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.

SoB Elections 2017: Meet Your Candidates

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The Sons of Ben will be holding elections for several positions each year, starting this year.  As we told you previously, we will be electing a President, as well as Directors of Tifo, Tailgates, Roadtrips,  and Philanthropy.  We will also be electing an At Large Board Member, who will help lead in a variety of areas.

Below are personal biographies for each of the candidates.  Coming soon will be more extensive information about the candidates and their goals and objectives in their positions.


President

Bill Gusler

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I am Bill Gusler and the President of the Sons of Ben. I am running for re-election of the President, and hope to lead our group back to the group of supporters who stay faithful to the end. Obviously, this past season hasn’t been the best or easiest for us – on and off the field, with the team missing the playoffs, and losing a good friend and former President in Kenny Hanson, but we continue on, doing what we can.

I can’t control how our team performs, and I can’t control what the FO does, but I can, and will do everything I can to get our supporters club back on track to do what we used to be revered for throughout the MLS – being the best and worst bunch of SoBs we can be.

I want us to sing loud and proud for 90+ throughout the River End, scarves swinging, waves flagging, drinks flowing, smoke blowing, no sitting down, no red, no BPL jerseys, no petty bs…just support for our boys in blue.

I want to take over the bed pan in north jersey, I want to steal home from NYCFC, I want to be the reason RFK finally falls – I want our away trips to be legendary, the type where when you finally get your voice back, you tell your friend “you should’ve been there!”

I want our tifo to rival with those in Cascadia, I want Portland and Seattle to look at us and say damn, that SoB banner was the shit!

I want opposing players to hate and despise us, and our boys in blue to be honored to play in front of us.

I want to set the bar of how a supporter’s club should be in the MLS.

But I need you, every single one of you to step up. We’re all volunteers, and so are you. Without you helping with tifo, or traveling with us to away matches, or you standing and singing the whole match, none of this comes to fruition.

I am running to be re-elected as President of the Sons of Ben, and I will continue to give you everything I have.

Ad Finem Fidelis.


Tifo

Ryan Bross

Ryan Bross became a Season Ticket Holder with his family in 2009 before the start of the Union first season. From their seats in 120, he had not only a great vies of the action on the field but also what was happening in the opposite end of the stadium, in the River End. Ryan joined the Sons of Ben before the end of the 2010 season. In the following seasons Ryan became more and more involved with the SoB, specifically with tifo. Following the 2013 season, Ryan joined the SoB Board as Tifo Director. In these last four years,

 Ryan has made an effort to increase the overall quality and quantity of the tifo. As well as, made improvements to the display of the tifo through the selection of new tifo materials and the instillation of the pole and pulley system along the back of 137. Through these improvements, Ryan has sought to bring better attention to the game day experience generated by the SoB, in person and across social media; using the SoBTifo accounts to showcase tifo and experience and reaching out to volunteers and new members. Ryan strives to help create the best game day atmosphere possible in an effort to further support the players and coaching staff. Outside of the duties of Tifo Director, Ryan has helped out assisting with the SoB charity events. Ryan has chosen to run for another term Tifo Director because he believes there is still more to be done to enhance the game day experience and in the end, if no one else wants to do it, Ryan will stick around to see it through.


Philanthropy

Krystal Kane

Krystal Kane is a candidate for the Director of Philanthropy position with the Sons of Ben. With her community engagement and volunteer experience, Krystal is an ideal candidate for this position.

For her day job, Krystal manages the nationally-ranked pro bono program at one of the top ten law firms in Philadelphia. She is a past Firm-wide Chair of her law firm’s United Way campaign, raising over $500,000. She also ran a professional clothing drive for Career Wardrobe and for the Veterans Multi-Service Center.

Krystal is active in community organizations. She’s a member of the Young Lawyers Division of the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Brehon Law Society. Krystal has won awards for her volunteer work, including the “Outstanding Pro Bono Student” award from Drexel Law and a 2016 award from the Homeless Advocacy Project.

In her spare time, Krystal is also a volunteer for causes that help children. This past September, Krystal ran a very successful school supply drive for children living a Philadelphia homeless shelter. Krystal is an inaugural member of the Young Friends of the Support Center for Child Advocates, and is currently helping to organize their annual Toy Drive.  She is also a past volunteer with Philadelphia Reads.

Krystal has been attending Philadelphia Union matches since 2014, and joined the SoB in 2016. She and her squad call Section 139 home. Krystal is very excited for the opportunity to get more involved with the Sons of Ben, and to use her experience to help the SoB give back!

Krystal is a graduate of Penn State and Drexel Law, and when not supporting the Philadelphia Union, she is an avid fan of Chelsea FC and the USWNT. When not watching soccer, she’s reading The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, playing board games, or enjoying a good beer.

Jon Light

Hello! My name is Jon Light and I am running for Philanthropy Director. I have been a SoB since 2010 and a Season Ticket Holder since 2015. On any given match day you will find me losing my voice in 139 or the Capo stand in front of 140. In the past I have helped set up tailgates and paint tifo, but my biggest contribution to the SoB’s has been running their website for the last 2 years.

I have had experience in the past running philanthropic campaigns. While attending Millersville University, I successfully coordinated a benefit concert for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital raising $1,200. More recently I coordinated a bi-annual campaign to help the homeless of Trenton, Lancaster, and Philadelphia. The campaign consisted of building kits of supplies that would prove beneficial to the homeless. In that campaign I raised over $2,000 and built 200 bags. I am running on a platform that our philanthropic effort is never ending and that we can always be doing more. We are part of the community in Chester/Philadelphia and should be using our collective efforts to better both communities.

The Sons of Ben has played a pivotal role in my life and were a major reason I got into the Union and soccer in general. Just being given this opportunity to run is an honor and a privilege that I do not take lightly. I believe, if given your vote, that I can continue our current philanthropic mission and ultimately better it by building on the solid foundation that has been built before me over the last 10 years. I look forward to hearing and addressing your questions and ideas and turning them into a means to help those who need it around us. Thank you! Ad Finem Fidelis. 


Roadtrips

Jessica Gusler

Hey All! If you don't know me, my name is Jess Gusler and I am running for Travel Director for the 2018 season. 

I've been tagging along with my brother, SOB President, Bill Gusler, for the past 7 years, religiously for the past 5. When not at the stadium, you can find me with my dog, Poppy, digging in my garden, or traveling somewhere!

Funny, it's usually the younger sibling tagging along with the older one's, but after Bill brought me to my first match, I was the one tagging along with him. Since we live in the same house, we would drive to the stadium together. He would always go 3 to 4 hours early, to help setup tifo and I'd be sitting in the lot, bored. So I started to help set up ten and tables for the tailgates. It seemed the more involved he became, so did I.

Once Kelly moved and Bill took over away trips, I became his right hand man, making sure the ticket count was correct. That the hoagies, soda's, ice, etc. were ready to go. Confirming the tifo, drums, and flags were under the bus. Doing the head count before people onto the bus. Rules were announced before we left the lot.

Not only have I helped with away trips, I have a number of volunteer hours under my belt with stache bash, HKH, school supply, coat, and canned good drives. Whether it is reaching out to the community for raffle prizes, helping set-up and break down events, checking people in, posting winning raffle numbers, preparing membership kits, or mailing out the scarf of the month scarves, you'll always find me helping out some way. 

Since we are in the same house, I see how much time and dedication a spot on the board actually takes. I'm ready for morale to change. I can't change all of TRE, but maybe I can make an impact on our away groups. I'm ready for the bus to be loud again! I'm ready to get everyone rowdy like we used to be! I want more than the just the same 6 people chanting on the bus. I want to hear the noise!!! 

So if you're ready for change like I am, vote Jess Gusler for travel director.

AD FINEM FIDELIS

Gerry Hendrix

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What is a soccer mom?

  1. A mom to soccer playing kids

  2. Mom who is a real Philadelphia Union fanatic.  

The answer in our house is B.  

I’m a mom of 3 great kids and I never miss a home game or an opportunity to get to an Away Match….with or without the kids.  I am a familiar face at the matches, a Season Ticket holder since day one and joined the SOB in 2011.   

I have been serving as Travel Director with the SOB for two years and have enjoyed every minute of it.   Getting you to the match in safety is the number one goal of the Travel Director; however I also want you to have a great Away Match experience when possible.  I’ve really enjoyed working with the SOB to get you, our members, to the planes, trains and yes even automobiles – but don’t forget the busses.        

In 2017, as Travel Director I brought hundreds of you to various away matches.  While we have no control over our game day results – I believe our loud and proud fan support at Away Games is the extra push the Union need to take home 3 points.  

I listened to your requests and suggestions to improve the experience at the Away Matches.  From new and interesting away tailgate food, trying local catering and personally scouting for new meeting locations at each away venue.  Crutial to the away atmosphere this location should be a place we can meet in safety while enjoying the Away Supporter atmosphere.  

In 2017 I travelled to every match on the East Coast from Orlando to New England and would like to get to a few more venues next year.  LA, Portland?  Let’s see what the schedule looks like.    

I would be honored to serve with the Sons of Ben for 2 more years as Travel Director and look forward to a 2018 winning season and beyond.


Tailgates

Freeman Dordell

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I have worked in the Food Service industry for over 25 years and have a Culinary degree from Philadelphia Restaurant School.  I have worked in large catering environments, restaurants and as a personal chef to a former Eagle’s Quarterback – Ron Jaworski.  

Combining several passions is how I see the role of Tailgate Director.  

Family, Food and Soccer.  With the Sons of Ben tailgates in 2017 I was excited to add new styles of food to our existing Tailgate menu.  From the Breakfast, Mac & Cheese and Fajita Bars all the way through Octoberfest I hope the SOB members enjoys my 1st year as Tailgate Director.   I am looking to increase participation at the Tailgates in 2018 with our new location and exciting new food offerings.  

Working with my SOB family has been great – especially with the volunteers who keep the Tailgates running.  In 2018 I want to drive more volunteer participation and try exciting new menus to keep people coming back again and again.  


Member At Large

Paul Ethridge

Those that know me would describe me as passionate, loyal, direct, and capable of getting results. I have years of experience managing teams and organizations ranging from small groups of 20 people up to international teams with 300+ members. I will be finishing my masters of business administration (MBA) this summer. I have been a member of the Sons of Ben since 2013, and a capo since 2014. Additionally, I was a member of the gameday membership committee this past season. On game day you’ve likely seen me in 136 or wandering around with a megaphone engaging the river end. 

I am running for the board member at large position because I want to have a greater impact in an organization that I love. I strongly believe that with my skill set and personality I can make large improvements that will influence everyone’s overall experience. One of my goals is to promote the supporter culture in the immediate area of the River End. This can be accomplished by actively encouraging others to become involved and providing additional opportunities for people to help out in ways other than just on game day. Lastly, I’d would love to work with our board and overall membership to designate a larger number of official pub partners to grow not only our supporters group, but the overall love for our team.

Jesse MacBeth

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I’m Jesse Macbeth and I’m running for Member at Large. Growing up I played soccer but always wanted a hometown team to support. When the Union started playing in 2010 I was standing with the Sons of Ben when Sebastien Le Toux scored his first, second, and third goals for the club at the Linc and from that night on I was hooked. I was at every game that season and I made it to a few tailgates over the years, but I haven’t gotten to go to more than a few home games a season since our first year.  

I went to college in Arizona from 2011-2015 and went right off to grad school in Chicago from 2015-2017. I finally moved home this past summer and I am looking to get more involved with the organization now that I’m back home for good.

In high school I was President of Student Council and I organized two student group outings to Union games my senior year. In college I was Treasurer and then President of my fraternity. I’ve held leadership roles in every organization I’ve been a part of, and I want to take what I have learned from my previous leadership experiences and apply it to this organization that I have such an intense passion for.

I am running for this position because I want to get a first-hand look at how our supporters’ club works, while also looking forward to running for more significant positions within the organization in the future. I remember what the Sons of Ben were like in our first season and the passion and buzz around the team was unlike anything I have ever seen in Philadelphia sports. I want to be a bigger part of this brotherhood and leave my mark on the organization that is so important to me.

Sid MacLeod

I am Sid MacLeod, Son of Ben; Father of Ben, Son of Ben. I have been a loyal SOB since 2009,  many of which I defended Sec 133 from the invading hordes who came in a van, and with the last two serving on the Events Management Committee.

Last season I witnessed the Union in person 21 times, where you may have run into me in Section 138, the Beer trailer, or on a bus.  Perhaps even a Bethlehem Steel or Union Academy match.  And not once did I wear a paper bag over my head. Yet.

I’m running for the Board this season because I feel that with my passion for our club, and my experience working closely with what has, and has not been working, I feel that I can bring a fresh perspective to a group of volunteers that has the same goals- Defending the RiverEnd, and supporting our club and community.

Personally, I’m a full time single Soccer Dad, longtime Internet Consultant and Hacker, sometime Writer and Actor, sometime insufferable pain in the ass. We live on the edge of the woods in beautiful Cheltenham, PA, where I share a house with Ben, a dog, two cats, and an overwhelming number of supporter’s scarfs.

Rob Migliaccio

Hello everyone, my name is Robert Migliaccio and I am campaigning to be your Member At Large. I have been attending Union games since 2011, joined the Sons Of Ben family in 2013 and in 2014 I found my home permanently in The River End as a Full Season Ticket Holder.

In 2015 I started volunteering my time with tifo painting, setup and teardown as well as helping with setting up tailgates for away games. In 2016 I became a Capo and continued to be a part of Tifo crew and still a part of each group to this day. Last year brought the creation of the Game Day Committee which I am proud to have served on this year. I love being able to say I’m one of the first members to be through the gates and the last to leave, to be there on the coldest of nights and the hottest of afternoons all to stand with my team and SOB family.

I feel that I could be an excellent Member At Large since I am already a part of different groups in the organization already with tifo and capos as well as the Game Day Committee. I like to work on different events and jobs at the same time because it keeps my interest in the overall goal. This position would help me continue what I love doing on game days and that’s leading you all in cheering our boys in blue on as well as helping the organization expand and run more efficiently.

I wish all the best of luck to my fellow SOB members who are running and look forward to another great year next year in The River End.

Bob Presser

My name is Bob Presser and I’m running for the Member at Large position on the SOB e-board. I’ve been a member since some point during the 10/11 season. It was an instant connection after being forced to leave my dorm for the 1st Redbull away trip. I knew I hated them, and knew that joining the Sons was something I couldn’t turn away from.

I’ve been fairly active from the get-go, participating in tailgates, away trips, and events such as HKH, Pints for Pets, Stache Bash, and Cocktails and Cleats.

I’ve been a member for a long time now. The reason I’m running is that I’ve seen members step up, and step back down. I have the time, the drive and the experience as a Son to help the organization thrive and grow. I’ve seen our group and TRE at its best, and its quietest. I’d like to help the current e-board and oncoming members reinvigorate our supporter’s group and the TRE.

I’m an avid soccer fan, and follower of soccer, ultra, supporter, whatever you call it, culture from all over the world. I’d like to use what I’ve seen around the world to make our organization better, louder, and more intimidating than we’ve ever been.

I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I understand how important and strange Philadelphia sports fandum can be. I want to help the Sons of Ben solidify itself as the top supporters group, in good times, bad times, and those times where things are going too well and the Negadelphian comes out in all of us and we aren’t sure what to think.

 

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