MLS / Union

Union start training, Lehigh grad joins team

Philadelphia Union began their first training camp on Tuesday in Springfield, Pa.

Fifteen of the Union’s 19 players took part in the first of four training sessions set for the Healthplex Sports Club, with training consisting mostly of stretching and agility drills.

Field workouts are set to begin next week when the team travels to Greensboro, N.C. for spring training.

Expansion draft picks Shavar Thomas and Alejandro Moreno were conspicuously absent. (U.S. U-20 internationals Amobi Okugo and Jack McInerney were also missing due to a tournament in Mexico.) They’re expected to join the team for spring training in Greensboro, N.C.

Non-roster Union players also took part, and at least one player who made it through the team’s open tryouts was among them: former Lehigh University goalkeeper Sam Bishop.

Since graduating Lehigh in 2005, Bishop has played for USL-2’s Harrisburg City Islanders and the Pennsylvania Stoners of the National Premier Soccer League, a league considered to be on the fourth tier of American soccer, much like USL PDL. The Moorestown, N.J., native also helped coach the team, which is based in Allentown, after previously serving on the Muhlenberg College coaching staff in Allentown.

“They advertised for open tryouts during the end of the summer and I figured I might as well,” Bishop said. “It was a great experience and it was fairly inexpensive compared to other open tryouts. I thought the tryout went ok and I ended up being one of 25 guys to get a call back out of a thousand. I went back for another tryout this past Sunday and that same night I got an email from an assistant coach inviting me to preseason camp.”

Bishop has an uphill battle to make the roster, with goalkeepers Chris Seitz, Brad Knighton and Brian Perk all on the roster. Seitz was acquired by trade, Knighton in the expansion draft, and Perk in the amateur draft.

The team still has open roster spots, and a few more acquisitions are expected before opening day in March. It’s unlikely, however, that the Union would carry more than three goalies.

Players are still waiting to see what happens when the league’s collective bargaining agreement expires on Sunday. The possibility of a lockout or strike still looms, though some signs are pointing to an agreement that avoids a work stoppage.

Were you at the training session? If so, what did you think? How do you think the team needs to fill the rest of the roster? Does Bishop have a spot at making the team? Weigh in below.

2 Comments

  1. union crazy says:

    in my view, bishop will not make the team.

    ryan soroka has been invited to the work outs as well.

  2. Yep, definitely a long shot for Bishop. Two young veterans, the top goalie in the amateur draft — he definitely has to have a big camp.

    Drexel’s Daniel Zajac and Crystal Palace Baltimore midfielder Shintaro Harada are in camp too, I’ve since learned.

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