In memoriam

Father, son, brother and friend… Eric Shertz

You take what ya need and you leave the rest
But they should never have taken the very best

This lyric from The Band has always struck a chord with me. When Levon Helm passed away, it was like he was singing about himself.

Now I think he’s singing about Eric Shertz.

The Philadelphia Union, the Sons of Ben, and the Bearfight Brigade family suffered an unimaginable loss this weekend when word spread on Sunday that Eric had passed in his sleep. Shock is an understatement in describing how the Union family took the news.

For those lucky enough to have met Eric, the first encounter they may have had with him was his welcoming smile at the SoB tailgates. He could disarm you with his smile. He managed to make strangers who wanted to check out the Sons of Ben feel like welcome friends.

The Sons of Ben at the first ever Union match in Seattle

Eric (front row, last on the right) with the Sons of Ben at the first ever Union match in Seattle

“Early on, he was at every event,” former Sons Ben President Bryan James said. “A constant participant. Probably only second to Tommy Ro in terms of being the welcome wagon. A wonderful, friendly, and generous man who served as a great role model to his son and to those around him.”

The SoBs couldn’t have a better ambassador.

Photo by Earl Gardner

Eric and friends at the first ever Bearfight FC match.

Eric was also instrumental in helping the Bearfight Brigade form their own member supported football club. When Bearfight Brigade founders Jeremy Sharpe and Justin Lee hatched their plan to start a team, it was Eric who was the key person in navigating the way through the labyrinth of paperwork.

“Eric was the most selfless person I’ve ever known,” Sharpe said. “To talk about the technical aspects of what Eric did would not do justice to what he truly did for FC. Eric did whatever had to be done. He didn’t want thank yous, he didn’t want to take credit.

“The essence of Eric was at a match this year versus the Ukies. He was away from everyone. He observed the match and the supporters. Eric was the person who did whatever it took to bring joy to other people’s lives. What he did for the club was give it a soul. Results didn’t concern Eric, family did. That day, he stood on his own with a smile on his face. That was Eric, doing whatever needed to get done to make other people happy.”

Eric gave so much to everyone and never asked for anything in return, the sort of generous and kind soul that you just don’t see everyday. He was truly a great human being and we all should consider ourselves fortunate for having a person like him in our lives.

When I think about his legacy, his greatest contribution to the world would be his amazing son, Gabe. He’s a little brother to all of us. I wish I could give him a hug and let him know we are all here for him in whatever he needs.

Eric & Gabe Shertz

Eric and Gabe Shertz

If you would like to make a donation to Gabe and the Shertz family, you can do so here.

If you are able to attend, Eric’s funeral will take place this Friday, April 25. There will be a viewing from 10 am – 1 pm. He will be laid to rest immediately following the viewing, which will take place at:

Hicks Home for Funerals
103 W Stockton St
Elkton, MD 21921

If you are able to attend, please wear a scarf to the funeral. The scarf should either be either a Philadelphia Union scarf, a US Soccer scarf, Bearfight FC, Bearfight Brigade, Sons of Ben, or the scarf of any other Union supporters group.

A wake will take place on Saturday, April 26 at 1 pm at:

Stoney’s British Pub
3007 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE 19803

Come be with us as we share memories and celebrate the life of our brother. After the wake we will do what Eric would have done: Watch the Union away in Montreal at 4 pm.


  1. Danny Bauder says:

    Well said, Earl. That lyric from Levon is really appropriate.

  2. Great job on this, Earl.

  3. Kevin Shertz says:

    Thank you for your very moving tribute to my brother. I’m so glad you got to know Eric as well as us. You all meant the world to him.

  4. ebradlee10 says:

    Well said, Earl. Thanks for putting it into words…

  5. Jim Presti says:

    Eric was an awesome gameday neighbor in the RE. Great guy. My thoughts are with Gabe and his family. The Union and SoBs lost a great man this weekend.

  6. Well said Earl, thank you for sharing your memories.

  7. Kyle Branson says:

    Eric was one of the first people to welcome me in the Sons of Ben at my first tailgate. Since then, he has been a wonderful person to talk with at every match. I’m going to miss his smile and the joy he shared with everyone. Great article, Earl.

    • Tim Swallow says:

      I feel the exact same way. He was one of the first people to talk to me as well at my first tailgate, and was always extremely nice and welcoming. I only had the chance to know Eric for about a year and he and I would always converse for a while at each game. That’s part of the reason why I love going to games so much.

      Earl, great words. He will be very missed.

  8. Paul Shertz says:

    Eric’s family thanks all of of his friends at the Union, Bearfight FC and SOB for their overwhelming outpouring of love for Eric, and support for our family…I want all to know that Gabe is doing as well as can be expected, and appreciates all the messages he has received…we hope to see as many of you as possible at the funeral on Friday and the wake at Stoney’s on Saturday…he was a very very special person…and you are a very special family…his father, Paul and stepmother Debbie.

    • Earl Gardner says:

      Please give Gabe a big hug for me

      • Paul Shertz says:

        Gabe has been given lots of hugs by all of his uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents in person…hope all of you can also give him hugs and support on Friday and Saturday…thanks to all for helping to defray the costs the family is incurring and supporting Gabe’s finances…you are great, and I know Eric is smiling.

  9. James Lockerbie says:

    My deepest thoughts and prayers go to the Shertz family.

  10. embargo , menudo el Bears ‘ confinada logro activar un estándar administrador transición desde poder Phil cannella período de dos a?os atrás . Emery esfuerzo a re-fit que en el momento oportuno ha trabajado | trabajado | ninguna | pasado algún tiempo de trabajo | trabajado como chef | trabajado como personal de cocina | ha realizado} de mayor relacionado con productos escoge automáticamente . La exacta mismo va para

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