Draft News

Union draftees: Dzenan Catic and Eric Bird

Photo: University of Virginia Athletics

Dzenan Catic

With the 31st pick of the MLS Superdraft, the Philadelphia Union selected a 6’3 center forward in Dzenan Catic.

Originally from Bosnia, Catic played his high school ball at East Kentwood in Michigan, where he earned multiple accolades including three State Championships, three All-State awards, and was named an All-American his senior year. Most notably, he earned national player of the year honors during his senior season.

Upon graduation, Catic decided to sign with Kaiserslautern, a German side on the fringes of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2. He remained for two years, making six appearances for FCK’s reserve team before his release.

Upon his release, Catic struggled to find college options as his pro experience had rendered him NCAA ineligible. He chose to attend Davenport University, an NAIA college in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

He had a tremendously successful college career, totaling 63 goals and 14 assists in 47 games over the course of his two seasons. These two years included 19 multi-goal games, 8 hat tricks, a 5 goal game against Indiana Tech, and a 7 point game against Lawrence Tech. In addition to this tremendous statistical output, Catic led Davenport University to the NAIA national championship in 2014.

Catic also played for the Michigan Bucks in the Premier Development League, leading them to a PDL title with 18 goals. He also earned the league’s Golden Boot and MVP honors.

With the acquisition of Dzenan Catic, the Philadelphia Union gained another big, strong center forward with strong finishing ability.. Look for him to increase his strength and mobility in the preseason in order to adjust to the much more physical and speedy play of MLS.

See his highlights below.

Eric Bird

The Union selected 5’11 midfielder Eric Bird with the 41st pick of the Superdraft.

Eric hails from Virginia Beach, VA and played for Cox High, earning two First-Team All-State honors and leading his team to the State title in 2009 and 2010. He was also named the Virginia high school State player of the year in 2011.

During his freshman year at the University of Virginia, Bird tore his ACL and MCL midway through the season. Despite the setback, Bird recovered well and started all 21 matches next season.

Eric comes to the Union boasting two All-ACC and All-America honors during his junior and senior years. He also helped Virginia win their 7th NCAA National Championship last fall. Playing as a central midfielder, Bird totaled 15 goals and 10 assists through his 73 games at Virginia, including 5 goals and 2 assists his senior year.

His key traits are his speed, quickness, and distributive ability with the ball at his feet. It will be interesting to see where he fits into the Union depth chart.


  1. Seems like pretty good value for 31st and 41st picks. Anybody disagree?

    • Agreed, it’s such a crap shoot , but at least we can envision both of these players performing better than their draft positions. Gargan’s tweet which showed how he, Wondo and the Ginger Ninja were all picked in the late 30’s/early 40’s just reiterated that the draft is an inexact science.

  2. I’m very curious now who the two trade-up targets were. It seemed like the LBs went late enough that it wouldn’t have been a huge deal to jump up a handful of picks. That said, it seems like decent value for where they picked.

  3. James Lockerbie says:

    I like the picks, waiting for the second round was tuff. not bad though for the 31st and 41st picks. ok can’t help it how hard was it for Sak to leave without a g.k

  4. Seem like players with a chance to contribute if they make the roster. And I think its fair to look at Sapong as part of the draft haul because it was a straight trade for the #10 pick.


    Curious to see what moves Albright and Curtin have lined up. They’ve identified LB as a position of need but haven’t done anything with it yet. And DM seems unsettled unless they are planning to play Edu in midfield or start Lahoud (who they protected in the expansion draft and looked good after returning from national team duty last year).

    • I like Mike Lahoud. And I could live with him being my starter if I had to, at least for one year. But I’m not sure Lahoud can start 32 games a year. But if the trade-off for starting Lahoud is that the Union find a left back and some more depth for wing and/or striker, I can deal with it. When Lahoud gets suspended – because we all know he’ll get at least one red card – Edu slides up to fill.
      Lahoud would certainly bring that nasty edge to the center of the midfield…

  5. Catic has taken a long route to the draft. I hope both picks get a decent shot with the Union. It’ll be interesting to see what the Union do next. I was not thrilled to see Sakeiwicz getting air time.

  6. I think both guys make the team. Both probably pro ready size and technique wise, just need to adjust to the speed of play. Could probably both see the 18 a good bit this year. That being said Catic could turn out to be the steal of the draft. He is 6’3, can jump and is a deadly finisher in the air and with BOTH feet. Forget about NAIA competition, he scored 16 goals in 14 games for his title winning PDL side. Not to mention 2 years at Kaiserslautern . . .

  7. Union is 9 spots down in the next round and there are still about 10 interesting names left: Craven,DelCampo,Simmons,Manning,Ribas,Murrell,Sanchez,Shinsky,Richey, and Wolverton. Should be able to get good value here too.

  8. I'm Sak, Please Fire Me says:

    Jim! How did we pass on Tyler Miller! I want Tyler Miller! NOW!

  9. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Both start as loaners to HCI is my guess.

  10. Catic was a man among boys in the highlight video above.

  11. i just got around to watching catic’s highlight video and i’ll be honest i am pretty excited. he seems so composed in front of the goal and not at all frantic. there were a couple times where you can imagine even a professional forward would try to draw contact and sell it for a foul but he just played through and kept calm and was able to score

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