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 Board Members 2016

 

Bill Gusler
President
bill.gusler@sonsofben.com

@bguslerSoB

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Bill has been a River End season ticket holder and Sons of Ben member since 2010. He first got involved by helping design and paint tifo. He has never missed a Union home match, and has been to every match the U has played at NYRB, NYCFC, and DCU. He was elected in November of 2013 by the Board of Directors to be the Director of Philanthropy for the Sons of Ben before becoming SoB President. Bill is a 2007 graduate from Albright College and currently works for Drexel University's College of Engineering.

 

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Tim Sosar
Vice President

tim.sosar@sonsofben.com
@SoB_Tim

Tim first got involved with the Sons of Ben when he heard their story and joined the mailing list in 2008. Tim began volunteering with the SoB's in 2011 by helping set up tifo and break down tailgates. He was placed in charge of game day tifo setup in 2012, and in 2013, he joined the Board of Elders as the first Tifo Director. The following season, he took on Member feedback and Public Relations (you may remember him emceeing events). This fall, he became Sons of Ben Vice President. A Union season ticket holder since the inaugural season, Tim has called section 139 his Home Away From Home throughout."

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Karen Hill
Treasurer


I’m pleased to be joining the Board of Directors of the Sons of Ben as the Treasurer. I bring nearly two decades of financial management experience in the public sector, with a focus on reporting, planning and performance improvement. I am a licensed CPA in the state of Pennsylvania, have an MBA from Villanova and volunteer for organizations such as the Food Bank of South Jersey and the Campaignfor Working Families in Philadelphia. An avid soccer player since the age of 5, I became a Union season ticket holder in Season 2, after being blown away by the atmosphere created by the Sons of Ben at PPL Park. I hope to bring financial leadership to the Sons of Ben, while supporting a culture of accountability, transparency and integrity.


Gerry Hendrix
Travel Director

 

Gerry Hendrix is originally from Ireland and was very lucky to have been raised on soccer “It was just always there” she says.  Her first Soccer travel was a stand-by flight to Orlando to support Jack Charlton’s “Boys in Green” in 1994 World Cup and all of the matches she could make it to during the tournament.  With the travel bub, she’s directed tours of Ireland and various cities around Europe and the US for friends and family and anyone who needs a tour guide.  

Thanks to a last minute ticket to the Linc to witness the LeToux Hat trick (the LeThree) Gerry was onboard as a fan and has only missed one home game since 2010. 

A proud mom of 3, Gerry wants to keep up the passion of Sons of Ben by balancing the travel needs of our growing supporters with families with the original organic fervor of our founders.  

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Mollie Suitch
Social Media Director

Mollie Suitch has been a fan of the Union since 2010, and was introduced to the Sons of Ben in 2013. She became more involved with the SoB when she started volunteering with tifo painting as well as set up and breakdown. Finding her own Sons of Ben family in section 138, Mollie is now a season ticket holder.

She graduated in 2013 from Arcadia University with a degree in Communications and served as treasure of her class for three consecutive years.  Mollie currently works in marketing and communications and is also a freelance graphic designer and photographer. 

Mollie grew up in Mountain Top, Pennsylvania where she played youth soccer for three years. She was on a team called the Purple People Eaters that once went an entire season without winning a game. The highlight of her soccer career is a series of adorable pictures.

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RYAN BROSS
Tifo Director
ryan.bross@sonsofben.com

@rabmcmlxxxvii

Soccer was always a big thing in the Bross household. Everyone played and Dad coached. So in 2009 Ryan got his family together to get season tickets for his Dad's birthday. Soon it was June 2010 and Ryan was with his family in section 120, directly across from the River End. By the end of the season, Ryan joined the Sons of Ben. 

The first tifo Ryan was involved in was Zolo Ram, the overhead used for the home opener of the 2011 season. Ryan continued to get more and more involved each season and in 2013 started helping on the capo stand and with tifo setup and break down. Since a rainy US Open match in 2012, Ryan has used his rather large scarf collection to become something of a living tifo, in the form of, what can be best described, as a "scarf skirt". Ryan worked close with Tim Sosar in creating the new tifo used in the 2013 season. Ryan was voted as the new Director of Tifo by the Board in December 2013. 

Ryan grew up in Upper Township, NJ and has a degree in Scientific Illustration from Arcadia University (Glenside, PA). Ryan is the oldest of four and the only one to not play in an international soccer tournament

MATT GENDASZEK
Director of Merchandise, Partnerships and Branding
matt.gendaszek@sonsofben.com
@mgendas

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 recently 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 and business development for a College Marketing company.  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.


Lauren Murray
Philanthropy Director


Lauren has always been an active member in her community. Between volunteering for Feeding 5000, creating Reading Oases in Trenton to promote a safe reading environment for inner-city children, coordinating a canned drive that donated over 600 pounds of food to the South Jersey Food bank and coaching a Special Olympics soccer team, she is always looking for new ways to get herself (and others) more involved in the community.

Lauren played soccer through her high school years and continues to play in a pick-up league in South Jersey. She made the decision to join the Sons of Ben in 2016, after moving back to the area from Dallas. Lauren calls section 136 home with her brother and sister-in-law. 

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Sons of Ben Board of Elders Policy

1. The Sons of Ben are run by the Board of Elders, who act as board members and officers of the organization. Board members are unpaid volunteers and owe the Sons of Ben all of the legal duties and responsibilities of board members of a nonprofit organization.

2. As of 2012, new Board members have traditionally been chosen and approved by vote of the existing Board. Going forward, the Board will implement elections of the membership to choose Board members. The Board's goal is to hold elections to the Board of Elders in the fall of 2013.

3. Going forward, the goal is to have each Board position filled by two people, with each serving an overlapping two-year term. Under this system, half of the Board will be elected each year, and each position will always have one experienced board member and one person learning the position, ready to take over the next year. The Board or the individual officers may choose whether to act as co-Board members (e.g., co-Travel Directors) or as a Board member and an assistant (e.g., Travel Director and Assistant Travel Director).

4. The current Elder/Officer positions are:

The PRESIDENT and VICE-PRESIDENT coordinate all SoB activities and front office relationships, run SoB meetings, and act as the SoBs' primary liaison with the Union front office.

The TREASURERS manage all financial aspects of the Sons of Ben. This is a highly responsible position, with responsibility for quarterly tax filings, accurate bookkeeping and recordkeeping, budgeting, managing relationships with SoB's outside accountants and financial relationships, and reporting and being responsive to the Board.

The CHIEF CAPOS are responsible for planning and organizing all in-stadium support for home games, including tifo displays, signs and banners, drums and songs.

The TRAVEL DIRECTORS are responsible for organizing road trips to Union games and other out-of-town events, helping individual SoBs who wish to travel to away games, and managing anything that happens outside of PPL Park.

The TAILGATE COORDINATORS plan and execute tailgates at home games, coordinate game day volunteers, manage food and equipment inventory, and work with the Travel Directors and other Board members to provide food for away games and other special events.

The TECHNOLOGY DIRECTORS manage the SoB website; email servers; social networking, and SAAS accounts, and all SoB hardware and software needs.

The COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTORS have primary responsibility for communicating with the SoB membership, by email or otherwise; they also act as the organization's secretary, keeping meeting minutes and records for the Board, keeping the organizational calendar and keeping track of the SoBs' important documents and resources.

The MARKETING DIRECTORS are responsible for managing all of the SoB's commercial relationships, keeping merchandise available, and working with SoB sponsors and partners to make special benefits available to members wherever possible.

The MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORS are responsible for running the annual membership campaign, for promoting SoB membership, and for answering member questions and addressing problems throughout the year.

The CHARITY COORDINATORS are responsible for relationships with the SoB's charity partners and finding new ways to fulfill the SoBs' charitable mission.

5. If a vacancy arises during a Board member's two-year term, the remaining Board members will appoint a replacement if possible. The Board may also remove or replace a Board member for cause and choose at-large Board members to assist the Board as necessary.

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