PHILADELPHIA — Many people will tell you there is nothing good about living in New Jersey, but there are, in fact, several benefits to taking up residence in the Garden State.
For one, depending on where you live, you can be about equidistant between New York and Philadelphia. That came in handy this morning as I raced out across the Ben Franklin Bridge to the City of Brotherly Love for the press conference announcing PPL Park as the site of the 2012 MLS All Star game on July 25.
Arriving at City Hall, an ornate and imposing building that looks like something pilfered from Gotham City, I was greeted by a few stray Sons of Ben, a handful of Philadelphia Union staffers and a whole lot of local Leslie Knopes'. It was a fittingly grand location to announce what will be this summer’s grand occasion.
It wasn’t too long before the Mayor’s Reception Room was filled with fans, reporters, cameramen and curious civic officials ready to have their suspicions confirmed; with word of Philly being awarded the mid-summer showcase making the rounds the previous day, the downtown gathering was merely a formality.
With Mayor Nutter cracking jokes about the US World Cup bid and the Sons of Ben belting out a bit of “Doop,” there was a festive feeling about the prospect of the league’s best congregating in Chester this summer.
There was also a good feeling surrounding a few numbers that Chester, Pa., Mayor John Linder threw out from the dais.
According to the mayor, only 150 children were registered for soccer in the city where the Union play their games before the team arrived two years ago. Today’s figure: 750.
Hopefully, the presence of a few of the world’s best players in the neighborhood on July 25 will help to further the upward trend in the area. Who knows, perhaps it will be one of them that we’ll all be lining up to see in a future All-Star game.
WATCH: All-Star Game announcement