Last week, we invited fans to visit Facebook and tell us how MLS has impacted their relationships with their fathers/children. Thanks to everybody who submitted their stories. We've selected a few entries to share with you, below. Happy Father's Day!
Aaron Waite, Real Salt Lake (pictured above, left)
We recently moved our family to Salt Lake City, and I took my daughter to her first Real Salt Lake game in May 2010 (I have been a huge soccer fan since serving as a missionary for my church in Europe over ten years ago). She absolutely LOVED it! We have started a tradition of going to Rio Tinto Stadium for one RSL game per month together, cheering our heads off as we watch the best team in MLS, then going out for a specific ice cream afterwards. It is my special time with my special daughter, and MLS makes it all possible.
James Roberts, Philadelphia Union (pictured above, right)
My son Aiden is currently a year and a half, but when he was 10 months old we took him to his first MLS game at PPL Park. It was also my first MLS game, and I made sure we matched as a family – we were all in Union jerseys. We received a seat up grade from the back row, opposite the River End, to field level seats. It was one of the most exciting days of my life. Every time the players would run down the sideline next to us, Aiden would immediately stare at them with what looked like fear/amazement/curiosity.
Since our first match together he likes to watch soccer games on TV with me, and he'll even clap when Philadelphia nets a goal. He has also learned to dribble with a plush soccer ball anytime you roll it in front of him and say, “Kick it!” We’re hoping Aiden takes to soccer as he continues to grow and one day we even hear his name called during Draft day.
Jordan Minter, FC Dallas (pictured, left)
My son was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) at a very young age. For the longest time, he was very uncomfortable in crowded places. I decided to expose him to a crowded and social MLS game in hopes of showing him how fun they can be. Since then we have become season ticket holders and my son cannot wait to attend our next game.
David Kamerath, Real Salt Lake
MLS has played a fantastic role in the relationship between my father and me. He was always, and continues to be, a very busy man. The only time he would take time out of his schedule was for us to go to a soccer game. Before Real Salt Lake was around, we would go to the old Utah Blitzz USL games at Rice Eccles stadium. We always had the best of times, and when games were over, I couldn't wait for the next one.
My dad is the reason I'm such a huge MLS supporter because when we finally did get RSL in 2005, it was a whole new level of competition that made the games even more fun and exciting. We now look forward to going to them even more than Blitzz games, since there’s bigger stars playing bigger games on the pitch. Now that I'm 21 and moving forward in my busy life, it's always still awesome for me to tell my boss, ''I can't come into work tomorrow because my dad and I are going to the RSL game."
Randy Willis, Colorado Rapids (pictured, left)
Attached is a picture of my dad and I tailgating at a Colorado Rapids game a couple years ago. We loved going to Rapids games together, and in fact, my dad got me into soccer when I was six years old. I didn't want to play because I didn't know what the game was, but he made me and I'm grateful that he did. I've been playing ever since. My dad always went to my games from the age of six all the way through age 46.
My dad passed away a couple of years ago and I miss him terribly, but I'm so lucky to have had a dad who watched me play soccer for 40 years of my life. I love you and miss you, dad.
Jose Cruz, Portland Timbers
Going to the Timbers games is family event for us. My kids love it. We get to root and sing together; we eat together; we live and die green together. It has made us closer as a family! Guess what we're doing for Father’s Day this year… We are going to root for the Timbers vs. Red Bulls at JELD-WEN Field!