Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Sons of Ben make their Linc debut

You know how people say hockey goaltenders are just a different breed from other players? Well, soccer fans are a different breed from other sports fans.

The Sons of Ben make their Linc debut


You know how people say hockey goaltenders are just a different breed from other players? Well, soccer fans are a different breed from other sports fans.

Okay, that might be overstating things a little bit. But it was great to see the Sons of Ben make their first official appearance at Lincoln Financial Field since Philadelphia was awarded a Major League Soccer franchise.

I counted around 20 or 30 Sons (and Daughters), which is an impressive number for a women's game. It's quite a few more than Sam's Army brought to the Women's World Cup games in Philadelphia five years ago.

There really isn't any other sport in this country where fans are as integral a part of the game as soccer. From the scarves to the streamers to the coordinated singing and chanting, it's a different kind of passion from what you get at Eagles and Flyers games.

That's not to say Eagles and Flyers fans don't care just as much, of course. But whereas the NFL just instituted a Trotsky novel's worth of new rules limiting what fans can do at games, the MLS team's owners set aside a specific section of the new stadium in Chester for the Sons of Ben to let loose.

But wait, you say. Isn't there another sport in this town that has coordinated singing and chanting, and sections set aside for the most passionate fans? And streamers, even?

Indeed there is. College basketball might just be the closest thing the American sports landscape has to soccer in terms of atmosphere.

My first visit to the Palestra six years ago got me hooked on the Big 5, just as being in France during the 1998 World Cup got me hooked on a sport that I knew little about beyond how much the rest of the world cared about it.

In other words, soccer made me a college basketball fan. Now I wonder whether college basketball might make some people soccer fans when the MLS team gets here in two years.

Even though the readers of this blog's college basketball coverage are almost completely separate from the readers of this blog's soccer coverage, I have a hunch that the two sets of fans could get along quite well.

So as you watch this video, tell me: does it look familiar?

Staff Writer
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About this blog
Soft Pretzel Logic is's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

Jonathan Tannenwald Staff Writer
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