to watch a soccer game.

When we first got our season tickets, back in 2010, we were in the corner section. Essentially, it was inexpensive and allowed us to get in and see how we liked it. The folks around us were decent people, but overall the section was quiet. The only time anybody made any noise was when Le Toux came over to take a corner kick or the Union scored. Otherwise, folks sat there patiently waiting for something to cheer about.

Movin’ on up

When the Loyalty Points came along, we took advantage of the free upgrade and moved down to the sideline section—section 109 to be exact. It’s a fantastic section. Much like our neighborhood at home, we have a lot of diversity: older folks, young families, ethnic diversity, and diehards. Unlike our old “neighborhood” in the corner, this new neighborhood was hopping; people sing along with the Sons of Ben, we yell at the ref when he makes a Geiger-esque call, we DOOP loud and proud. Every Union goal results in a round of high fives throughout the area. There’s nothing more awesome at a game than having a 5-year-old—my seat neighbor—dance and sing DOOP while giving high fives.

The Sons of Ben

And like a good neighbor (sorry, State Farm), the Sons of Ben have evolved to better fit in the neighborhood.

To overextend the neighborhood metaphor, I liken the Sons of Ben to that young couple that moves in down the street. They’re nice people, they graciously help out their elderly neighbors by shoveling snow and mowing the grass without asking for anything in return; they wave and always say hello. In short, they’re generous, charitable, good people—the kind of people you want in your neighborhood.

Every once in a while, they get a bit rowdy—the music gets loud, they drop an F-bomb accidentally while kids are nearby, and so on. But they learn and grow and adapt to the neighborhood.

From Day One with the Union, the only thing that ever bothered me was the infamous YSA chant during goal kicks. As a parent, I’m well aware that my daughter hears that—and worse—in school every day. I’m not naïve enough to think she doesn’t use that or similar language herself. Yet there was something crass about the YSA chant I always disliked.

Nowadays, the YSA is all but gone. That, to me, shows why PPL Park is a great neighborhood, and one that I’m proud to be a part of on game days. Despite the diversity—or perhaps because of it—PPL Park is a terrific venue, and it’s all because it’s made up of good neighbors.


  1. Welcome to the neighborhood! We started in 109. The first year the row behind us was empty for most of the games, but that changed quickly in 2011. We thought about moving next year, maybe closer to the aisle or even over to 106, but it would feel wrong. The seats around us are all the same faces that have been with us since the beginning and I like them. Come say hi on Saturday. Row P, family of 4 with two boys, mom being a little too enthusiastic for the 12yr old’s liking…

  2. We’re up in the last row, right about in the center. We’ve been there since last year, actually. Overall, we like the last row – we can stand and not block anybody’s view. And we have fun people around us.

  3. EFF YEAH! CIXers for the win!!
    Proudly heckling the opposing team’s bench since 2010.

  4. I love this post. Especially liking the SoBs to the teenagers in the neighborhood who are deep down really good kids – spot on! I think the atmosphere is pretty special and unique in the Philly sports scene. Everyone can find their niche.
    One thing I would like to see though is a program for Chester locals to obtain day-of-game seats at a discounted rate. Not sure if the Foundation already does something like that, but it seems like a no-brainer to fill a few seats and grow the connection to the local community.

  5. Oreland827 says:

    There’s CIX, and then there’s the rest!!!

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