Fans' View

Fans’ View: Unexpected happiness

Photo: Staci Klemmer

“Well, that was fun.”

That’s what I tweeted right after the final whistle of Sunday’s game. And how nice it was to say it.

What an unexpected gift Sunday’s home opening win was. Not only the win, but the play, the day, and the fact that Lot A was not a mud pit of epic proportions.

I have to admit I’ve been kinda blase about the season this year. An offseason that saw so many familiar names go and unknown names arrive, coupled with the fact I didn’t get to go to Florida for preseason, meant  I just wasn’t into it like I usually am. It’s not like I wasn’t going to support the team, I just wasn’t putting the countdown to first kick on my board at school like I have in past years.

So, when the weather looked liked it was going to be nasty, I was more disappointed about the dwindling number of folks coming to tailgate than I was excited about seeing the Union play. At that moment, I realized gameday had come to be more about hanging out in Lot A with my tailgate buddies than it was about watching soccer. The Union just wasn’t fun to watch anymore.

Even after the win at Columbus, I still had doubt about the team’s ability to put a good performance together two weeks in a row. I’ve been a fan since the beginning and I have learned not to get my hopes up.

And so, wow, what a wonderful surprise the home opener turned out to be.

Thank you, soccer gods, for all of the gifts you bestowed upon us Sunday. That even though it was cold and windy, I have a sunburn on my face. That the captain of our tailgates decided to skip his son’s soccer game to come throw down an awesome brunch. That my good friends decided to brave the weather and come hang out with me since my husband and son were at a soccer tournament. That the snow and ice held off until the waning moments of the game.

And thank you for the play on the field.

I have to admit, at the meet and greet for season ticket holders before the season started, I walked right past Warren Creavalle. I didn’t say hello (in my defense he was talking with someone), didn’t try to get a photo of him with my kid. Why? Because, I just didn’t think he’d be in the starting 18 this year. I’m so sorry Warren that I doubted you and, by the way, love the new haircut.

Andre Blake? No words. Yes, I am letting go of my obsession with other goalies. CJ Sapong? Chris Pontius? I feel like for the first time, our players are pushing to be in the right place at the right time. I mean, the goals from the past two games were simply just fun to watch. The backline? With what I could argue is the youngest in the league in age or experience, those two rookies and a one-year veteran looked pretty good out there.

From start to finish yesterday, I felt the difference in attitude on the field.

So, is their room for improvement? Sure (PKs anyone?). But think about this: They Union have been looking this good with three of arguably their best players sitting on the bench. I mean, wow, we have depth. So nice to meet you.

And for me, the most important take away from the match was this: I can honestly say that at no point in the game was I panicking that the Union were going to blow it.

How long has it been since we’ve had that feeling?

I don’t know, but it sure does feel good.

So, come back from the cliff and join me on the mountain — or at least start backing away from the edge.


  1. I have to say Staci, that some of your positions are unfamiliar to me. This season, starting with the ousting of Sak and the insertion of Big E, have been a revelation about what we’ve been missing since the start. For me, this has been as exciting, if not more so, than the first season. And I am not alone. There are many here who have seen the light of hope and of promise to come. Many who have fought the vibe of “same ol’ Union”, despite the Pavlovian instinct to assume all will go to pot. Maybe it’s because of my love of hockey and it’s teams ever changing lineups, but I have not mourned the loss of one of the players that have been sent on to other pastures. But let me assure you, “…the future is bright, so you gotta wear shades”. Let me say to you, welcome to the mountain of hope. Stay away from that cliff of despair.
    As the great Bill Hicks said “…it’s just a ride…” so enjoy it.

    • James Lockerbie says:

      I am with All4u, and while I don’t profess to be the cause of Nick’s termination. I do find it an amazing little fact, that one year three days after this was posted

      He was in fact terminated. Jay Surgman just located Jim Curtin’s Baron von Steuben and now he can be the George Washington I talked about in this, fan’s view.

      Now there was this very special Fan’s view I contributed and I thank the Philly Soccer Page for allowing me to share it.

      I am so happy, that after two off-seasons of work I can report, Ben Franklin was at a Union Game and the fans loved him as you can see in the article posted previously with pictures from Sunday’s game day events.

      Staci Klemmer, I would be lying if I tried to tell you I didn’t start to feel the worries towards the end of the game. The ones that sneak into your head as time goes by and you start to worry of a win slipping away.

      I am proud to say, STOP! This is a New Union team there is hope for the rest of this season and beyond! I want to kiss Jay Sugarman’s cheek! He fired bozo and Hired Mr. Stewart his two best ideas since deciding to own a Soccer Club.

      We are in good hands, let the good times Roll !!

      Thank you for taking the time to write your article. I hope fans like yourself can see what All4u and I see in this new Union 2.0

  2. I still panicked a little.
    The missed PKs had me worried but not to the extent of last year. I didn’t feel like the Union were just backing against the ropes and taking punch after punch hoping to still be standing at the bell. I like the attitude the team had. Even up two they were still going for a third – proactive – trying to win the game instead of hoping not to lose it.

  3. Hey Staci, Welcome back! I have to admit that I spent a fair amount of time at the Cliff last season. (They had cookies!) But with the changes to the front office and players, I had to move off the Cliff. So this season I’m setting up on the mountain with a lot of the Union faithful. As far as lot A, we have been using the grass lots around the stadium as long as we have been going. Hope to hear…umm read more from ya this season. It’s OK to loose the faith a bit. The organization now has to win it back.

  4. Staci,

    there are only 11 starters… not 18 😉

  5. old soccer coach says:

    in the last two or three days on PSP the commentator who labels himself “Cliff of Union Despair” posted, in response to a Chicagoan asking for advice about Cliffs of Despair in general, a general comment that the owners of the cliff’s real estate were seeking diversification opportunities and were soliciting feedback on five possibilities.
    I cannot for the life of me remember the other four, only the fifth which was the one that attracted me, “The Plains of Cautious Union Optimism.”
    Were you to find that post, you would enjoy the creativity, and accuracy.

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