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 Election 18: Meet your Candidates

Sons of Ben Board Election Candidate Bios

In order to help you get to know the various candidates that are running for election this fall, we asked each of them to tell you a little about themselves.  Here’s what they had to say!

MARISSA EDWARDS, candidate for At Large



Marissa Edwards is running for the Member At Large position on the Sons of Ben board. Marissa has been a season ticket holder for three years, an SOB member for two, and a regular attendee and volunteer at SOB tailgates and events—including marching with the SOB at Pride.

Between cheering on the Boys in Blue and letting the referees know exactly how she feels, the River End is one of Marissa’s favorite places.  The SOB has also become an unexpected community, welcoming to all so long as you support the Union.

Marissa hopes to now contribute to the SOB community directly by serving as its Member At Large. Whether helping to plan events or assisting with membership kits—Marissa is excited to jump in where needed to ensure that the needs of current members are being met, while also attracting new members and cultivating new partnerships throughout the region.

Marissa has previously served on the board of Drexel’s OUTLaw and co-chairs both her firm’s Diversity Committee and Social Responsibility Committee.  When not working as an attorney, Marissa spends her free time playing board games, hunting for the best Old Fashioned in Philly (recommendations welcome), and hanging out with her dog, Wyatt.

MATT GENDASZEK, candidate for President


Matt joined the Sons of Ben in 2010 when he and his group of friends bought season tickets in section 136 when MLS announced that Philadelphia had been awarded a franchise.  Matt was elected to the Board of Directors and hopes to help keep the Sons of Ben growing and becoming the Standard Bearer of all Supporters Groups.

Matt works in marketing for a local company that provides branding solutions within the Tradeshow industry.  In the past Matt leveraged some of his personal relationships into helping the Sons of Ben.  He first pursued Yards Brewing to see if they would be interested in partnering up with the Sons of Ben.  Then with the help of the current members of the Board brought both the Sons of Ben and Yards together.  The rest is history.  Matt has been both a coach and a volunteer in many non-profits and appreciates and respects the "off-the pitch" work that the Sons of Ben do in the community.





RYAN HARGROVE, candidate for Secretary


Growing up just outside Scranton, PA, Ryan had never had a local sports team to follow, much less a soccer team. When the Union was announced, that hometown team feeling finally found its way.  Having grown up playing, coaching, and even refereeing games in an area just learning about the sport, it was great to see a community of enthusiasts coming out of the woodwork.   

After tailgating next to the Sons of Ben in Lot C for several matches, Ryan eventually wandered over to see what was going on.  Immediately sold on the club, he started attending the tailgate regularly and looked for ways to become more involved.  This season, he has been setting up and breaking down the tailgate as well as occasionally helping with merch. He even once helped convince Kate to take a 20-minute break from the ticketing station.

With a background in computer science from Penn State, Ryan has over 15 years of experience as a software developer for the DoD, the energy industry, and the pharmaceutical industry, focusing primarily on websites and web applications.  Ryan is also a fan of Arsenal, the USWNT, and Scunthorpe United. When not working on nerd stuff, Ryan can often be found sharing a pint with his Irish band and occasionally even playing music.

ERICK JUSINHO, candidate for Secretary

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 Hello SoBs! My name is Erick Jusino and you can typically find me in a capo stand on matchday, and I will be running for Secretary (social media director). I attended my first Union match on May 11th, 2011 against LA Galaxy and I joined that night. Over the years since then, I've searched how to be more involved in growing the supporter base and the Sons of Ben. As Secretary, I'm confident I can assist in achieving this goal.

 

I received my degree in media production and digital filmmaking from the Art Institute of Philadelphia, and I have worked within the Film and Television industry since 2010 as a production assistant. Working on films such as "Limitless" and "Safe" as well the show "The Bachelorette" and "Do No Harm". I also manage my own production company, "WaqeUp Films". During my 9-5 job, I assist in creating content and managing social media for Rush Street Interactive and produced the recent commercials for Playsugarhouse.com. I’m passionate about creating meaningful digital content that educates and promotes building communities. I would like to use my skills and knowledge in these industries to create more visual content, engage with our supporters, create some really fun pieces and collaborate with other artists and creatives with the focus on reaching larger audiences and generate growth in membership. Thank you!

 

INDIA McGHEE, candidate for Membership

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My name is India McGhee, and I’m running for Membership Director for the Sons of Ben!

I’ve been attending Union games regularly since 2015 and have been a member of the Sons of Ben since 2016. The Sons of Ben are the best part of being a Union fan, and I’ve really enjoyed calling the River End home. Attending and helping out at tailgates, going to philanthropic events, and getting to know other SOBs over the last two years has been truly great, and I’m super excited about the opportunity to give back to the Sons of Ben as Membership Director.

In my day job, I work for the City of Philadelphia an as environmental attorney. An important aspect of my job as an attorney is keeping organized, communicating clearly, and responding quickly to any requests. I’m very excited to put these skills to work maintaining and developing the Sons of Ben membership.

I’m also an enthusiastic supporter of Arsenal, Real Madrid, and the USWNT. When taking a break from soccer, I love running, crafting, board games, and drinking a great beer, preferably outside.

ROB MIGLIACCIO, candidate for At Large

Hello everyone, I’m Robert Migliaccio and I am campaigning to be your Member At Large. I have been attending Union games since 2011, joined the SOB family in 2013 and in 2014 I found my home permanently in The River End as a Full Season Ticket Holder. On game day you can usually find me leading chants from the Capo stand near Section 136 and manning the beer trailer in the SOB lot during tailgates.

 

I believe that I could be an excellent Member At Large since I am already a part of different groups in the organization already with Capos and tifo setup. I also 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 in the future.

 

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.

 

KIRSTEN MORRIS, candidate for Secretary

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Hello, my name is Kirsten Morris, I joined the SoB in 2016 and a season ticket holder in 2017. I found out Philly had a soccer team in 2015 ( I know late…) I heard about the SoB and watched the video of how they helped kick off Philly getting a soccer team! I was inspired!

I have a love for photography, gardening, and baking. I love cheering on our Boys in Blue in section 137. I grew up in a small town, Rosenhayn, NJ. I played youth soccer with my dad as my coach, through him is where I found a love for soccer.

I love getting involved with numerous charities runs and I have helped raise over 3K for the MS Society by doing the MuckFest. I currently work for Chelten House Product Inc. as their Production Administrative Associate.

MOLLIE SUITCH, candidate for Membership

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Hi I am Mollie Suitch and many of you already know me as the current Secretary of the Sons of Ben. I have been a fan of the Union since 2010, and was introduced to the Sons of Ben in 2013. I became more involved with the SoBs when I started volunteering with Tifo painting as well as set up and breakdown. I became a season ticket member in 2015 and joined the board in early 2016. You can often find me at tailgates working the merch table or sitting in 137 behind the capo stand. 


I have loved working with the Sons of Ben for the past three seasons. I have met so many great people through this organization. I want to continue to as a board member but have decided to step away from the Secretary position. Instead I want to shift my focus to the Membership Director position. I believe my organizational skills and experience as a board member will help me succeed in this position. I will do everything I can to ensure everyone gets a membership package they are happy with! 


I am still very passionate about the mission of the Sons of Ben and supporting the Union, a passion I wish to continue to bringing to this new board position. 


Jon Light, candidate for At Large

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Hello! My name is Jon Light and I am running for Member at Large. I have been a SoB since 2010,a Season Ticket Holder since 2015, and I am a founding member of the Wu Phang Clan. 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 3 years.

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 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. 

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