[BLG Note: The following is a special guest post from Bleeding Green Nation’s photographer: Trey Madara. You can follow Trey on Twitter: @TreyMadaraMedia.]
Spending a Saturday shooting a soccer game with Shelton Gibson isn’t the way most people would be expect to spend their Saturday. However, that became a reality over the weekend when the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver decided to spend some time in Chester.
For some of you that don’t know my background, I’m one of the team photographers for the Philadelphia Union, Philadelphia’s MLS (Major League Soccer) team. This past year I was also gifted with the chance to shoot some Eagles games as the schedule allowed. Throughout the season I got the chance to meet and shoot some players, one of those great guys was Shelton Gibson.
Shelton has recently started to pursue some work in digital media and we had talked back and forth about our photography work and how we got our start and learned skills the best.
While we discussed these topics into the NFL offseason the MLS season was gearing up to begin. Plans had originally been set in motion to have Shelton and some of the squad out for the opening match of the season against Toronto. However, when things didn’t work out, we discussed the possibility of actually having Shelton out to not only be a guest celebrity athlete but also shoot alongside me at the match.
To anyone in the photographic field, the idea of having an athlete give their shot at photography is always a blast to witness. Seeing what an athlete themselves perceives as photographic can be very eye opening. But it was now on the schedule for Shelton to come join me when the Union took on the Montreal Impact.
It was a moderately cool and cloudy day when the Union got ready to kick off. Shelton got the full staff treatment and was able to shoot on the pitch itself alongside the team when they began their warmups. During this time he happened to run into the Philadelphia Soul players that also were visiting for the match, along with Ron Jaworski. When game time arrived we took up shop near the corner flag and began shooting the game. Things picked up quick with an early PK which lead to an opening goal for the Union. I recall that Shelton was impressed with the speed and aggression that the men played with. Their ability to run for 45+ minutes at a time always was admirable to him. I assured him that while they ran a lot they certainly didn’t wear the same amount of weighted pads that they do when they play.
The second half of the game kicked off with the Union up 1-0. Throughout the second half the heat began to pick up and the game got tense. It was only when the Union broke through with two more goals that they ran away with the three points that they needed.
Before we knew it, the whistle blew to end the 90+ minutes of photos. Shelton and I walked out onto the pitch to cover the postgame action and bring a close to everything we had done that day. After the field had cleared and the dust settled we got to work editing some of the content we had from the day.
After an eventful and fun day for Philly sports, Shelton had gotten his first taste of MLS and sports photography. We parted ways that day looking forward to the upcoming NFL season and the plans for getting more of the bird gang to attend some Union matches. The inter-connectivity that Philadelphia sports teams have is simply unmatched in US sports and being able to be a part of that bigger universe has been an absolute blessing. It’s quite an exciting time to be a Philadelphia fan and it’s going to be exciting to see what the future holds for the Union and Eagles seasons.
As of today the Philadelphia Union are sitting comfortably in first place in the Eastern Conference after crushing the New England Revolution 6-1. Be sure to check out Shelton Gibson’s Instagram for more of his photographic content in the future!
Photo gallery below: