CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) — A Philadelphia Union superfan is getting a special surprise. Friends and family call Quillen Donnelly “Q,” and he’s headed on a journey halfway across the world that will see him fighting for the United States. He’s also a dyed-in-the-wool Union fan going back a decade.
The Union are giving Donnelly, a first lieutenant in the U.S. National Guard, a sendoff they hope he’ll love.
Donnelly believes this story is about military members who are sports fans, but CBS3 teamed up with the Union to give Donnelly an even bigger surprise.
We met Donnelly on the pitch to talk soccer, asking him who his favorite players on the Union are now and of all time.
“Right now it’s got to be Jack Elliott and Andre Blake,” Donnelly said. “Andre Blake is just a phenomenal goalkeeper. All time, it’s got to be (Sébastien) Le Toux.”
While we were talking shop on the field, Blake and Le Toux were meeting Donnelly’s family behind the scenes.
On the field, we discussed what lies ahead for Donnelly as a member of the armed forces.
“I’m deploying in the Middle East with my National Guard unit,” he said. “Leaving in just a few short weeks here. Like anything it’s definitely difficult, but nervous excitement, kind of. It’s going to be something new, it’s going to be something tough.”
Then we began to unveil the surprise to Donnelly, having him turn around to watch a video as friends, family and members of the Union wished him well on the big board.
“Hello Quillen, this is Jim Curtin, head coach of the Philadelphia Union, and I’d just like to thank you for your service,” Curtin said.
“Hey Quillen, this is Sébastien Le Toux here. I just wanted to wish you all the best in your first tour with the National Guard,” Le Toux said. “We hope to see you very soon back at the Philadelphia Union stadium. See you soon!”
Curtin and Le Toux were also there in person to send him off in style.
“That just, I’m incredibly blessed,” Donnelly said. “That’s absolutely awesome. I can’t believe that.”
That’s when we told him we had another surprise for him. When he turned around he saw Blake, Le Toux and other members of the Union there to meet him.
Donnelly was able to spend some time with the players he admires most while receiving some pretty sweet swag that he’ll be able to show off.