Fans' View

Fans’ View: The five-year cycle of Union fandom

Photo: Garen M.

As fans, we have a shared bond with the team. It is a collective relationship, but it is made up of thousands of smaller, highly personal, ones. Each one of us has a one-on-one tie and our own personal interaction with the Philadelphia Union. I don’t know what that looks like for you, or each other individual fan. For me, it has actually looked quite a bit different each year. As with most relationships, I’m sure, that says as much about me as it does about the team.

Year 1

In the beginning, there was HOPE. The announcement that Philadelphia would be awarded a team was the answer to a prayer I had been muttering for so long that the words were lost. All that remained was a nameless longing for it.

I could see it but it was always just out of reach. Then, it simply wasn’t anymore. It was at hand. I could touch it. Name it. Hold it as mine.

Year 2

While that first year came with the expected struggles, the second brought a new gift. By the end of year two, there was PRIDE. Not only was I there to see the team born and starting to build, I was seeing them build something special.

Need a goalie? Get a goalie. Need a lock-down defense? Get a lock-down defense. It was working and the team fought its way into its first playoff berth.

Year 3

After pride, comes the fall. That’s the rule, right? But, in my personal case, what season three brought was DISTRACTION. OK, and maybe a FALL.

As any of you who is fan enough to still be here reading this will attest, it was a right cluster for the Union.

As it came to a close though, things stabilized. The bottom proved sturdy enough bedrock upon which to build back up.

Year 4

This past year came with some high highs and low lows. What it gave me was a model, if an imperfect one, of REBUILDING. The Union assessed what it had, and what it could grasp, and then made the best of it they could while planning for a brighter future.

While it could be frustrating as a fan, (and I’m sure as a player, a manager, or in the FO), it is the right way to rebuild.

Year 5

What’s NEXT? What does the future hold for the Union? What will they be next for me personally? I don’t fully know, and I’m cool with that. A foundation for a bright, fresh, chapter looks like it could be in place.

If the Postseason Hack is to be believed — and I kinda do believe him, strangely — there is a plan in place to march forward.

So what IS next? I’ll confess, I find myself circling, at last, back to HOPE.


  1. James lockerbie says:

    Man great posting sums up my thoughts to a tee

  2. OneManWolfpack says:

    Yeah excellent post.
    Unfortunately TRUST isn’t one of the words used. I thought by Year 5 we would definitely have that.

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