Daily news roundups

Have Union acquired Adam Najem? Preseason begins today, Le Toux to DC, league news, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

At Goal.com, Ives Galarcep reports we may have a signing announcement today, one that kind of puts a twist how the Union’s 2017 draft might eventually be rated:

The New York Red Bulls and Adam Najem couldn’t come to an agreement on what level salary the Akron playmaker should join the Red Bulls at after a stellar four-year college career, and as a result, Najem won’t be starting his career at the club whose academy he was developed in.

Instead, Najem will be starting his pro career as a member of the Philadelphia Union, with sources telling Goal that the Red Bulls have traded Najem’s rights to the Union. The deal is expected to be announced on Monday.

Galarcep says of the NYRB Academy product, “Najem joins a Union side that can use some creativity in midfield after the departure of Tranquillo Barnetta, but expecting a major role in the Union attack as a rookie might be an ambitious projection, even if Najem was widely-regarded as one of the best attacking midfielders in college soccer in 2016.” A article from August at The 91st Minute described Najem as “college soccer’s best player.” Stay tuned.

Preseason begins today with players reporting for physicals. A press release on Friday said that training, which had originally been scheduled to take place at the Penn Bubble on University of Pennsylvania’s campus, will now commence on Tuesday at the Power Training Complex “due to spring-like weather conditions forecast for the area.”

At Delco Times, Matthew De George on how Alejandro Bedoya, Chris Pontius, and Keegan Rosenberry being away with the USMNT will mean opportunity for other players as thee Union start preseason training.

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead has five preseason storylines: What will emerge as Roland Alberg’s position, the battle for who starts at right wing, the battle for who starts at left back, how quickly Jay Simpson adjusts to MLS, and whether any new signings will be announced.

At Fox Sports, Caitlin Murray grades “every MLS team’s coaching situation. The Union get a C-:

In 2016, Curtin was reluctant to make adjustments in his squad and stuck to players despite their form dropping off. Similarly, he didn’t rotate his squad for tight turnarounds or build reliable depth. During games when he did make substitutions, he was slow to do it. Tactically, again, he was rigid, failing to show flexibility as needed. There’s no reason to believe 2017 will be different, even as Earnie Stewart is working to boost the roster – but if Curtin does find the right formula, he probably won’t let it get away from him.

Five teams have grades of C- or lower (Atlanta, New England, Philadelphia, Salt Lake, Vancouver), six teams get a grade of C or C+. 11 teams are graded B- or higher, of which five get an A- or A (Dallas, NYCFC, NYRB, Seattle, Toronto).

Philly Sports Network has part 1 of a look at the Union’s 2017 schedule.

Black and Red United reports former Union man, and free agent, Sebastien Le Toux “has apparently signed a one-year contract with D.C. United.” Here’s a list of MLS free agents for the 2017 season.

Philadelphia Union Academy

Berlin, NJ’s Isaiah Young, who played one season with the Union Academy U-16s in 2013-14 before leaving YSC Academy and playing for PDA, has signed with Werder Bremen. More at Soccer America and Brotherly Game.

City Islanders

An article at Bermuda’s Royal Gazette describes Dante Leverock as “formerly of Harrisburg City Islanders in the United States but now seeking an opportunity in England.”

Philadelphia Unity Cup

The registration deadline for the second annual Philadelphia Unity Cup tournament is April 14, with the tournament running between Sept. 8 and Nov. 4. Mayor Jim Kenney said, “Philadelphia’s always been and will continue to be a welcoming city. I’m committed to do whatever I can, we can, to protect Philadelphia’s inclusive and diverse practices … right now it’s more important than ever to show the rest of the country how we live and work together to celebrate our diversity.”

Kenney added, “We’re gonna correct some of the issues we had, there weren’t many, tweak some of the things we need to tweak to make it better. And then have another great tournament.”

An announcement on the tournament website says, “New this year, there will be no waiting lists for teams and no limit to the number of teams that can register. However, there can only be one team representing each country; for example, there cannot be two United States teams.”

Information sessions on how to register a team for the tournament will be held Feb. 8, Feb. 23, March 9, March 23, and April 4. Click here for time and location details on the information sessions.


Orlando have signed 18-year-old midfielder Pierre Da Silva to a Homegrown Contract: “Da Silva becomes the first player to climb from the Pro Academy to Orlando City B to the First Team.”

Marco Pappa is leaving MLS to play with his home club, CSD Municipal in Guatemala, “on a 6-month contract.”

Expansion related reports  for Nashville (WKRN), Charlotte (The Charlotte Observer (1, 2), The Charlotte Post) and San Diego (NBC San Diego).


The NASL has announced the format of the 2017 season, which will begin on March 25: “Each NASL club will compete in a 16-game Spring Season, followed by a 16-game Fall Season, hosting eight home games in each.” The full 2017 schedule will be announced “in the coming weeks.”

ESPN has a Q&A with acting NASL commissioner Rishi Sehgal, who, among other things, reiterated the NASL’s desire to “collaborate” with MLS and the USL. He also continued to distance the league from the pro promotion/relegation advocacy of former league commissioner Bill Peterson:

I think pro/rel is an interesting idea. I think everyone connected to the sport knows there is such an amazing competitive aspect to it; that cutthroat aspect of living and dying on the way you perform on the field and go out and prove it every day is incredible. But I think everyone acknowledges that we’re not there yet. If that’s going to happen in the future, we’re going to have to do things differently. But it can’t be a focus for today. It can be a focus in terms of saying we need to build more sustainable clubs and building the foundation of the professional game in this country and growing it. You can’t have pro/rel with 22 clubs in one division, eight clubs in another, and 22 clubs in another. That’s not going to work, even if you were to take all of Division II leagues and put them in one division. We’re not there today. There could be a pathway there in the future, but there’s a lot of work to be done before that even becomes a discussion.


At MLSsoccer.com, three big questions to be answered in the January USMNT camp.

Pulisic! With Dortmund through 2020.

Following recent comments from Tim Howard, John Smallwood writes at the Daily News that US Soccer cannot afford to become xenophobic.

US Soccer Players and Fox Sports have more from Jurgen Klinsmann.


At ESPN: “European Club Association (ECA) chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has told Fussball Bild he fears “a revolution is inevitable” after FIFA’s decision to expand the World Cup to 46 teams, suggesting clubs could withhold players for the 2026 tournament.”

The AP reports, “A group of hackers claiming to be based in Russia said Saturday they had shut down the website of the African Nations Cup in a protest at organisers holding it in the ‘dictatorship’ of Gabon, where President Ali Bongo Ondimba retained power in disputed and violent elections last year.”

Also from the AP: “A former aide to one-time FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam has been banned for life in a bribery case.”

Chapecoense returns.

Nice doggies. Now stay.


  1. This Najem signing, if true, is a nice piece of business. Might even make some first team appearances this year if he’s as good as scouting reports suggest.

    Can’t argue with Caitlin Murray’s grade for Curtin. Reads accurate to me.

    • +1 x 2.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      On the USL Website on the roster for NY REd Bulls 2, and on Wikipedia, there is a soccer player Named David Najem. The USL website lists no one of that surname with a first name Adam, and if you search Wikipedia for Adam it takes you to an article about the 2014 College Cup.
      Adam Najem is likely David Najem’s younger brother, since they are both from the same town (Clifton, NJ) and both went to the same HS (Paramus Catholic).
      If this should happen to be Earnie Stewart’s “controlling midfielder,” we will all learn to make absolutely no assumptions what so ever conscious or unconscious about the Sporting Director’s announcements because the context of the comment was clearly for this year in Jonathan Tannenwald’s article that is the source of the controlling midfielder phrase.
      If they are going to hand the keys to a rookie senior from Akron, what does that say about Derrick Jones? And I doubt it. That Jones and Najem will compete against each other in practice and hone each other’s skills fits perfectly with the Union’s approach.
      If they are this season’s solution at central midfielder for 2017, I will be mildly surprised and mildly disappointed. I hope the deal happens. It sounds as though the sporting director saw an opportunity develop and has boldly seized it. I hope there is more experienced help on the way for either the #8 or the #10 for this year.
      It certainly will be fun to find out.

      • David is his older brother. The rumors are that he was signed to NYRBII in order to give his brother greater incentive to sign.
        Didn’t work out so well…

  2. Minor detail, but according to the Unity Cup website, the deadline for registering is May 19:

    “Teams are responsible for creating their own rosters and will be asked to register with the City by May 19, 2017. A letter of commitment with details about the tournament will be available at all City recreation centers, in the Office of Immigrant Affairs, and on this website beginning April 14, 2017.”

  3. If Zusi starts at RB in these meaningless games over Rosenberry, thats some fucking bullshit.

    • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

      Or Arena feels that Zusi gives him the best chance for advancing through qualifying and makes a decision that is best for the Nats and not necessarily the U

      • Well the best chance at RB for qualifying is Yedlin. I was referring solely to these two next upcoming friendlies.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        What is best for the Uniion from a purely selfish point of view is that we have him available to us without the complication of predictable but unfortunate absences.

        I do not want that. I want him to make the USMNT as do we all.
        But to say that those absences are beneficial to the Union? Beneficial in that they would force the development of greater squad depth, yes. But do they enhance the chance to win the particular game affected, not unless his substitute is better than he is.

    • I’d be content with a 50/50 split. Let them each start a game, and then finish the other. Explore the options, but don’t screw the guys out of opportunities.

  4. Keep Atom & Humber happy and you keep Alexis happy.


  5. Can the Union sign a guy the Red Bull’s can’t?
    We don’t exactly have deep pockets.

    • Sounds like he didn’t want to sign with Red Bull for $52k and then try to distinguish himself in that crowded midfield. I don’t imagine that he expects a salary in the mid six figures and up. So perhaps it’s $80-120k salary with the Union and the chance to play right away is more enticing to him.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      REd Bulls are a much deeper organization than we are in terms of talent. They’ve been stockpiling for years.
      They gave a young man at a school where I was coaching an opportunity back in the fall of 2009 (I think that’s the year) and he – quite properly in terms of his own development as a player – chose to make the daily commute from Philly to North Jersey to use it.
      My point is that happened nearly eight years ago, eight.
      Matt Real is in the original class at YSC Academy and entered four years ago.

  6. “I’d really like to help you man
    I’d really like to help you man…
    nervous messed up marionette”
    Did you read how a publicly funded stadium in NC will heal racial divisions?

  7. Old Soccer Coach says:

    worth reading: the Will Parchman article on Top Drawer Soccer assessing the state of Academies in MLS.
    For what it is worth, he assesses Auston Trusty as the Academy’s top product and thinks Rayshaun McGann is the top prospect still in the Academy.
    I smile in amusement. A quarter says that McGann is not currently undergoing voluntary workouts at the Power Training Complex in Chester, and that four other academy boys may be. Nor was McGann listed on the Steel’s roster on the USL website last September when several new names were added.
    With intentions that I trust entirely and do not disparage at all, I think Mr. Parchman may have benefitted from a slower, more methodical research technique with his article, at least the Union portion of it.
    Rayshaun McGann may become next year’s news. The first we will hear of it is this coming August when this year’s YSC Seniors move on to the NCAA (or the Steel or the Union) and the following year’s first set foot on a USL pitch.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      it is mentioned on the Union’s website, sorry not to have remembered earlier.

    • I Am Citizen Insane says:

      Worth also reading – the 442 article :: is Academy failing young players.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Having scanned the article quite rapidly, by “Academy” do you mean the Developmental Academy? There is no reference my eyeball happened to hit to YSC.

  8. jersey soccer man says:

    former Union Academy player Isaiah Young just signed with Werder Bremen a German Bundesliga club, he is in a long line of former Union academy players that left because of the Academy director Tommy Wilson who comes from a 4th division club in a country in europe that plays the the most boring soccer and there results to prove it

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      A countervailing point may be that the USMNT U-18s have invited two YSC Academy seniors to a week-long discovery camp this week, Mark McKenzie and Justin McMaster.
      Those are two of the four Academy boys about whom I bet a quarter further up this thread, guessing that they have been doing voluntary workouts last week down in Chester.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        See post on this website that went up earlier this afternoon. Ed Farnsworth is much faster than I.

  9. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Rumor on MLS Transfer tracker connecting us to a dual nationality Haitian and American named Fafa Picault. Rumor reports that the agent is the source identifying the Union as leading the pack.
    Skeptic that I am, I sense a possible alternative fact. How many more forward/wingers can the rosters – plural because I include the Steel – hold?

    • Interesting. From Wikipedia: “His father played professional indoor soccer with the Philadelphia Fever in the MISL.”

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