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.

Philanthropy

The Sons of Ben believe in giving back. We want to give back to the City of Chester and its people, we want to help support the growth of soccer in the Delaware Valley, and we want to make an impact in causes that we believe are important to us and our members. Helping those in need is something we're devoting ourselves to year-round, not just around the holidays. We are just as passionate about giving back as we are to cheering on the Union, and you can see that in all of our charitable efforts – whether it’s hosting a fundraiser, holding a collection drive, sponsoring an event or volunteering our time and skills, we know it’s important. 

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Past Events

'Stache Bash

The 2015 Stache Bash (our annual home opener tailgate fundraiser) was a huge success and benefitted the Special Olympics of PA’s “Unified Sports/Unified Soccer program. Unified Soccer is a program that pairs athletes from Special Olympics with students of several partnering high schools throughout the city of Philadelphia, onto a soccer team representing their schools. The teams play against each other at varying high schools through the school year and it culminates to a championship day in which schoolmates, friends, family and supporters come out to volunteer and cheer on all the teams. Last year, the Philly are champions got to go to DC to play against the Washington DC area champions at RFK Stadium following the Union v United match. Through the tailgate proceeds, King of Stache Bash (congrats Andy Sherlock), raffles, bucket ball tournament (congrats BG and Cupcake), Stache Bash shirt from Bark Tees, and donations in general, we raised over $3,400! Money wasn’t the only thing raised that day, as we collected soccer balls, cleats, socks, shin guards and all other soccer equipment. We were able to collect so much equipment, that it wasn’t able to be taken in one trip! Special thank you to Britt Kleine, Director of Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia for helping us get involved in this great program, and to Cory Frederick and the Parkland Area Soccer Club from the Lehigh Valley for their massive donation of soccer equipment! For more information about the Unified Soccer and Special Olympics of PA, click here

PS. Save the date of Friday, May 29th and plan to come out to help us volunteer and cheer on all the athletes at the Philly Unified Soccer Championship Day! More details coming soon!

St. Baldrick's

On March 8, 2015 Team SoB, captained by Jeffrey and Benjamin Mitchell, once again joined the fight against childhood cancer as they took part in the annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s head shaving event at Fado in Center City. Team SoB consisted of the Mitchells, Big Kevin Leech, Ryan Bross, Dante S, John Echevarria, Ross Kleitsch, and top fundraiser Caroline Suitch. Special thank you to all our team mebers, and to Molly at Fado for allowing us to have a table to raffle off signed and donated items to raise more for this great cause. The Sons of Ben team raised collectively over $10,000…more than doubling their original goal of $5,000!

Help Kick Hunger

It is with great pride in the generosity of the Sons of Ben, Philadelphia Union Front Office staff & Players, family, friends and guests that we announce this year's totals from Help Kick Hunger:

$15,388.00 

512.8 lbs of food 

Bill & Ami would like to thank all who attended and contributed to this year's totals in food and financial donations both online and in person.  

A special mention to some of our contributors:  Jim's Steaks (South Street), BarkTees, Yards, Media FC, Steven Starr (Starr Restaurants), our host & contributor Brauhaus Schmitz, Dogfish Brewery & Inn, Neshaminy Creek Brewery, The Greeks Next Door, Fado, KC's Alley, Iron Abbey, American Outlaws- Philadelphia Chapter, the Philadelphia Union, Nick Sakewicz, Jim Curtin, Sheanon Williams, Danny Cruz, Sebastian LeToux, Union player's experiences, Philadelphia Philles, Eagles, 76ers & Flyers. Cory Marie Frederick and so many more who helped by donating hand crafted baskets, spirits, time and effort to make this happen. 

Huge thanks to our Emcee Katie Fehlinger!

Thank you to our founding leadership Tommy Ro, Corey Furlan, Brad Youtz, Mike Naoti & Chris Hapka who have continued to support the traditions they set in motion. 

To our volunteers Jess Gusler, Jon Foden, Amy Barnes & the students at Sun Valley HS!

Photographer & contributor- Earl Gardner - You can view photos from the event HERE.

All proceeds from Help Kick Hunger go directly to The Bernardine Center of Chester, PA. 

Coats for Chester

The Sons of Ben will be collecting coats on behalf of the South Eastern PA Hall of Fame’s “Coats for Chester” that will benefit Bernardine Center, City Team Chester, St. Katherine’s Church. We will have collection bins at our tailgates on October 11 and October 18.
If you would like to set up a coat collection at your work, school or community, please let us know how we can help!

School Supply Drive

On August 9th and 24th the Sons of Ben and Philadelphia Union collected school supplies to help City Team and Chester-Upland School District. The Union had a collection bin set up on the Toyota Plaza at PPL Park, while the SoBs collected in front of their tailgating area. After both collections were complete, it was clear that the Sons of Ben had collected significantly more than the Union’s drop off spot, proving once again how great our members are…but all fun competition aside, it was a successful event where the local children were the real winners. As an added incentive, anyone who donated was entered in to win an on field autograph session after a match (donated by the Union), and anyone who donated at the SoB tailgate was entered in to win a team signed custom skate deck (donated by the SoBs). We also want to thank all the vendors and shop owners who set up collection bins at their stores for their customers to donate: A Touch of Ireland; Bark Tees; Conshohocken Café; Eagle National Bank; Fado Irish Pub; Red Sparrow Tattoo; Saldutti Car Corner; Trenton Tire Wholesale. Through all collective efforts, we filled 15 30 gallon totes, which would equal out to about 2,000 school bags filled with supplies!

Pints Fur Pets

This was our first ever dual fundraiser benefitting Delaware County SPCA and ACCT Philly; an all ages event held at CR Shenanigans in Aston, PA and Field House in Philadelphia. Several Union players acted as guest bartenders including Conor Casey, Sebastien Le Toux, Zac MacMath, Fred, Antoine Hoppenot, Sheanon Williams, Amobi Okugo and Andrew Wenger. Collections were taken for each group, Delco SPCA at CRS & ACCT Philly at Field House, and all proceeds were split 50/50 between the two.

Help Kick Hunger

2014 Help Kick Hunger was one of the most successful HKH to date. HKH is our annual fundraiser and food drive to benefit the Bernardine Center in Chester. Though ticket sales, donations, raffles and silent auctions, we were able to raise over $10,000 and over 400 pounds of food for the Bernardine Center in Chester! We had over 166 people come out to the Field House in Philly for the event. We want to thank all of our volunteers and our MCs for the evening David Murphy of 6abc and Maria Papadakis of Comcast SportsNet and philly.com. We also want to thank the union players and front office staff who attended as well.

Stache Bash

The 2014 Stache Bash was a huge success and benefitted the Jessie Miele Fund and St. Baldrick’s. It’s our annual home opener tailgate fundraiser. Through the tailgate proceeds, raffles, Stache Bash shirt from Bark Tees, and donations in general, we raised over $3,800! St. Baldrick’s and Fado had a head shaving event in Philadelphia the day following Stache Bash where we had several members represent for Team Sons of Ben – including the Union’s own Zach MacMath! And if you were lucky enough to see it, Jeffrey Mitchell was featured on Fox 29’s morning show, having his head shaved for the cause. We want to thank the other members of Team SoB – Steven Dreibelbis, Scott McVeigh, Fran Ehly, Dante S, Erick Jusino and Kevin Leech. Collectively, Team SoB raised $6,178 for St. Baldrick’s – which was the second highest fundraising total by any group in Philadelphia!

River Cup 2014

The River Cup is the annual soccer match at PPL between the Union Front Office and the Sons of Ben. All proceeds from this charity match benefit the Philadelphia Union Foundation. Proceeds come from ticket sales, donations, shirts and scarf sales. Money is also donated from every goal scored throughout the match. Sons of Ben FC were victorious in 2013, and will do all they can to retain the trophy in 2014.

Tickets for Troops & Tailgate

The Sons of Ben collected donations for Tickets for Troops in an effort to provide a game ticket to the Saturday, July 12th game v Colorado. Donations were matched by the Philadelphia Union. Additionally all proceeds from the tailgate were donated to Keystone Wounded Warriors Project of PA who serves to assist those who gave their all. To learn more about Keystone Wounded Warriors and their efforts in the community visit:  www.keystonewarriors.com

Blake

Blake is a 9 year old union fan whose family’s house was destroyed in a fire. A member got word of it and let us know that he lost a team signed Union jersey in the fire and was upset about it. We were asked if we could get him a signed jersey to replace the lost one. After brainstorming with the Sons of Ben Board, we decided we could do something a bit more special as well. Thanks to the Union and Mark Evans, we were able to get Blake a new jersey signed by the team and invited the Groff family to a Union match, where the Union donated the tickets and VIP parking pass. We invited the family to our tailgate where we presented Blake with his new signed jersey and some other surprises. We had a personalized jersey made for Blake. Blake’s dad helped us find out his shirt size and the number he wears for his youth soccer team, and we had his name printed on the back. Blake’s face lit up when he saw the jersey, but we weren’t done yet. We then informed him that he was the newest member of the Sons of Ben family, and welcomed him with his very own SoB membership card, pin, decal and 2014 scarf. Blake and his sister were invited to come to the capo stand around the 90th minute so they could meet a few Union players. A handful of players were nice enough to stop by and shake hands with Blake and his sister, including Zach Pfeffer, Ray Gaddis, Le Toux, Leo Fernandes and a couple others. 

Unified Soccer & Special Olympics

The Sons of Ben have partnered with Special Olympics to support and help sponsor Unified Soccer. Unified Soccer is a program that unites students from Philadelphia area high schools and athletes from Special Olympics onto the same soccer team. We were told that they are always looking for “fans” to come and cheer on the teams, volunteers to help with some set up and other tables (food, drinks, etc.), people with enough knowledge of the game to referee, and for groups to donate and sponsor (food, financial backing, etc.). After some more discussion we knew that with our members and friends, we could definitely be a big help for these games and decided to begin what we hope to be a long lasting partnership. While it was short notice about the championship games on May 30 at Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia, we agreed to donate the water ice for the day and to become a financial sponsor. CLICK HERE to see a little more about the event from May 30th. If you would like to get involved, please be on the lookout for more information in the future.
It was also announced that the winner of the days championship will be going down to play another Unified Soccer championship team at RFK Stadium following the Philadelphia Union at DC United match on September 27th and everyone making the trip will be able to stay and cheer on the teams.

Elks Lodge Annual Mother’s Day Parade through Chester

The Sons of Ben have met with the leaders of the Elks Lodge of Chester and have discussed the possibilities of getting involved, volunteering, marching and sponsoring parts of the annual march. Next year we hope to have our own float and group to march, but for this year the SoBs have donated to help make the march a success for all those involved.

Yards Brewing Company SoB Beer

Yards Brewing Company has made the Sons of Ben Beer and has decided in honor of this occasion, they have given us $1,000 to give to a charity of our choosing. We came up with a few options and allowed our members to vote, and the William Trippley Foundation was the winning charity. In celebration of the launch of the SoB Beer, Yards gave a check for $1,000 to the William Trippley Foundation.

 

Thank you!

The Sons of Ben would like to express our sincerest appreciation for every company, group and individual who has donated and supported any or all of our charitable efforts and events:
Philadelphia Union - Bark Tees - Yards Brewing Company – Mark Jenksinson – Fogo De Chao - Lucky Strike - Facenda Whitaker LanesBarcadeMedia FC – Ray Gaddis – Jack McInerney – Antoine Hoppenot – Zac MacMath – Chris Konopka – Aaron Wheeler – Danny Cruz – Sheanon Williams – American OutlawsFado’s – Brotherly Game – Chrissy Sakers – Brauhaus Schmitz – Earl Gardner – MLS – AO Philly – Laspada’s of Aston – Le MeridienLongwood GardensMargaret Kuo’sMatt Cord & WMMRStoney’s Pub – Villa Di Roma Restaurant – FlyersPhilliesEaglesProvidence ENT – Nick Russo – Lindsey Rhoades – Wilmington Blue RocksYangmingCabotConcord Pet Foods & SuppliesPet ValuVIP Pet CareField HouseCR Shenanigans - and many more!

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If you would like to donate to one of our causes, or share an idea for a fundraising event or cause, please fill out the form below and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you so much for your generosity.

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