Signing News

Union re-sign Carroll, Casey, and Fred

Photo: Earl Gardner

The Philadelphia Union announced on Friday that Brian Carroll, Conor Casey, and Fred have been re-signed for the 2015 season.

Union technical director Chris Albright said in a statement on the re-signings, “We’re excited to have this core group of veterans returning to the club. The experience and expertise they bring to our group on a daily basis is invaluable as we attempt to build a winning culture here in Philly.”

Union head coach Jim Curtin has made no secret of his desire to keep Carroll and Casey with the club.

Speaking after the acquisition of CJ Sapong in December Curtin said of Casey, “We can’t lean on him for 34 games. That’s been our mistake the past two seasons, where we lean too heavily and rely too hard on him and don’t have enough other people contributing. I think he’s a guy that can contribute and get goals; we just need to bring in a guy to alleviate some of that burden. And we’re going to.”

Speaking more recently of Carroll, Curtin said, “I think he has a couple more years left, but in a lesser role. I’ve talked about that with Brian openly and candidly. I’m excited he’s coming back. He’s important to our locker room and to closing out games. We’re trying to improve on that. We’re also looking to bring in a holding midfielder, as well. ”

PSP understands that Albright’s role with the team as a player — someone whose contribution to the club came more off the the field as a leader and mentor than in minutes on the field — suggests the kind of contribution fans can largely expect from the veteran trio in the new season. The experience of such players with long resumes in the league will no doubt be of great assistance to the young Union coaching staff. Indeed, Friday’s signing announcement says Fred returns “in a player-coach role.”

With the announcement, the Union coaching staff has guaranteed a continued veteran presence in the locker room, with all three signings long on experience both in MLS and with the club. And make no mistake, the presence of such veterans is vital.

However, fans growing impatient for new additions to kickstart the “winning culture” Albright described can only continue to wait for the club to make good on its intention –as stated by Jim Curtin — of signing new players at forward and holding midfield.


  1. Is it ok to kinda panic now…
    Fred? Really?

  2. Ed must have drawn the short straw. I can’t imagine he looked forward to writing this with any kind of enthusiasm.

  3. I believe this could really work for us.

  4. The Black Hand says:

    Ummmm…We Suck So Much

  5. Jimmy Trojan says:

    Brian Carroll and Fred will lead us to the the 1st pick in the Super draft. Yahoo!
    Signing both of my nuts would be more productive.

  6. I am not a fan of having Brian Carroll back on this team. He was once a fine holding player but ugh, this move is going backwards.

  7. I disagree with the statement in the article that this roster requires the ‘veteran presence’ these players bring to the locker room. Edu, Valdes & Mbolhi have played for their national teams at World Cups, Nogueira and Maidana are well traveled overseas. These should be your leaders on the club. The only youth in the current starting XI are Gaddis and Wenger, and this version of Union management does not appear to have any interest in signing or developing young players based on the names that have left the club this offseason.

    Casey may have some bench and spot start minutes left in his legs, but the Union should have just hired Fred and Carroll as full time assistant coaches instead of wasting two roster spots if they wanted their presence with the team.

  8. Ticket agents are standing by!!!

  9. dan c (formerly of 103) says:

    There used to be a sitcom on called “That’s so Raven!” is reporting that Fred signed as a player/coach. Sak is saving money by using a roster spot on a 2 for 1 special. Wait for it…….. That’s so UNION!

  10. To Jay Sugarman: Fire Sak now. Fire Albright now. This is a sinking ship. We’ve made no improvements to a team that fell apart last year with the playoffs in reach. We’ve lost one of our best young players because Curtain didn’t value him and a couple 100k was too much to pay him. Now there’s unsubstantiated rumors of replacing Okugo with players requiring 5 million transfer fees. If Albright had an IQ over 50 he’d be kicking himself.

    I think Curtain thinks the Open Cup final represented a vision of what the Union could accomplish. But he neglected to notice that as soon as Seattle put their best player (Martins) on the pitch, we lost miserably.

    Honestly, I’m going to call my season ticket guy tomorrow and tell him that if Pfeffer plays less than Fred, I’m not re-upping next year.

    • I am beginning to think Jay Sugarman is as much as the problem as Sak.

      A lot of the head scratching coaching moves such as having your goalkeeping coach be your technical director. Or having a player coach. Some of his outsider best practices may be contributing to this mess.

    • Spot on Ben. The logic in the FO is screwed. We’ll be in the cellar with mtl this year. Casey would be the only depth signing I’d make. Pfeffer gets no playing time again.

  11. OneManWolfpack says:

    Where are the Sons of Ben’s outrage at the complete absurdity of this team and it’s current offseason? It’s obvious we are all outraged (of the commenters, not sure who may or may not be a member)… I ask this because maybe, JUST MAYBE, they can force some change? Cause at this point I’m out of ideas.
    If Carroll and Fred play a combined 100 minutes this season I’m done.

    • Hoping the SOB show the same kind of fire that NYRB supporters show towards their feckless ownership and FO. Feel like the Union are playing us.

  12. I see the “plan” now. FO wants to turn this team into the Chivas and then sell it back to MLS. Brilliant

  13. old soccer coach says:

    Fred returning surprises me a bit, but less so after the loan of Fernandes to NY Cosmos. Carroll and Casey were fairly clearly likely returnees, especially Casey given comments attributed to him around the time of the re-entry draft. You need a second eleven for scrimmages and drills in practice, a point that has never been mentioned in the time I have been reading PSP. Locker room leadership is a part of it, but so is quality opposition in practice. A friend of mine who actively coaches still and has worked with FC Delco and the EPYSA ODP program always compliments Carroll and Le Toux as the Union players most consistently excellent with every touch in practice drills, pre-game and the open practices to which he has gone. We’ll know in late summer how much these guys are getting paid. Do Jim Curtin the favor of letting him have the elders he wants to help nurture his younger guys. You’ve all been parts of teams, think about intra-team dynamics, especially for a season lasting from late January until November. Managing that interpersonal dynamic is a big job, a sine qua non for the team success we all want them to achieve.
    Any MLS signing is a three-way negotiation. If a transfer fee is involved, that complicates it even more. Operational secrecy during the process is necessary; go see The Imitation Game.

    • +1. But if June rolls around and Fred, Casey and Carroll are getting more first-team minutes than Pfeffer, Catic and Bird, I’m changing that to a -1.
      And the Imitation Game analogy worries me. Are you saying the Union FO has uncovered the secret for success in MLS, but they’re letting bad things happen on purpose to throw us off?

  14. I don’t understand all the outrage. Yeah we didn’t sign anybody big time yet, but JC and Albright have made some good additions. I’ve never rated any BC or Fred, but it’s not like the FO is throwing a parade..
    Fred is the only shock, but having a Brazilian to help coach, speak, acclimate the SA players is valuable.
    Losing Okugo to OC is horrible–but that seemed to be more a Sak/Sug thing.
    Instead we resigned Edu, and if he’s a CB then it’s worth it. He’s more marketable to Joe Schmo so I can see why they chose him. I wouldn’t have but ok.
    Nogueira didn’t sprint back to France and Chaco is still here. I thought they’d both be sold after last years “all-in” failure.
    Wenger just started to thrive on the flank and trading for Sapong was an awesome move.
    And we had a steal in the draft, comparatively . Sprinkle in Pfeffer and McLaughlin now that Curtin has full job, so I’m ok with it … So far.
    Do we need a true 9 and LB? Yes. But I’ll rant in a couple weeks if there’s absolutely no true impact signing…
    Then again, look at DC last year.

  15. Jeeesus, everyone please take a deep breath. We’ve known that Carroll and Casey were coming back for over a month when their options were declined and Jim Curtin more or less said they were going to come back at a lower salary. There is nothing at all wrong with that! These are guys that are fine for depth and fine for veteran presence. If by the time the season starts there’s not the required quality first XI signings, then we can moan all we want but lets not get bent out of shape about re-signing some guys who are going to be quality reserves if nothing else.
    Look, I’m not thrilled with how the offseason has gone so far, but in my opinion this is not the roster move to be up in arms about, not even close. If this is ends up being all we do, then yes, all of us fans have a serious bone to pick, but re-signing guys who have contributed (Casey in particular) to be acknowledged backups should not get the outcry it’s receiving here. Not yet.

    • The Black Hand says:

      If these signings are to provide depth, WHO IS IN FRONT OF THEM?
      Casey is still a very good player. He doesn’t have 90′ legs anymore, but his 60′ will be legit. I have no problem with his re-signing. His presence will help develop Catic and he will factor heavily on the pitch.
      Fred is a versatile player and can sub in anywhere in the midfield. That’s what we want on our bench. I can’t complain about his roster spot.
      …and then there’s Brian Carroll. Why? We have Lahoud, who is a FAR better player but, himself, nowhere near the type of player that we should be considering in our starting XI. The #6 is a critical position, perhaps the most important of them all. Carroll is done…has been for years. At his peak, he was an average footballer. Where is the value that he brings? What is one aspect of his game, that will improve our midfield. He’s a liability and his inclusion reeks of panic.
      I was OK with what was (wasn’t) being done so far, but this is a bit much. We fell apart last year (and were not that good before we dipped). We have added Sapong (strong move) but negated it by unloading Amobi (and Ribeiro). Absolutely nothing has been done to improve our club or show it’s supporters that the Union are heading in the right direction…or any direction. Backups, and the money paid for their services, should be employed AFTER the starting player has been acquired. No?

  16. This is my new thing. I was once chatting with an Englishmen about soccer and he was saying how when you’re a Chelsea fan and you win its like, “Ho hum.” But when you are a Wigan fan (back when they were in the premier league) and you win an FA cup, you get celebratory drunk and go streaking.
    We get to be working class, poor, not good, and every win will feel like gold. (I am not part of ownership)

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I like it. Pretty much cause I have to… but I LIKE IT!

    • Gruntled Fan says:

      Love the explanation, doesn’t make me feel better as I would think in our market we should be closer to a Chelsea team than a Wigan team (or at least somewhere in between).

  17. Wait for the end of the January transfer window. If They haven’t made a move by then … panic button maybe. Fairly certain that they can still make moves within the league up until March. We have a huge trading chip in either Gaddis or Williams and a decent amount of allocation money.

  18. Steve OMalley says:

    I love this idea of veteran depth but we need a frontline striker and there is no way around it we need a new OWNER

  19. J in Section 125 says:

    This has to be about adding depth I say in a desperate tone. Just yesterday an article on CSN Philly quoted Coach Curtain that additions were coming so I am not pressing the panic button just yet. Casey coming back was a given and he can give some quality minutes, but I am still expecting to see more additions to this club before the season starts. And if this is what Coach was referring to in the article then I will be a very disappointed ticket holder and will question the commitment of this team to winning come renewal time if the Union stink up MLS this year.

    • I’m pretty sure Curtin made those comments yesterday specifically because he knew they were about to announce these signings and he knew the fanbase would be underwhelmed (also it was kind of funny they announced this at 5pm Friday, when the PR guys tell you to announce bad news). I just hope any new signings don’t hinge on closing a deal to sell Valdes because everything about his contracts have been long, drawn-out sagas for 2 or 3 years. We must be mere days away from exciting Union news. Days away!

  20. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Further thought, they got good quality depth, known quantities, and inexpensively more than likely. They preserved money available to go after a “name striker”. How much of a “name” they can afford is a good question. But if Sugarman told them to get a “name striker” it is reasonable to assume they are trying. Carroll, Casey and Fred probably preserved more of the “name striker” fund than moving for other, less known quantities.

  21. J & Mikex – Curtin also asked us to trust him and Albright in those same comments. I don’t trust anyone in this FO. And it pisses me off when they ask me to trust them. Demonstrate that you’re worthy of my trust, for goodness sakes. I’m pretty sure we’ll be starting the season with Lahoud at DM and CJ up top. Our valuable trade commodity Fabinho will be in the 18. Which, honestly, I wouldn’t be that upset with except that with all the Philly toughness and all the “team is the star” rhetoric this is THE SAME TEAM AND SAME COACH THAT CHOKED LAST YEAR WITH THE PLAYOFFS IN REACH. It’s not Sugarman’s fault that “the soccer guys” think Fabinho is more worthy of protection than Ribiero. Or that the coaching staff pissed off Okugo. Sigh.

    • I agree with just about everything you said. I just thought I’d give optimism a try before returning to my usual anger in a week or so. They definitely have work to do, and not a lot of time.

  22. Why dont the sob just try and buy this organization over the next few years? This is a terrible club. If we dont get to the playoffs next year i hope nobody goes to these games anymore.

  23. What a waste of space and money ……………….

  24. fredricschwartz says:

    We could very well take last place this year. Oh joy!!!!

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