Official: Union sign Roland Alberg

Photo: Laurens Lindhout/

Philadelphia Union announced today the acquisition of Dutch midfielder/forward Roland Alberg from Eredivisie side ADO Den Haag on a two-year deal using Targeted Acquisition Money.

Transfer fee and salary information was not released. lists Alberg’s current value at €1.25 million, or $1.38 million.

Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart said in a statement, “Roland has the versatility and ability to play multiple positions at a high level of class. He’s a player we immediately identified as a perfect fit for our club as he’ll add additional quality to our midfield.”

The move is the first with obvious links to Stewart’s time in Europe since the former AZ Alkmaar Director of Football Affairs joined the Union. Alberg was in the AZ Alkmaar academy system while Stewart was leading the club, playing for the U-19 team in the 2009-2010 season, and for the U-21 team the following season.

Rumors of the Union’s interest in Alberg gained traction on Wednesday when an article on the ADO Den Haag website reported reported his move to the Union was “near,” with Alberg in the US to “iron out the last wrinkles for a transition to the Philadelphia Union.”

Alberg moved to Eredivisie side SBV Excelsior from AZ for the 2011-2012 season and the start of the 2012-2013 season, scoring 7 goals over 43 appearances. With Excelsior relegated, Alberg moved on to then Turkish Super League side Vartas Elazigspor following accusations that he allegedly spat at Excelsior supporters, accusations Alberg denied. While ADO Den Haag argued Alberg had already signed with them, Alberg made three appearances in Turkey before returning to Holland to join ADO Den Haag in September of 2013.

After joining ADO Den Haag, he’s made 59 appearances in league play, scoring 16 goals with 13 assists. In the 2014-2015 season, Alberg had 8 goals and 9 assists over 32 Eredivisie appearances, including 29 starts. This season, Alberg has predominantly been used as an attacking midfielder, while also being used as a central midfielder and on the left wing, with 7 starts in 13 appearances, scoring one goal and recording one assist. He has no appearances with the club since Dec. 4, 2015 after suffering a calf injury.

You will note in the introduction to the highlight reel below that Alberg’s agent is listed as Stone Sport’s Management, the same agency that represents recent Union signing Anderson Conceicao.

Here’s a highlight reel of Alberg’s goals:


  1. Click.
    How anybody can be less than stoked about what Earnie Stewart has done in a very short window is well… tragic.
    Don’t want you. Gone.
    Don’t need you. Gone.
    Don’t fit. Gone.
    Don’t have requisite fitness. Gone.
    Don’t like your price tag. Gone.
    You. Like. Stay.
    You. Like. Sign.
    You. Fit. Sign.
    You. ‘Fit’. Sign.
    Defender. Defender. Defender. Good.
    Attack. Attack. Attack. Attack. Good.
    Vision. Philosophy. Plan

    • Darth Harvey says:

      Wenger fit in there as “Don’t want you”? or You completely forgot how to play soccer in 2015. Gone.

      cue the boos for kicking a guy while he is down…

      • If you see the midfielders he has brought in: highly technical, smaller type guys can play with both feet it is obvious to me Andrew was a, Don’t want you. Gone.

      • Do not see how you can defend Wenger based on his body of work in this league. How many seasons do you give a guy to “find” himself and his game?
        The guys who are real stars in this league (or even just really solid contributors) come in and PLAY. It isn’t a friggin’ “puzzle” for them!
        I saw enough. Gone.
        (And remember, none of this is personal, but there’s a difference between a guy being a pleasant conversationalist away from the field and a great player on it. Business is business.)

    • Would agree with most of it el P except for the price tag and fit of Edu and he is still here.

      • I do not disagree… but there was no way Edu was gone… it would be my guess, Earnie Stewart payed very close attention to one Charles Kelly the last 18 months… cue the wry smile from me.
        Edu is the club’s marquee for good or bad…
        He may or may not fit the overall plan but one thing I am fairly sure of… he was as good as teflon – at least this season.
        It is also entirely possible ES told JC that Edu is to be in the midfield and that’s that.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        My impression is that JC has good relationships with his players and wanted to honor Edu’s wishes, Edu having done what was necessary for the good of the club in 2015.

      • That was my impression as well.
        Even though he said all the right things, Edu was always pretty clear what position he wants to play.

      • you mean Earnie’s doppelganger who lived in Philadelphia and followed the NFL? because I imagine Earnie 1.0 might not even know of the Chipper.

      • I still really don’t get the Edu angst. Was he not one of our 3-4 most important players last year? If recent reports are right, he would have been in January USMNT camp if not recovering from injury. I get the price tag, but it’s still comfortably less than $1MM, how much of it are we actually paying given all the funny money mechanisms MLS has, and is it blocking us from acquiring anyone that we want to acquire? They’re already talking about not even needing to fill all roster spots. Unless his salary is somehow preventing us from doing what needs to be done, we’re a better team with him here.

      • Yeah, ScottE, I hear your argument and for the most part, I’m on board. I think the angst is mostly coming from a perception that his value isn’t equal to his salary. In other words, Edu-haters (relatively speaking) think that you can get two or three guys who are almost as good for the same salary. Especially given his occasional positional indiscipline.

        To me, this is somewhat (but not totally) misguided. On the one hand, CB and defensive mid typically can get good quality for less price than some other positions. On the other hand, in soccer – as in all sports – economically speaking, the relationship between quality and salary is exponential: lower on the curve, you get bigger differences in quality for small differences in salary, but at the other end, relatively small objective differences in speed, talent, awareness, whatever are accompanied by massive steps in salary. But that’s what it takes, because at the highest level, a small difference in speed can mean beating your defender or not; a small difference in body awareness can mean protecting the ball and turning and scoring, or losing the ball. Soccer is a game of strategy, but it’s also a game of inches and luck (this is what keeps it interesting – on any given day, a terrible team can beat a better team, but over a full season, the differences in quality will average out the quirks from game to game).

        That’s why I think Edu is worth the high price (relatively speaking). At his level, a small difference in size, talent, experience, skill, whatever over the next guy who costs $400k less per year is the difference between preventing 1 goal out of 10 or not – but sometimes that difference can be literally game-changing. It’s just that because Edu plays mainly defense, that small difference is not as noticeable as if he was actually scoring goals.

      • The problem with Edu to me is his price tag, falling skills, and inability to critic himself on his play. He could be a great CB if he just gave into it and learned the position and stopped making 80 yard runs up the field. As a defensive mid he still wants to be a box to box player which he is not as in his younger days. He gets caught positionally again and again. He has a poor first touch and his overall talent is not worth the $700,000 he makes especially on a team working with a cap and not much more. I mean for less than his price tag you could get national team players like birnbaum, besler, tchani, kitchen. I’d even rather have Mix who makes $50K more than Edu. Its just the value of what we pay Edu is not there. For his salary he should be a superstar on this team and like I said his talent makes him maybe in the top 5-7 on the team possibly dropping from there.

  2. Hopefully, this guy works out well and adjusts to MLS quickly. Gotta love a versatile attacker.

  3. Hopefully this guy can play on Saturday, would love to see him in action!

  4. Somewhat wary of the “fallen out of favor” thing. Why?
    I’m guessing ER and JC have checked that out pretty thoroughly though. No more M’Bolhis with this gang in charge.

    • I saw something about a new manager somewhere. Could simply be a “brought his own guys” kind of situation..
      But yeah, always a red flag. But I’ll assume Earnie’s had an eye on him since the youth program and knows what he’s getting.

    • Falling out of favor is such a wide bowl of innuendo soup.


    • It could mean anything ranging from because he sucks to a more nuanced Sheanon Williams Ray Gaddis thing.

    • A commenter on MLS’s website said the following:
      “I think PHI made a great signing. He is a leader (he was ADO’s captain). He can create chances and score beautiful goals. His only pet peeve would be his ego. He had a fall out with the manager for not being serious in training and in matches.

      I know this because he so happens to have played in my local team ADO Den Haag ;)”

      • Not a problem if you ask me I think Stewart can keep him in check. Ego can be a good thing if you back it up and can still respect your teammates and manager. If you think you are the best and clearly don’t show it a la M’bohli then you are not worth the time of day.

  5. Isn’t the best part of the release that he was signed with TAM? Meaning the DP Striker dream is still alive.

  6. Alberg Sapong Pontius
    Barnetta Nogueira
    Fabinho Conceicao Marquez Gaddis

    With Ayuk, Seba, Yaro, Restrepo, Rosenberry, Creavelle, Carroll, and Lahoud in reserve?

    Already much better than how we started last season.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      No Lahoud, loaned out to the Cosmos as part of the Restrepo deal.

    • Still a lot of “IF” coming off that lineup

      • Honest question:
        What would “non-if” look like?
        BTW, we REALLY do need to get the folks here together in a bar or some other gathering establishment to have these discussions sometime.
        Name tags with our PSP IDs on them 😉

      • For me, the “if” comes with Pontius staying healthy. With Anderson/Alberg adjusting to MLS. Can Blake play a full season? Can Yaro step in “if” Anderson can’t hack it. Can Rosenberry step in if Gaddis or Fabi falter? Can the team stay relatively healthy?
        There are a lot of “if’s”. But I hope, most of them won’t be an issue this year. We’re just going to have to wait and see how this new re-imagining of the Union plays out.

      • These “ifs” are legitimate but for me the big “if” is injuries. We have the starting talent to compete (if not excel) but we don’t have the depth. Didn’t they say a few weeks or months back, something about a new fitness coach or facility and more emphasis put on keeping players fit and preventing injuries over the season? If this plays out, we could be good. “If” it doesn’t, we could be looking at some more rough streaks.

    • don’t forget about fernandes- he was great for the cosmos last season and curtin has said he has been the sharpest player in camp so far

  7. On paper, extremely exciting. Can’t wait to see the product on the pitch. El Pachy first sentence spot on.

  8. It will be interesting to see how free kicks and PKs work out.
    Barnetta, Alberg, Le Toux, Herbers, all options but all are right footed I believe.
    Leo maybe left footed option?

  9. Quality signing. Would’ve preferred a LB or ST but he’s a great talent I’m happy to have on our team. #Earnie2016

  10. Here’s something I found interesting from the Press Release:
    “Transaction: Joined the Philadelphia Union as a Discovery Signing via transfer from ADO Den Haag”
    The league actually granted us a discovery claim!?! How odd…

    • “Discovered” by Earnie when Roland was in the AZ youth system? Who knows, I’m not complaining.

      • Considering we weren’t allowed to tag Rosenberry as Homegrown, I’ll continue to be surprised when the league sides with the Union on anything.
        Pretty sure Sak just pissed off everyone in the league, and we’re still feeling some effects of that. Hopefully Earnie is an antidote.

      • Ha. Was thinking the same thing. The dark cloud has been lifted from our franchise.

  11. This is good…very good..I like that ES is using his knowledge and experience abroad to give this club a new look and dynamic. V.P.P….Packy has had it right for a long time….here is to the future!
    I’m at work so …holding up a coffee mug….but thinking The Glenlivet 18 yr. old …or whatever your favorite is! CHEERS!!!

  12. I know it’s a highlight reel but daaammn, that looks like good stuff. Hard kicks, soft touches, crazy angles, nose (or forehead) for the ball.
    Very excited about this.

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