Philly MLS

Sons of Ben (MLS supporters association)

Sons of Ben

Motto Ad Finem Fidelis
(Latin: "Faithful to the end")
Team MLS Philadelphia 2010
Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Established 2007
Membership 3,000 unpaid
Leaders Bryan James
Dave Flagler
Mark Dunfee
Tom Roletter
Matt Ansbro
Brad Youtz
Ethan Gomberg
Mike Naioti

The Sons of Ben (SoB) is an independent fan club for the future Philadelphia Major League Soccer (MLS) team. The Sons of Ben group was created in January 2007 by soccer fans from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and its greater metropolitan area, using such existing MLS fan clubs as the Empire Supporters Club, La Barra Brava, Texian Army, and Section 8 Chicago as models. The name of the club alludes to Benjamin Franklin, who was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States and a particularly iconic figure of Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia MLS team's ownership group, Keystone Sports & Entertainment LLC, designed a specific entrance and a 2,000-seat section of Chester Stadium for the Sons of Ben in recognition of their loyalty.


Bryan James, Andrew Dillon, and Dave Flagler founded the Sons of Ben supporters club on January 17, 2007, Benjamin Franklin's birthday. Philadelphia soccer fan, Ethan Gomberg, suggested the name. SoB is the first Philly MLS supporters club. The club uses the colors blue and gold, from Philadelphia's city flag, but may assume the official team colors when they are announced.

The Sons of Ben began during a flurry of rumors regarding Major League Soccer's negotiations with investors regarding a team located in the Philadelphia region. As of 2008, the group has more than 2,500 members and ran a season ticket drive, attracting 2,800 requests. Both state and county governments have agreed to partially fund the Rivertown project along the banks of the Delaware River in Chester, Pennsylvania. This mixed-use development will be anchored by a 20,000-seat soccer-specific stadium (Chester Stadium) just south of the Commodore Barry Bridge. On February 28, 2008, Philadelphia was confirmed to be the league's 16th team, meaning that their initial goal has been accomplished. The Sons of Ben can now concentrate on the most important mission of any supporters club, supporting the local team. The team will begin play in 2010.

At the "Meet the Owners" event held two days before the official MLS press conference in Chester, the Sons of Ben wore nametags with handwritten numbers intended to read 2010. The number was mistakenly interpreted as "zolo" by team co-owner Nick Sakiewicz. This led to the Philadelphia MLS team being referred to as the "Zolos" in a series of inside jokes by the group. In addition, the club will also support the new Philadelphia Women's Professional Soccer team that will also start in 2010. The creation of the WPS team initated a spinoff fan club named the Daughters of Betsy (DoB), honoring Betsy Ross, who, according to legend, sewed the first U.S. flag. The "Daughters of Betsy" was originally a sarcastic nickname given to SoB by the Empire Supporters Club, one of the supporters groups of Red Bull New York.


The group's logo, designed by founder Andrew Dillon, incorporates various components alluding to the region's history and the achievements of Franklin. The oar and scythe represent Philadelphia's nautical and agricultural roots. Franklin invented bifocals, while the key, lightning bolts and lozenge-shaped kite symbolize his exploration into the nature of electricity. The crack in Franklin's skull resembles that of Philadelphia's famous Liberty Bell.


December 2007 marked the Sons of Ben's first philanthropic effort, The Sons of Ben Help Kick Hunger. Help Kick Hunger is a canned food and donation drive aimed to benefit The Bernardine Center in Chester which opened as an Emergency Food Cupboard. The Center designed the model Super Cupboard program in 1987. This program seeks to break the cycle of poverty and dependence for low-income mothers by providing weekly sessions that include nutrition education and life skills workshops. The Super Cupboard model has been copied extensively throughout Pennsylvania.

The 4Q07 drive raised $1,500 and 561 pounds of food for the Center.

The 1Q08 campaign raised $1,500 worth of Easter hams and an additional $1,000 for the Bernardine Center.


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