Sons of Ben (2015)

How ‘Sons of Ben’ (2015) instituted an MLS team

Don’t get me wrong. The amazing story of Sons of Ben needs to be told. Its 3 founders organically grew a 2,000 member supporters group that demanded MLS grant Philadelphia a team.

This documentary celebrates the founders’ accomplishments and provides many details about the SoB ad hoc evolution that you can’t read online. But Writer-Director Jeff Bell’s first feature film is pretty slow, and I couldn’t stay awake. It’s a lot like the way the Philadelphia Union play soccer.

Here’s the Philadelphia Union timeline, which looks pretty awesome:

  • Jan-17-2007: Sons of Ben founded on Ben Franklin’s 301st birthday
    • Founded by Bryan James, Dave Flagler, Andrew Dillion
  • Mar-2007: Got first TV exposure at a KIXX indoor soccer game
  • Nov-2007: Crashed 2007 MLS Cup
  • Feb-2008: Philadelphia awarded a team under CEO Nick Sakiewicz
  • Dec-2008: Broke ground on $120M PPL Park (now Talen Energy Stadium)
  • Apr-2010: Team home opener in Eagles’ stadium
  • Jun-2010: First home game in PPL Park

It’s really about the fans

This movie has very little soccer in it because it’s really about the fans. The video resolution is not very clear. On the upside, this is probably the only movie in the world that mentions BigSoccer – twice!. Apparently the Philadelphia fan movement to lobby for a team began in a BigSoccer forum, just like the way I started posting movie reviews.

I waited months for Sons of Ben to go online so that I would not have to buy a physical copy. But it wasn’t happening, and finally they offered free shipping for Xmas, so I paid $15 for a DVD. After all, this movie was uniquely about fans, and was I really committed to soccermoviemom, or was I just a “professional appreciator”? In the end, I conclude that this movie would definitely be worthwhile watching on Amazon, where it is now available.

6 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 6