Philadelphia Union welcome back fans inside the stands

Trish Hartman Image
Monday, October 12, 2020
Philadelphia Union welcome back fans inside the stands
It's been almost a year since fans have been able to see the Philadelphia Union play in person. Fans will be back in the stands, but things will look a lot different at Subaru Park.

CHESTER, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The weather was not ideal, but the fans didn't care as they showed up at Subaru Park to see the Philadelphia Union play in person Sunday.

The fans lined up, had their tickets scanned, and temperatures checked at the gate.

Among the first inside was Susan Wagner.

"We had to see them and show them that we still support them all the way," said Wagner. "It's been so long, so hard. These guys deserve to see us."

After almost a year without live spectators at Subaru Park, they were welcomed back with some new rules, but came with the same spirit.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced new capacity limits for indoor and outdoor events last week, allowing for fans in stadiums.

For Subaru Park, that means 2,700 people, or 15 percent capacity.

Union officials say they had a plan already prepared.

"When we got the news, yeah, we turned this on a dime, but I'd say we were ready, we were anxious," said Philadelphia Union President Tim McDermott. "Everybody's fired up, and most importantly, the energy the fans bring helps our team and brings their energy and life to the team as well."

Small groups were spaced out, in assigned seats, and only had access to half the stadium. Walkways, divided into lanes, and limited concessions were open, and so was the gift shop, cashless payments only.

Masks are mandatory, except when eating and drinking. Fans say they were satisfied with the changes.

"I'm a teacher. I'm exposed to kids all day every day. I feel safer here than I do at school," said Ashley Mansfield, who made the drive from Lancaster, Pa. to see the team play.

People were thrilled to be back and came prepared.

"We have our bag to sit on, our rally towels, we're set no matter what. It could be pouring out there, and we'd still be out there cheering those guys on," said Greg Gorski of Northeast Philadelphia.

"We've been watching it a lot on TV, and we miss the atmosphere down here," said Brian Hickey of Fort Washington, Pa. "Even though it's a limited crowd, it's pretty fun to come back and watch them play."