Sons of Ben

The Sons of Ben is a 501(c) (3) Pennsylvania based non-profit, membership organization.

The Sons of Ben, founded in January 2007, exists to support and develop the Delaware Valley soccer community. Through active, grassroots support, the Sons of Ben helped establish the momentum leading to the creation of the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer (MLS) and the Philadelphia Independence of the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league. In forging a relationship with Chester City, Delaware County and Pennsylvania State political leaders along with Major League Soccer, the vocal support of the group directly influenced the decision to award Philadelphia with an MLS franchise.

The Sons of Ben have provided a social outlet for soccer supporters to share common interests and be part of a larger community of sports fans in the 4th largest American media market. The organization has grown to include over 5,000 members throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and around the world. The Sons of Ben have also grown to oversee the Delaware Valley Infantry, a US Soccer supporters group based in Philadelphia region, and the Daughters of Betsy, a Philadelphia Independence (WPS) supporters group.
Charitable and philanthropic efforts have been central to the Sons of Ben since its founding, as evidenced by annual initiatives supporting the Bernardine Center in Chester, PA through its Help Kick Hunger campaign and ongoing efforts to support various other organizations close to the Delaware Valley soccer community.

The coming months will start a new chapter in the organizations noteworthy story with many historical events marking the arrival of the Philadelphia Union, Philadelphia Independence and the Sons of Ben into the national spotlight.

Predicting The Expansion Draft

Well, our season is over for now, and all that remains for supporters to do is pull fervently for whoever plays New York in the playoffs. But for the front office, there’s a lot of decisions that have to be made, and none are looming like the expansion draft. We’ve got two expansion teams coming into the league nextseason, so that obviously increases our chances of losing a player or two.

Generation Adidas players are automatically protected, so we don’t have to use a spot on Jack MacInerney or Amobi Okugo. The question mark, of course, is whether Danny Mwanga will retain the safety of a Generation Adidas designation. With the season he’s had, and the amount of time he’s played, I’d fully expect him to graduate.

If Mwanga does graduate, as I expect he will, he’d be one of the international players we’d have protect. Since I understand that players with green cards and adopted citizenship (Fred, Le Toux, Moreno, Miglioranzi) don’t count as internationals, nor does Cristian Arrieta, who plays for Puerto Rico but was born in Orlando, our other international players are Roger Torres (if we extend his loan or exercise the option to purchase), Juan Diego Gonzalez, Eduardo Coudet, and Toni Stahl. The only player who I’d expect to be under threat of getting drafted out of them is Roger Torres, but because of the slightly convoluted rules of the expansion draft, we’re only allowed to expose two, and I’d go with Stahl and Coudet. At 36, I doubt that Chacho is appealing to a team building from scratch, and I think Stahl’s time in Philadelphia is finished anyway.

Looking at who’s going to be protected from the senior non-international players, it almost seems superfluous to mention Seba Le Toux, who will undoubtedly be the first name on Nowak’s list. I’d anticipate Captain Califf and the two fullbacks, Sheanon Williams and Jordan Harvey, will be protected as well. You’d think a valuable vet like Justin Mapp to be protected, and Andrew Jacobson is a favorite of Peter’s. Fred started 24 games this season and was our third highest scorer, so I think he’s on the list too.

Looking at the goalkeeping situation, I don’t think either Brad Knighton or Chris Seitz will be protected. Knighton is cheap and has done reasonably well, but he’s not irreplaceable, and Seitz is quite a hefty contract for what he’s shown in return.

That leaves just a single spot left on the protected roster, and eight players looking to fill it. I’d be shocked if J.T. Noone (0 appearances) or Cristian Arrieta (Out of the team for weeks now) are on it, and we can probably rule them out. I’d imagine that given their age, contracts, and performance this season, Alejandro Moreno and Stefani Miglioranzi will also be exposed, leaving just four players, Shea Salinas, Kyle Nakazawa, Nick Zimmerman, and Michael Orozco-Fiscal, vying for that final spot. None of them are players we want to lose, and all, being young, talented, and for the most part, cheap, are the type of players expansion teams want. But chips on the table, I think Nowak protects Orozco-Fiscal, who played the biggest part of any of that foursome.

If one of our players happens to be selected, we’re allowed to add another player to the protected list. I think Peter will go with Salinas, but if he’s the one taken, Nakazawa would be my second choice. We can’t lose more than two players, thankfully.

Here’s my expected lists of who will be protected, unprotected, and who will be exempt. Obviously, Danny Mwanga’s GA status, and whether we pick up the loan deals for Orozco and Torres could change things.

Protected: Danny Mwanga Roger Torres Juan Diego Gonzalez Sebastien Le Toux Danny Califf Sheanon Williams Jordan Harvey Justin Mapp Andrew Jacobson Fred Michael Orozco-Fiscal

Unprotected: Eduardo Coudet Toni Stahl Brad Knighton Chris Seitz J.T. Noone Christian Arrieta Stefani Miglioranzi Alejandro Moreno Kyle Nakazawa Shea Salinas Nick Zimmerman

Exempt: Jack McInerney Amobi Okugo

© copyright 2014, Sons of Ben.  Main image by Earl Gardner.