As a first-year club playing just its second game in brand-new PPL Park, the Philadelphia Union didn’t need any help selling tickets for Saturday’s matchup against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Nonetheless, native son and Quakes midfielder Bobby Convey is doing his part.
“There’ll be probably 50 or 60 of my friends and family that are coming,” Convey told MLSsoccer.com. “They’re getting in a bus and coming down, cooking out before the game. It’ll be fun.”
Given Philadelphia’s record of supporting soccer, the Quakes winger is hardly surprised with the success the Union have had in bringing fans out to the stadium and the love these fans show for their team.
“You could see when they would play the Man United games, the Barcelonas, when those teams would come, they’d sell out the big Eagles stadium,” Convey said.
The Quakes midfielder hopes that the Union’s presence – and their groundswell of support – will also raise the level of support for young players, especially those in the less affluent parts of the city.
“When I grew up, there was glass on the fields. We never really had great fields, the best equipment, the best facilities, so this is an amazing thing,” Convey said, pointing out that there are a number of kids, including many underprivileged ones, in and around the Philadelphia area that play soccer. “Hopefully, [the Union] can start an academy as well and give some of the poorer kids a chance. That would be a big success for them and MLS.”
Convey, who will play a regular season MLS match in his hometown for the first time, said he has recovered to some extent from the bruised ribs and lung that left him coughing up blood midway through the first half of the Quakes’ 1-1 tie with D.C. United last Saturday.
Although the left winger didn't need X-rays, as was first thought necessary, the medical staff did give him a simple yet tough-to-follow prescription: Get some rest.
“This team is depending on me,” said Convey, who plans on avoiding leaping in the way of opponent crosses, which is how he aggravated his injuries against D.C. “I’ll try to do that, I guess. But it’s one of those things – when you get hurt, you end up getting hit in that spot over and over again.”
Geoff Lepper covers the San Jose Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed on Twitter at @sjquakes.