My daughter bought tickets for us to see last night’s Philadelphia Union soccer game as a Father’s Day gift . We had been talking about wanting to see a game so this was a great gift and surprise. I was able to spring a little surprise back on her as well. My daughter didn’t realize that I knew the Union’s CEO, Nick Sakiewicz. Nick is a former goalkeeper, as am I. And Nick is a blood cancer survivor, as am I.
That survivor and goalie connection seems to be a pretty powerful thing because it was my buddy Ethan Zohn, also a former goalie and survivor who facilitated my connection to Nick Sakiewicz.
So, I reached out to Nick and let him know we would be attending the game and he followed up with an invite to come hang out in his suite. We spent the evening in the company of some great people, great food, and plentiful drink. Add to the mix the fact that another friend, former All American runner and two-time Olympian, Vicki Huber Rudawsky was also seated in the suite with us and an unexpected drop in by none other than Hugh Jackman and you could say we had a pretty excellent night.
What impressed us most was the stadium atmosphere and how cordial and friendly every single person was that we made contact with. As a long time Philly area soccer fan and former player, it’s nice for me to see the Union have such a firm foothold in the community in just their second season of play. Over the decades I have seen the Atoms, Fury, Stoners, and Fever come and go. And in fact almost caught a break with both the Stoners and the Fever as a reserve goalie. But things didn’t quite pan out as hoped for me, although I did end up with some good playing days for Danubia in the majors division of the United Soccer League of PA. I applaud the Union’s ownership, staff, fans, and player personnel for doing this right and for giving us something real, honest, and wholesome to celebrate.
Thanks very much to Nick, his assistant Sheri, and Drew Young, for making sure last night was memorable for us. And thanks to Danielle for the awesome Father’s Day present.
Oh and the game itself? A 0-0 draw against Sporting Kansas City, but that didn’t matter. Last night was about people, not goals. We’ll be back soon.