Talking DOOP With Ryan

Below is my latest piece for I interviewed 12-year-old, Philadelphia Union super-fan, Ryan, whose passion and enthusiasm for the team reminded me a lot of my younger self.  

I had the pleasure of sitting down before the Philadelphia Union’s recent match against FC Dallas, to talk with one young fan, whose passion and enthusiasm for the club is truly “next level.” Everyone, meet Ryan.

Ryan, 12, from Mullica Hill, NJ is like most kids his age — buoyant and brimming with energy. I’d argue that nothing currently unfolding in this world, or MLS season could bring his spirits down.

Ryan’s love for the Union, as well as for sports in general was apparent from the moment I first sat down to talk with him during the teams’ warm-up, to the moment I walked away from his family’s seats just below the River Deck.

I’ll admit, it felt wrong of me to divert Ryan’s attention away from his heroes on the field. But Ryan was more than gracious enough to take time to talk.

Like many kids his age, Ryan is consumed by sports.

He plays basketball, baseball, flag football, and travel soccer, in which he is a goalie for his club team. When Ryan’s not actively shooting hoops, or channeling his inner Andre Blake on a Saturday morning, he’s busy watching his beloved Union, including the other Philadelphia sports teams on TV, or at their respective stadium.

But rest assured, Ryan isn’t your average 12 year old, nor is he just any fan.

No, Ryan is a full-fledged producer and talkshow host. At an age where most kids are still searching for a hobby or a passion, Ryan has already found his.

He’s the face (and voice) of Talk DOOP With Ryan on YouTube (and now, Twitter), as well as the Chief DOOPING Officer and Lead DOOP Anchor of the show, according to the clever business card Ryan handed me.

Ryan began Talk DOOP in June of 2016, in an effort to take his fandom “to the next level,” and with a desire to share his passion and knowledge of the team with other fans.

Posted weekly on the show’s YouTube channel and Twitter page, Talk DOOP, and of course, Ryan continues to provide fans with up-to-date reports on everything surrounding the Philadelphia Union organization.

From The Injury Report, which informs fans on the fitness status of players, to Match Previews, which offer both an adept look at the Union’s upcoming opponent, as well as the opposing players whom fans ought to keep a close eye on, Ryan covers it in episodes that range anywhere from two to six minutes in length.

Episodes are short-and-sweet, yet informative and researched extensively beforehand by Ryan himself, who presents the information he gathers from the Philadelphia Union website, including other outlets, in an energetic and entertaining manner.

Readers should note that all of Ryan’s research is done after he returns home from school, of course.

Now, more than a year after the initial launch of the show, and with the help of his family and friends, Ryan has hosted 66 episodes (and counting) of Talk DOOP that has amassed for his channel more than 2,600 views, a loyal 57 subscribers, and has even garnered the attention of the club itself.

Last year, the Philadelphia Union offered fans the unique opportunity to win a pair of season tickets for this season, by downloading, printing out, and taking pictures with a PDF cutout of Union captain, Alejandro Bedoya.

It happened to be perfect timing for Ryan who, at the time, had just started his show.

Ryan, who used Talk DOOP and Bedoya Box as the ultimate platform and co-host partner, was announced as the lucky winner of the contest at a home match last October, and was presented with a pair of season tickets for this season.

This year was Ryan and his father’s first, as season ticket holders.

Apart from his desire to take his fandom to the “next level,” Ryan has two very influential people in his life, who continue to help guide him and his budding show along the way.

One of whom being his father Mike, who does freelance work for networks in the sports’ media industry, and occasionally serves as a writer, spotter, or statistician. Mike helps Ryan edit episodes, directs the camera and promotes the show on social media.

Union sportscaster and family friend, Dave Leno being the other. “I talked to him [Dave Leno], and he helped me with the idea for the show,” said Ryan. “He’s somebody that I look up to.”

Leno and Ryan’s father have worked together in the past during Temple Mens’ Basketball games. Now in his second season co-hosting LIVE prematch, halftime and postmatch shows on Union telecasts, Leno continues to serve as a mentor for young Ryan.

Talk DOOP has taught many life lessons, according to Ryan. “Now I get annoyed when I don’t get an episode up in a timely fashion,” said Ryan. “I have a need to study up, before I just casually record.”

It may have opened up a potential career path for Ryan, later down the road. “This is something I definitely would want to keep doing [for a career],” added Ryan.

So what’s next for Talk DOOP?

Ryan tells me he is still holding out for his dream special guest and current Union midfielder, Roland Alberg to appear on an episode recorded on Talen Energy Stadium’s pitch.

Ryan also wanted to remind the readers on UnionFanTV that a special playoff edition of the show is not yet out of the equation (although it’s looking increasingly unlikely).

Nevertheless, I asked Ryan this, to which he smiled and shrugged: “I don’t know. I was thinking of getting a little stand [in Toyota Plaza] to get people to subscribe to Talk DOOP.”

For now, there is no stand, episodes are recorded from the comfort of his family’s dining room table, and his sister, Keira serves as an occasional co-DOOP Anchor. But fortunately for Ryan, time is definitely on his side.

Thank you to Ryan and his father Mike, who were kind enough to sit down with me for this story. You can find Ryan and his show on Twitter @TalkDOOP, on the “Shows” tab of the UnionFanTV site, as well as on YouTube. 

Talking DOOP With Ryan

My American Soundtrack For the Fourth, Summer

On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence from Britain was adopted by the Second Continental Congress, which affirmed that Man is born with certain God-given rights and that Life is one grand, sweet song. 

A long long time ago
I can still remember how
That music used to make me smile

Gloomy Don McLean sure was right about one thing, when he wrote arguably the song of the century in “American Pie” (1971) : today’s music is certainly less idyllic, less poetic, and less romantic than songs from the past.

But the notion that the American Dream is dead is simply wrong; the American Dream is alive and well.

It’s as alive as it was on this day, 241 years ago, when revolutionaries cheering the inspiring words of the Declaration tore down a statue of King George III, later melting it down and shaping it into more than 42,000 musket balls to supply a fledgling American army.

It’s the freedom to think freely, to be the master of a single mind, in control of your own destiny.

It’s the freedom to pursue property, be it that quaint house in the suburbs, with a white picket fence and a brick chimney, or that Blue Tacoma you’ll have your first kiss in and drive to work everyday for the next 25 years in.

It’s whatever you want it to be. It’s what Lockean men like Thomas Jefferson envisioned when signing their John Hancock’s and showing Britain the Bald Eagle. And it’s the only tangible dream any of us will ever experience in our lifetime.

We owe it to our Founding Fathers, who were easily the greatest assemblage of thinkers, ever. Thomas, John, and you too, Ben: this cold Budweiser’s for you.

• • •

Today, thanks to modern digital music services and streaming platforms, such as Spotify, SoundCloud, and Apple Music, the spirit and exceptionalism of America’s past lives on boisterously today.

Just like freedom: America’s single greatest export.

Below is my ultimate Independence Day playlist, perfect for today’s backyard barbecue, neighborhood block party, fireworks display on the beach, or any occasion, any day of the year, really:


There are exactly 1,458 words in the Declaration.

Lengthy, but imagine how many more Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the Founding Fathers could have penned, had they had Lynyrd Skynyrd or Springsteen belting out from a pair of headphones, tucked beneath those powdered wigs of theirs.


Happy Independence Day, America. Now start the music.  

My American Soundtrack For the Fourth, Summer

Miccarelli defeats Butt


Tuesday proved to be a momentous night for Republicans across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As predicted, Tuesday’s historic election drew a heavy voter turnout locally.

More than 30,000 residents throughout Delaware County casted their vote in the 162nd Pennsylvania House of Representatives District general election between Republican incumbent Rep. Nick Miccarelli and Democratic candidate Jim Butt.

Butt conceded defeat to Miccarelli. The representative won by a final vote of 19,477 to 11,019 and scored reelection to a fifth term.

Miccarelli was first elected to the chamber in 2008, after he defeated Democrat John DeFransisco. His reelection is significant in that Republicans will maintain hold of the office they have controlled since 1979.

However, the victory meant more to the representative, who is a lifelong resident of the district.

“It means a lot to him to continue to have the support of his friends, family, neighbors and community. Nick lives, bleeds and breaths his hometown,” said Derek Staccone, Miccarelli’s Chief of Staff.

Miccarelli’s familiarity with the area proved to be beneficial in connecting with voters.

“I think Nick, growing up here in the community and having relationships with the people in the community, has allowed him to hit the ground running,” said Staccone.

Butt’s campaign found success establishing a strong ground game of their own.

He received several endorsements from notable groups. Butt was formally backed by the Southeastern Pennsylvania National Organization for Women, the Sierra Club, as well as Planned Parenthood.

Butt connected with many voters through the traditional strategy of going door-to-door.

According to his website, Butt knocked on more than 5,000 doors in the area during his campaign, something Butt’s campaign manager, Nate Urban, is particularly proud of. “Jim’s knocked every day for weeks helping engage people in conversation,” said Urban.

According to Butt’s campaign website, there were several reoccurring issues voiced by the voters he met. One was the feeling of being neglected by Harrisburg. The other was funding for education.

Butt promised to be a voice in Harrisburg, who would fight to bring back money to the district. “I’ll focus on ensuring that our school districts have the resources they need to do right by our kids,” said Butt in a Facebook post.

What should the district expect from Rep. Miccarelli in Harrisburg?

Less talk, more action. Miccarelli says it is time for Legislators to enact laws that solve the problem of ever-increasing property taxes in the district.

“The biggest complaint I hear, aside from the opiate abuse, is people struggling to pay their property taxes. No matter how much money the state keeps sending to districts, they just keep going up and up and up,” said Miccarelli in a recent interview with The Delaware County Daily Times.

The district should expect a moderate hike to the sales tax and personal income tax.

Miccarelli has also promised to address the heroin, painkiller and opiate crisis that has ravaged the district. “Nick will propose legislation that holds pharmaceutical companies more responsible to prevent painkillers from being over-prescribed,” said Staccone.

What lies ahead for Butt?

Urban did not comment if his candidate would run again. He did say that his candidate remains dedicated to serving the community. “Jim will continue to fight for the issues he cares most about,” said Urban.

Butt’s team believes their efforts throughout their campaign will benefit Democratic candidates running in the district for years to come. There is plenty of evidence to suggest this may be true.

While Delaware County has traditionally elected Republicans, it has trended Democratic in recent presidential elections including this one.


Miccarelli defeats Butt