Documentary / Reviews

Sons of Ben: The Movie (2015) review


Written by:  Jeffery C. Bell

Directed by: Jeffery C. Bell

The Sons of Ben are a group of rabid soccer fans who were instrumental in bringing professional soccer to Philadelphia.

I am not a sports fan, and never have been.  For most of my life, I have done everything I can to avoid televised broadcasts of any sort of sporting event, with the notable exception of the UFC, and even that I don’t go out of my way to watch.  So was I aware that there was professional soccer team in Philadelphia?  Nope.  Actually, I wasn’t aware there was a major league of Soccer in America.  Before watching this documentary, I thought soccer was a sport that the rest of the world went nutso for, but not so much here in America.  With Sons of Ben: The Movie, I find that I still will not be a fan of sports and soccer, but the story of these men who risked everything to bring the sport to their city is a riveting and, at times, emotional journey.  It is a very well done documentary that should be seen, whether a sports fan or not.

Sons of BenWhen I was a child, I was subjected to football and baseball on a constant basis.  Every Sunday and Monday, if I was at my grandfather’s house, I was watching sports.  There were only two options for how I would turn out.  I could have turned into a rabid fan, or, what actually happened, learn to despise sports.  I never did learn to enjoy football, but I did play some Little League baseball and actually enjoyed playing.  Just never watching.  Why do I mention this?  I personally feel that my sporting background is relevant when reviewing a sporting documentary.  I also feel it is relevant when I sing the praises of the documentary.

Sons of Ben: The Movie is an intriguing look at the men who joined forces to bring professional soccer to Philadelphia, a top ten market that got overlooked when Major League Soccer had it’s inaugural season in 1996.  So, what did these men do?  Initially, they started a supporter’s group for a soccer team that didn’t exist.  Starting with a modest goal of gaining 100 supporters, soon they had over 1,500 raucous fans of a team that didn’t exist.  This group drew attention to their goal of bring professional soccer to Philadelphia.

While the story of the group and the men supporting soccer is an intriguing story, when plans were made for a stadium, they soon find that the stadium is going to be built in another city that is impoverished and overrun by crime.  These men then reached out to this community and began food drives and other things to help improve a city that was abandoned by business and as such, fell into disrepair and criminal activity.

I enjoyed Sons of Ben: The Movie.  It is an intriguing look at a group of men, fans of a sport in a city that got overlooked, and the lengths they would go to to support the sport of soccer.  The fact that they succeeded is in itself a small miracle.  This is a compelling story and a very well done documentary.  I would highly suggest you keep an eye out for this one.  As I said earlier, I am not a fan of sports, and found myself riveted to the screen.  It really is an uplifting, and emotional journey.   Click on any of the links of the movie title to shoot over to the page where you can pick this up.  You won’t regret it.

*** 1/2 out of ****

NOTE:  In the interest of full disclosure, I was provided with a review copy of this film.


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