Philadelphia Union Loses Perhaps Its Biggest Supporter

The Philadelphia Union paid tribute at a recent match to former Sons of Ben president Kenny Hanson, above, who carried the fan club through difficult years. Image via Earl Gardner, Philly Soccer Page.

The Philadelphia Union recently mourned a loss much deeper than its 3-0 shutout by the Montreal Impact.

Talen Energy Stadium memorialized the tragic death of former Sons of Ben fan club president Kenny Hanson, according to an MLS report by Dave Zeitlin.

The man with the cowboy hat, smile, and Southern drawl who drew 2,000 avid fans together like family died in a freak South Carolina golf cart accident, the article explained.

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“He was a great leader and a great person, and he’s going to be dearly missed,” said current Sons of Ben President Bill Gusler. “He was always very open and honest. And very easygoing — about pretty much everything. But whatever he did, he did it with passion.

“I know he loved the team and he loved this group. He really focused on wanting to bring everyone together on the one thing that tied us together as opposed to the thousands of things that pull us apart.”

Originally from Ambler, Hanson rose to become head of the Sons of Ben from 2013 to 2015, a tumultuous time for the fan club.

“People don’t know, but we could have easily lost the whole Sons of Ben name and everything. Kenny basically saved the group from ruin,” said longtime friend and fan Jeffrey Mitchell. “He didn’t do it to get credit. This guy just loved this team, loved the people.”

Read more about the Union’s tribute to Kenny Hanson on MLS here.

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