Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter has become a soccer fan

In recent years, Nutter has added soccer to the list of sports he follows avidly.

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter has become a soccer fan

Michael Nutter has genuinely embraced soccer in his time as Philadelphia´s mayor. (Michael S. Wirtz/Staff file photo)
Michael Nutter has genuinely embraced soccer in his time as Philadelphia's mayor. (Michael S. Wirtz/Staff file photo)

If you are reading this from the Philadelphia area, I don’t have to introduce Mayor Nutter to you. If you are elsewhere, it won’t surprise you to know that like many big-city mayors, Nutter is Philadelphia’s chief sports fan as well as its chief executive. And like any good Philadelphian, he isn’t afraid to tell you.

In recent years, Nutter has added soccer to the list of sports he follows avidly. He might not be the biggest expert, but he has developed a genuine affection for the world’s game – and a genuine appreciation for its economic impact on his city.

The All-Star Game continues a trend of soccer events here that includes the 2010 NSCAA Convention, the 2009 Gold Cup, and the 2003 friendly between Manchester United and Barcelona that christened Lincoln Financial Field.

Mayor Nutter was kind enough to give me a few minutes of his time earlier this week for a quick chat about how he has become a soccer fan.

More coverage
Get the latest Union news with the FREE Philly Sports Now iPhone app!
More soccer coverage from The Goalkeeper
USA 2015 Women's World Cup Champs Gear & Collectibles
2015 Philadelphia Union schedule
Major League Soccer national TV schedule

Everybody knows about Philadelphia’s passion for sports, but we traditionally think about that passion being expressed through the four major ones – football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey. What has soccer done in the last few years, in your estimation, to build a niche?

I think soccer has made itself now part of the "big five" sports. When we talk about sports in the Philadelphia region, I think increasingly, you’re going to hear people talking not only about football, baseball, basketball and hockey, but also soccer.

It is a rapidly growing sport, there’s a ton of fan base here in the Philadelphia region, and there are a whole lot of young people – and people who think they’re young – playing soccer. So I think they’ve energized and activated the area, causing all of us to pay that much more attention to soccer.

Certainly the Philadelphia Union gives a lot back to the community, and they’re doing some great things down in Chester. They’re also helpful here in Philadelphia as well.

If someone had said to you back in your days as a disc jockey* that you were going to be presiding over an event like this, and celebrating the existence of a soccer team in Philadelphia, what do you think you would have said?

I would have said that maybe they had been over-served. First, I had no idea when I was working at a nightclub that I would be the mayor of Philadelphia. So a lot of things have happened, obviously, over the years.

But it’s a wonderful moment for our city, certainly for our region. I’m very, very excited about this upcoming MLS All-Star Game, and I just want the fans to come out, have a good time and enjoy the match.

* - Yes, for those of you who don’t know, Nutter was a DJ before he became involved in city politics. He quite famously belted out a rendition of "Rapper’s Delight" at his first inaugural ball. Really. Here's the proof:


Staff Writer
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, the National Women's Soccer League, the U.S. men's and women's national teams, and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Jonathan Tannenwald Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on
letter icon Newsletter