Signing News

Union sign Oguchi Onyewu

On Monday morning, Philadelphia Union announced the signing of US men’s national team World Cup veteran center back Oguchi Onyewu.

The 34-year-old joins the team as a Discovery Signing.

Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart said in a statement, “Oguchi is a big, physical presence who brings experience and veteran professionalism, important traits that we believe will be an asset for our group of young defenders. He provides excellent depth at the center back position and we are pleased that we were able to add him to our squad.”

Onyewu began his professional career with Ligue 2 side Metz in 2002. Since then he has played in Belgium with La Louvière and Standard Liege, in England with Newcastle United, Queens Park Rangers, Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic, in Italy with Milan, in Netherlands with FC Twente, in Portugal with Sporting CP, and in Spain with Malaga.

Onyewu last played for Charlton Athletic during the 2014-15 Championship season in England.

After time as a US youth international, Onyewu made is USMNT debut on October 13, 2004, against Panama and was part of the 2006 and 2010 US World Cup teams. He has 69 senior caps, scoring 6 goals.


  1. This isn’t a bad addition, as long as he is not a DP and does not take up a chunk of cap space. Veteran leadership is important on a team with 3-4 young defenders and a young goalie.

  2. Now just waiting for that central midfield signing…

  3. I love this move. I understand the skepticism, but here is a guy who can teach the backline how to properly function together. Plus his size is a great addition to set pieces. If he is in shape this is a stellar move. I think it makes the defense way stronger.

  4. Big, physical veteran presence. Should still be a quality player at the MLS level. As a discovery signing it looks to be a solid addition.

  5. A 34 year old defender that hasn’t played since 2015. If he plays significant minutes this season, then something has gone horribly wrong. If this had been a coach signing I would have been happier.

    • I Am Citizen Insane says:

      John Terry is as old. Central defenders have shelf life.
      This is a rock solid veteran CB signing. Almost a slam dunk.

      • Agreed. And this is where MLS being behind Europe helps us. He can’t find minutes there, but he can be a solid addition here.
        Let’s ignore what that says about the league for now…

      • +1 CBs can last. I like this signing…and he kicked Ibra’s ass in a fight at AC Milan

  6. When he was first connected with us, I thought the same thing I do now: he’s a fantastic addition…depending on the money. Our CB’s need a calming veteran presence. He can definitely be that guy.
    Marquez and Yaro are still the future, but look at it this way: Who would you rather have behind them? Onyewu, or Tribbett? Should be a no-brainer.

    • Neither. Though Tribbet would be only three steps behind Giovinco not ten.

      • Giovinco would be on the ground well away from goal vice the ten you said.

      • So that’s one play…what happens after the yellow card? Or after a second yellow into a red? Hmmm? Have the Union now become the Broad Street Bullies? Huff the cool-aide somewhere else please.

      • Experience means he tries to avoid that 2nd yellow. Anyone who has played on a back line will tell you that sometimes you have to “set the tone” with speedy attackers…

      • So we’re back to the ten steps behind right? Ok good, you understand.

      • Nobody is going to keep up with Giovinco’s speed… wether its in the open field or his speed of thought.
        Using Giovinco as the example/litmus for why this is a ‘meh’ signing is difficult to understand.
        I haven’t followed nor recall your arguments on the defense front– so its hard to speak against but this seems an argumentum irrationalum — which I know all about making so I can spot them.
        Loved the Huff Cool Aide Line… what an image- well played.

      • I have an idea. Let’s see him on the field against some other teams and then we can determine the impact to the team.

        With your experience of playing with him recently or watching all of his practices with the U, you obviously have insight into his current fitness level and health that I don’t have. I’ll defer to you that he may be the slowest man alive.

      • Yeah, cause I need to play with him to know that at 34 people don’t get faster. Especially after a myriad of injuries or not playing in two years. But hey, he may be the miracle player and defy all the odds and history of the sport. Sure, could happen. He might be the first player ever to get faster with age. Got any alternative facts to throw in?

  7. Already seemed to be fitting in with Marquez during the open practice Friday.

    • yeah they seemed to have great chemistry

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Yes, and the general body language read that day said he was already part of the group.
      On that day Trusty was paired with Hugh Roberts, which is likely the steel game day centerback pair.
      I watched footwork conditioning because I could see it well. First, on that day no one has Trusty’s first step. Second, Onyewu was not in deficit on quickness or speed over 12-15 yards. Third, Marquez has excellent footwork technique. The caveat to watch is that we were watching in the first week of preseason. Pace will accelerate from February to October.
      Remember Earnie Stewart’s emphasis on the importance of practice. Onyewu will be an important presence everyday on the practice field.

  8. Love the signing. He can really show players how to position themselves defensively and offensively on penalties and corners. He may be 34 but if fit he can do some damage to other teams.

  9. Like others have said, he looked good in training. He is old but the fact that he hasn’t played much means less miles than your average 34 year old. I like it and I bet he plays more than you think. Like with just about everything, price will decide how good a move it is. Kenny should start apartment shopping in Bethlehem.
    It will be fun to scream GOOOOooooch.

  10. I love it. I love it. I love it. Here’s what I love.
    How people complain Yaro is too small and too young then they go out and sign a veteran world traveled cagey big ass strong defender to lead a young back line and now he’s– TOO BIG TOO SLOW.
    Philly Pathos playing out in real time.

  11. Anyone think this might allow Yaro to move to the 6?

    Yaro 6
    Edu 8
    Bedoya 10

    • Not likely. From all that has been said (Curtin and Stewart), Yaro is a CB

      • ..and, Bedo is not a 10. Look where he played for MNT and he himself puts himself on the wing or as the 8. Alberg is now wearing the 10, which says it all.

    • Maybe if the coach, player and S.D. didn’t see him as a CB. Then maybe. Though I’d love it if it were to happen.

    • Tribbet has experience at the 6. Yaro does not.

      • i thought i read that he played there and CB in college… i probably misread.

      • I’m almost positive he only played CB – we always talked in the Georgetown student section about how amazing it was to have the same defense starting together for all three years that Yaro was there.

  12. As long as he is physically healthy this could be a great signing. Another experienced, professional voice to add to the locker-room. I bet he will play more than most people think, but even if he doesn’t just imagine all the day-to-day advice and examples he will show to our young defenders about improving their craft, training the right way, etc. BC, Gooch, Davis, Edu, Bedoya, and now Pontius and Rosenberry all Union players with USMNT experience.

    • Atomic Spartan says:

      I know this is a positional apples & oranges simile, but I see this as a Mondragonian signing, as apparently many others do. That back line needs guidance and neither Andre nor Richie have proven themselves in that respect. This Is Parke/Califf managerial strategy. Do a solid to a solidifying force near the end of his career.

  13. Like I said, I’d be happier if Gooch was signed as a coach. But, and this may be a huge but, if he can get the back line to hold a straight line and cause more offsides he’ll be the next best thing since sliced bread. For me this was a huge problem last year. Ritchie and Co. dropped too early too often and caused more problems than there needed to be. If Gooch fixes that, then this was a good signing.

    • I think this is the crux of the argument. There hasn’t been a commanding voice on defense since Mondragon. (I’d argue Sylvestre was pretty good at it, but that not at Faryd’s level.)
      I’m making the guess that MLS will highlight his skills and minimize his weaknesses. He’ll get spot-starts, and he will not be here as the key to a championship run, but there are a few direct positives that come out of this (assuming he plays as we hope and he wasn’t too expensive):
      – Tribbett gets to start at BSFC all season long, gaining valuable experience.
      – Marquez and Yaro and Rosenberry all learn how to work with a field general in the back and be better organized.
      – We have a quality backup in the event of injury, which was an Achilles Heel last year.
      Again, this is no panacea, and it’s not like we just signed Toby Alderweireld or Vertongen (I may have some bias on my comparisons), but he’s solid for our league…hopefully.
      We’ll all be back here telling you that you were right if he craps the bed. But it’s the preseason, and that means it’s time for optimism.

      • My major problem with this is that the spine of the team needed help after last year. Can most of us agree on that? So the S.D. responds by signing a striker from a 4th tier English team and 34 yr. old CB who hasn’t played in two years with a history of injuries. Am I really supposed to be overwhelmed by this? Stewart used all his connections to find these guys? There’s still that big whole in the controlling midfielder spot. Should I expect a guy from a 3rd tier Peruvian team next? I had more optimism about last year than I do this year. I just don’t see reasons to be excited.

      • You are not supposed to be overwhelmed. Not at all.
        But based on what they have been saying, they are not done yet and they have deals brewing. We have no idea what they are, but they are trying to address the middle of the field.
        Gooch may be a familiar name, but no one is fooled into thinking he is the savior. He’s just, as ES said, “quality depth.”

      • Money ball is supposed to be underwhelming, no?

  14. So strange. I was just wondering what became of him last week. I’m 2/2 (Bedoya 2 years ago/last year)! When it comes to predicting unprompted signings. I’ll start googling Harry Kane.

  15. I can hear the cavernous maw of groaning steel like a diesel-powered frigate out on the Delaware, as Gooch gets turned by an opposing player moving at a brisk walk towards goal…

    • I Am Citizen Insane says:

      Ominous barge churn and crawl, rig of 18 wheels huffing up The Barry carrying refrigerators…. sausage and pepper line on a Saturday slow.

    • You mean….Like THIS!?
      Personally, I don’t have a complaint with this signing at all. We’ll see how it works out. They could use some SIZE back there next to Marquez every once in awhile.
      I have, however, had a concern from the beginning about Josh’s size and playing CB. When I first saw him in person, my first though was, “How is he going to survive all that banging?”. I was hoping it would be a little like Iverson survived with the Sixers.
      Can’t help thinking with Yaro’s speed, vision, passing skills…Couldn’t he play midfield? My understanding from their Georgetown coach was both Rosenberry and Josh could very good mid-fielders.

  16. In the words of the Sporting Director, Gooch adds “great depth” to the back line. I interpret that to mean he is not intended to be a regular member of the starting 11. Could we really see a three man rotation of Marquez, Yaro and Gooch? Or does this mean Yaro will get significant minutes in Bethlehem to build a partnership with Trusty?

    Does anyone have knowledge of Derrick Jones progress? I know it has only been a week, but will he get minutes this year? Perhaps he is the 6 by mid to late year and will develop into the 8???

  17. This is a good signing considering Yaro and him being one more nasty one away from early retirement.

  18. jersey soccer man says:

    this guy is washed up hasn’t played in a year , played for a 4th division team before that, same old shit different year, BORING

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Thanks TROLL. He’s a nice depth signing. If he has to start consistently then I’ll agree it would have been better to get someone else. But as a backup / teacher… it’s a good addition.

      • The JSM opinion may be a bit to the extreme.
        I don’t have a problem with giving this a shot. If I thought the guy couldn’t play, REALLY couldn’t play, I’d have to say I have an issue filling a roster spot with “coach’. I mean, just put him on the tech staff then.
        Also, I don’t think Stewart is going to waste a spot on another Connor Casey type season like they did two years ago, or a Fred before that. He’s not going with a 34 year old on brains alone. Doesn’t fit his MO.

      • jersey soccer man says:

        he got booted off his last team, has a terrible attitude who needs a troublemaker, boring

  19. I don’t understand the fact that people dislike this signing. Sure he is older at 34 and he doesn’t have blazing pace, but he is lightyears ahead in positional awareness and experience then anyone on our backline. He has size and skill to combat with the best forwards in the league. And he has ability to be a target on set pieces. Everything about this signing is good even if his salary is in the 250K-350K$ range. Who are you expecting this team to bring in at this point in pre-season to improve this backline. If he isn’t in the starting 11 on day one I will think it is a massive mistake. This team needs this veteran presence in the back and he needs to start. Let him teach the others that you do not need to just hoof the ball to the other goalkeeper and let him explain how and organized defense can always beat out any striking opposition.

    • I’m with the doctor on this one. Though I think the salary is likely lower than $250, but the point is solid. You have a lot of young defenders and say what you want about Gooch’s age, but the guy had enough quality to make the starting IX in the Championship, Portugal’s Premiera League, the Belgian first division, etc. We don’t need him to start 30+ games. :::knock on wood:::

      I will stop short of saying not having him in the starting XI on opening day is a “massive mistake.” But I’m intrigued by adding him to the squad. Let’s see what he can do before we bury him in charges that he’s too old and hasn’t played in a year+

  20. I would be very happy for this signing were it not for the fact that the man hasn’t played in a year. At age 34, that’s a bit concerning. However, in Earnie we trust, and in this case Jim too — I should think Jim can recognize a good CB. I assume that he will not start, but will be there for red cards, injuries, rests, and as a plan B in case Yaro does too much Silly Rookie Stuff in his sophomore year. Now Ken Tribbett as a SECOND backup CB I am fine with.

  21. Old Soccer Coach says:

    All the comments about various people playing down with the Steel ignore the Steel Signing of Hugh Roberts.
    And, the Onyewu signing suggests the “controlling midfielder” deal’s details may have been finalized. Won’t know, probably ever. But Earnie made move number two before move number one is announced. That makes me think move number. One’s limits are known.

  22. John P. O'Donnell Jr says:

    Can’t wait to see some preseason games to form an opinion. I do remember last year the team was on pace to only allowing a goal a game and then boom the defense looked young when Nogs departed. Should be interesting.

  23. I’m underwhelmed but ok with it. This still walks and quacks like a 6-8th place team, but so be it. Go sign Mix so we can have all he USMNT tweeners!

  24. So funny to read about this poor old timer and the drug -like dreams ignoring his incompetence by the delusional fandom. Yes, he will arise again, All ye faithful, Believe in him as you would believe in his being your salvation. We are the desperate frightened fans, striving to be coherent.

    • Hope springs eternal – remember, everyone is in first place going into opening day!

      Still a little weary of bringing in Gooch. Yes he’s a veteran who has played his whole career in Europe, but he hasn’t had serious minutes in YEARS. Unfortunately, that knee blowout right before 2010 WC really knocked him down. He had a huge ceiling at one point.

      Well, we’ll see. Can an older and wiser Gooch bring back the magic?

  25. The Union with current ownership will NEVER/EVER spend 3, 4/5 million on ANY player ever. Everyone needs to believe this fact. Stop looking for the next BIG signing for any position. With that said they just acquired a veteran defender we desperately need to help our very young, big potential players who can learn to make less mistakes and step to the next level. This appears to be a good balance for the need on defense. The Union will continue this as policy for the club so we need to embrace that direction and support the young blood ES is developing. ** UNION UNION UNION !!!

  26. Union are reported to have signed Haris Medunjanin. Got that midfield signing now. I would think that we are looking at the final roster with maybe another trialist coming on and probably a backup goalie.

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