Fans' View

What a long, strange trip it’s been

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Staci Klemmer is a longtime Union fan and Fan’s View contributor to PSP.

As I drove to the game on Sunday, I realized I had moved through the five stages of grief on Friday.

Denial – this can’t be happening to us.

Anger – how could the players be this stupid?

Bargaining – please, just let us have one center back.

Depression – we’re going to lose.

Finally, acceptance.

And that dear reader is what this offering is about. I had made it through to accepting the fact that the game was going to be played and I could choose how I would react to it.

In 2008, I put a deposit down on tickets. That first season my youngest son was 6. He will be 18 in January and for the most part, he’s been at most home games and quite a few away games. This fall has been bittersweet because he will be a freshman in college next year and I will have to find a new seat mate. We spend hours talking about the Union (he has a freakishly good memory for games, stats and players). Soccer has brought us closer together. We’ve promised ourselves matching tattoos when the Union lift the cup.

When I got up Sunday morning – the sun was shining. It was a beautiful day for a game. I knew that we might not win, but for me in that moment, on the Blue Route, it was about the family that I have found that love my Union as much as I do.

We tailgated before the game with friends that I have found through the years. From folks I met at PSP, podcasts and the Fan Council to my son’s childhood soccer teammates. As I looked around, I thought about all the memories we’ve shared – Union preseasons in Florida, tailgates in Lot A, Open Cup heartbreak, lifting the shield!

Yes, we were dealt a crappy hand, but I had a great time at the game. The atmosphere was loud and raucous. We got to Doop and I got to spend it time with friends and family.

On to next year. Please sign a striker.

And I’ll take art submissions for the tattoo I hope to be getting.


  1. My story is basically the same, except my two grown boys have left me with two seats I sometimes found harder to fill this year (but have had no issue lately). Found myself several times this year there by myself, in the SOB lot, minivan open, three flags up, on the “hill”, in my spot, beer in hand… chillin…
    I also find the experience of going to games transcends alot of the “noise” around the team/ tactics/ etc… I work my ass off and get immense pleasure with the whole ritual of game day for, nothing else, a bit of escapism at home and adventure when I hit away games.
    I’m renewed for 2022 STH & SOB, Section 114, no doubt, no hesitation…. Isn’t that what it means to be a supporter?
    and yea… Please sign a striker…

    • AMEN, could not have said it better… fellow Sec 114!!!

      … maybe add that my tix rep, every year, asks if we want to relocate our seats, upgrade.

      Section 114… always!

      “Over the defender”

  2. soccerdad720 says:

    Yup..this. I proudly wore my “here before the team” scarf on Sunday, same deal on the kids growing up, maturing and (mostly) moving away. However, had three of my kids with me in my four seats Sunday….and quite probably for the last time. Love my union brethren and players.

  3. Great read, and like the above commenters, it also took me on a nostalgic trip down memory lane. I remember hearing about the grassroots effort to get a soccer team in Philly and not paying much attention until about 2009. I joined the SOB and got on the pre-season ticket waiting list and following the developments as the plans for the team progressed. I remember a whole lot of time spent on the BigSoccer boards back in the day.

    Was so stoked to be there for the inaugural home match, to see Seba get that hat trick and get the first W. Was even more stoked to move into my new home in PPL Park in the last row of section 135 and practically melt in my seat on one of the hottest days I can ever remember as we watched the boys open their new patch with a W (and Seba scoring yet again).

    I met a lot of people through the Union who are still great friends today. For season 2, I moved over to 138 where I stayed as a STH until the end of 2017 at which point I gave up my tickets as there were just too many things competing for time and money, and I wasn’t able to make use of my tickets enough to justify keeping them. It was an incredibly tough decision.

    I’ve stayed a fan through that whole time, attending the odd match here and there, but always following closely. This run this past year has absolutely reinvigorated my love for this team and for the sport in-general, and I’m happily coming back in for next season over in 115. I can’t believe how much I missed being down there for games, and I can’t believe how much I didn’t realize I missed it.

    Can’t wait to make a ton of new memories. Unlike those of you who have posted, I don’t have the privilege, yet, of being a parent, but hopefully, if and when that day comes, I can’t wait to share my love of this team and the stories of their history with my family and pass that passion along.

  4. My story a little different as 10 years ago my wife suggested I find an activity to do with my guy friends. I don’t golf or fish so I bought Union tickets and have had great male bonding time with my buddies. My wife started going to an occasional match when nobody else could go and then I started trading some games for extra tickets for a double date night with other couples.

    Out of this another Union fan was born as over the years she has mastered the Union chants for set pieces, yells a hearty “SUCKS!” when an opposing player is introduced and we doop it up together when the onion bag gets added. God help me if I didn’t invite her to conference final match.

    We will be in Section 109 again in a few short months and it is always a bummer to say see you next year to the folks we sit around. But this year our season end “so long” happened late enough that we could include a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and see you sooner than normal.

    And yeah, another striker would be great too!

  5. This a great story! Twitter has a #myDOOPstory going. Lots of cool ways we to become a Union fan! So happy the SOBs brought us a home team. I watched the live construction cam when the stadium was being built! The bride gave me a 5 game pack for year one and we bought season seats for the next year and haven’t looked back.
    I have commented on this site when the Union are playing an opponent that is missing players, that they should take advantage of the situation and win. So as much as it hurt,I had the same thought about the conference final.
    Of course I was hoping the boys would win and they sure gave it a hell of a go! We will be back in our seats in 114 to make more game day memories. See you all at the Park in February! Until then…have great Holidays!

  6. Bought 3 season tickets for the first Union season; for myself and my 2 boys in 138 (top row next to 137). Got my buddy Mike to buy season tickets for 2 seats next to me so that we could easily swap should one of us not be able to make a game. My boys were 13 & 17 at the time. As they grew older Mike ended up taking girls to the game, one of which ended up being his wife. Think it was their first date when I met her in 138. Loved wearing my blue ‘we are 138’ T-Shirt in those days.
    Was great for my boys to see players they grew up with and played against: Pfeffer, Steffen, Real, Freese, & Jones. Jones actually played with my youngest on the same team for a while.
    When my boys left for College (where both played at Div 3 schools) my wife suddenly became interested in coming to games. She did not want to sit (stand) in 138, so we moved to 104 couple of years ago. 104 used to be great when the beer deck rocked. Since Heineken took over it has been a disaster. I complete my survey after each game telling them to bring IPA’s back to the beer deck; hope you all do the same!
    Have been to many interesting games. Loved the original games in the Linc, loved the European teams that visited such as Palace and Schalke (and going to their practices), loved many of the Cup games, the successful run in FL last year (when we could watch the games on the grass in the stadium), and the fantastic success in the CL and the playoffs.
    Was devastating to lose last week but hope the club will learn from it and build a stronger roster. Need at least one striker who does not frustrate us as much as Kasper and makes a considerable difference.

    • I reply to every single game day survey I get, and everyone I plead for them to bring back the local beers, happy hour, and the great vibe the deck once had….
      I’m sure Heineken makes it “worth their while”…

      • The last survey I suggested the brewery right there in Chester. What better way to support the community and local businesses! Even if its a few kegs as the ” feature local brew” or “home grown beer of the match”

      • I believe the beer situation is why there is a survey about concessions at the Park after every game.Early in the season there was a beer stand with a local beer but by the end, they too were gone. BRING BACK THE LOCALS!

  7. At least whoever wins today has a big-assed asterisk next to their Cup, because they didn’t beat the better team in a fair 11-on-11 match. And next year, run up the score on those Cityzen bass turds. Machine gun the lifeboats. The Portland tifo was underwhelming in its smallness. Maybe the monsoon had something to do with that. And you can watch the final on YouTube. TUDN via Vanessa Sports. Search that on YT.

  8. Never let anyone in the media forget how we were fuccked, screwed, jobbed out of this title. NYCFC got every lucky break because MLS didn’t want the U anywhere near Portland. This is the twisting of the knife.

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