Daily news roundups

Onyewu signed, Union bits, MLSPU statement on travel ban, Expansion Bid Deadline Day, more

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

UPDATE: The Union have announced Medunjanin’s signing.

UPDATE: At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald reports:

The Philadelphia Union look set to add a significant piece to their midfield in the form of Haris Medunjanin, a Bosnian midfielder who’s coming from Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Maccabi announced Medunjanin’s departure Tuesday morning and said he’d be signing a three-year deal in MLS, though the club was not named.

Fox Sports Netherlands and a Bosnian freelance reporter for outlets including ESPN and the Guardian said Philadelphia is the destination.

Stay tuned, folks.

Philadelphia Union

The Union head to Florida today for the start of their preseason training camp in Clearwater. But the big news is the signing of US World Cup veteran center back Oguchi Onyewu.

At Delco Times, Matthew De George reports Onyewu joins the Union “on a one-year deal.”

Jim Curtin said of the signing, “Still a decent age for a center back, 34, ton of experience, a guy who has done it at the highest level in Europe, with our national team. He can sprinkle down some wisdom to our young corps of center backs. The message was, yes that’s part of why he’s being brought here, to help and mentor and coach on the field, but also we want him to push to be a starter.”

Onyewu said in a message on Instagram, “I can’t express the feeling of joy I have as I embark on my new journey with the Philadelphia Union and my first time playing in America. I am beyond motivated and excited for the future ahead.”

Matthew Doyle’s update of the team’s roster status at MLSsoccer.com says:

The only move of the last three weeks for Philly was signing veteran center back Oguchi Onyewu on a free. Gooch hasn’t played regularly since 2014, so this feels very much like a “come here and mentor our young backline” move, rather than “come here and play 2000 minutes.”

The lack of action in terms of signing a No. 6 leads me to believe they’re optimistic about Edu’s return. Fingers crossed.

More on the Onyewu signing at PSP, Philadelphia Union (interview, get to knowhighlights, Philly.com, Delco Times, CSN Philly, Philly Voice, Union Tally, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game (report, reaction), Pattison AveProst AmerikaSection 215Vavel, Philadelphia Sports Nation, MLSsoccer.com, ESPN, Fox Sports, SISoccer America, Goal.com, SBI, Pro Soccer Talk, Last Word on Sports, and the AP.

Curtin says he’s excited as the team heads to Florida: “We have a good young group with a good mix of veterans that can show the way. It’s exciting, the core group of guys has been in two [U.S. Open Cup] finals and a disappointing playoff loss. There’s hunger to take that next step and that next step is the hardest one, it’s a big one…There are 21 other teams that think they have something special too, so I’m not naive. But I really like where our group is at. Everyone is contributing in a real positive way and the locker room is tight. That part of things goes a long way.”

Curtin said of trialists Adam Najem and Fafa Picault at Monday’s training session under The Bubble at Penn, “Picault is in a good situation right now, positive. And Najem has come in each and every training session and done well on the ball. He’s confidence and his goal-scoring record is strong. We’ll have hopefully some final news coming up hopefully in the next couple of days on those guys, but guys who seem they can really contribute.”

Curtin also said the team continues to search for a third goalkeeper: “We were close to signing a third keeper but didn’t pull the trigger.”

Philly.com reports Giliano Wijnaldum was in Chester on Monday to undergo a physical before joining preseason training. Jay Simpson will join the team in Florida.

Keegan Rosenberry rejoined the team on Monday from the USMNT’s January camp to begin preseason training. Rosenberry said of his time with the USMNT, “It was a good experience. I was happy to be out there. Very honored to get the call and to be a part of it. Obviously disappointed not to be involved in the friendlies, but I think they’re in an interesting situation going into March with the friendlies. I just use it as motivation going forward.”

Former Union man Walter Restrepo has re-signed with New York Cosmos, the team he was with before joining the Union.

Philly Sports Network’s look at the Union’s 2017 schedule concludes.

You can purchase the Union’s new secondary jersey at the Union Shop at Talen Energy Stadium on Wednesday. The shop will be open from 3 pm to 8 pm: “Along with the new jersey, deep discounted on 2016 merchandise will be available at the shop.”

Bethlehem Steel

Bethlehem announced two transfer moves on Monday. Union 2017 SuperDraft fourth round pick Santi Moar, a forward, has signed with the team. Moar said in a statement, “When you are playing in college soccer, you always hope that you can become a professional and take that next step and luckily Bethlehem Steel FC gave me this opportunity. I believe Bethlehem will be a great place for me. Coach Burke and (Philadelphia Union Sporting Director) Earnie Stewart have shown great confidence in me and that makes this decision even easier.” He will accompany the Union to preseason training in Clearwater. More at USLsoccer.comPhilly Soccer News and Brotherly Game.

Bethlehem has sold midfielder Boluwatife Akinyode to NASL-side North Carolina FC (home of former Union man Brian Sylvestre) “for an undisclosed transfer fee.” More at USLsoccer.comPhilly Soccer News and Brotherly Game.

Philadelphia Union Academy

Jim Curtin said on Monday that Academy forward Anthony Fontana will be with the Union for preseason training in Florida. Academy goalkeepers Jahmali White and Tomas Romero will also be with the team. Matthew De George reports Justin McMaster and Mark McKenzie also would have accompanied the team but they have been called up for the US U-18 MNT camp.

The second episode of the “Earn Your Place” video series is now available for viewing. Good stuff.


The MLS Players Union has released the following statement on Donald Trump’s travel ban:

We are deeply concerned, both specifically for our players who may be impacted, and more broadly for all people who will suffer as a result of the travel ban implemented on Friday. Details on the practical impact of the ban are still emerging, and we are still sorting through the potential impact on our players and their families. We are extremely disappointed by the ban and feel strongly that it runs counter to the values of inclusiveness that define us as a nation. We are very proud of the constructive and measured manner in which Michael Bradley expressed his feelings on the ban. It is our deepest hope that this type of strong and steady leadership will help to guide us through these difficult times.

More on the statement at ESPN.

Kansas City have signed 24-year-old forward Soony Saad: “Saad, a Lebanese international who previously played for Sporting Kansas City from 2011-2014, has signed a two-year contract through 2018 with an option for 2019.”

Seattle have signed Swedish defensive midfielder Gustav Svensson.

Chicago have signed two 2017 MLS SuperDraft picks, Daniel Johnson and Stefan Cleveland: “Both Johnson and Cleveland are signed for the 2017 season with club options for 2018, 2019 and 2020.”

Florian Jungwirth wants to come to MLS and has been linked to San Jose. Not so fast, says his head coach at Darmstadt, Torsten “Handball!” Frings.

MLS is expected to announce today Chicago’s Soldier Field as the site of this year’s ALl-Star Game. You can watch a livestream of the announcement at 2:30 pm.

At MLSsoccer.com, what the change to the CONCACAF Champions League format means for MLS teams.

Goal.com on the changes this season to the league’s schedule of nationally broadcast games.

Expansion Bid Deadline Day

Today is the deadline for applications for the next round of MLS expansion spots, of which there are four remaining, with two to debut in 2020, and two to debut in 2024. And on the heel of the news last week that Phoenix would be making an expansion bid comes word that NASL-side Indy Eleven are also making a bid, bringing the number of announced bids to 12, and that the Charlotte bid is going forward despite the city of Charlotte withdrawing support last week. Here are some expansion updates:

Indianapolis: SI reports Indy Eleven have confirmed they will submit an expansion bid that includes a plan to build a new stadium with a combination of public and private funding. According to the report, team president Jeff Belskus says he ” and his unnamed partners would be kicking in a ‘significant amount of private money.'”  More at Indy Star, Indianapolis Business Journal, 6abcWTHR, WTTV, and Fox 59.

Charlotte: Charlotte Business Journal reports the Charlotte bid will go ahead. The person leading the Charlotte bid, Marcus Smith “told CBJ on Monday that MLS granted an extension allowing for additional time for City Council to consider taking a longer look at a possible stadium investment.” More at Charlotte Five and WSOC.

Detroit: Detroit Free Press reports the Detroit ownership group will submit a proposal to purchase the site of an uncompleted county jail that is their preferred downtown location for a stadium. The group behind the Detroit bid say they will submit their application in time for today’s deadline. More at Detroit Free Press (1, 2, 3), Michigan Live, CBS Detroit.

Nashville: The Tennessean reports Nashville mayor Megan Barry “hopes to finalize a funding proposal for a new Major League Soccer stadium at The Fairgrounds Nashville by the end of June…Barry has said she’s seeking a ‘private-public partnership’ for a new MLS stadium.” Barry will accompany the ownership group behind the Nashville push when they submit their bid today in New York. More at Nashville Business Journal.

Sacramento: Sacramento Business Journal reports, “Club president Warren Smith said the team is submitting a formal version of what the Republic and MLS brass have been discussing for years.”

St. Louis: St. Louis Business Journal reports, “A special meeting of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Monday saw lawmakers get closer to putting a sales tax hike and Major League Soccer stadium funding questions on the April ballot.” More at St. Louis Business Journal, and Fox 2.

San Diego: San Diego Business Journal reports, “Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president of the Spanish-language Univision Deportes, has joined the investment group looking to bring a new Major League Soccer team to San Diego.” The San Diego bid was submitted on Monday. More at San Diego Union-TribuneTimes of San Diego, abc10, Fox 5, and the AP.

Tampa Bay: A delegation led by Tampa Bay Rowdies owner Bill Edwards delivered their application to MLS headquarters in New York on Monday. More at Tampa Bay Business JournalTampa Bay TimesBay News 9, and SaintPetersBlog.

Other cities reportedly in the running to make an expansion bid include Cincinnati, Raleigh/Durham (NASL-side North Carolina FC), and San Antonio.

The Guardian on why some cities are questioning the use of public funds to finance the construction of expansion stadiums.


Former Philadelphia Independence head coach Paul Riley has been named head coach of new NWSL side North Carolina Courage. More at WRAL.


More on the USMNT’s draw with Serbia at SI and ASN.


The latest from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on World Cup expansion:

The expansion from 32 to 48 teams is proper nonsense. At the moment we have a format everybody is happy with — not only us in Germany.

The only ones who weren’t happy were the Asians, and especially the Africans, who believed, and still believe, they should be entitled to more participants.

Where they get this belief from I do not know – everyone should earn their right to play.

What’s happening behind the scenes — specifically the haggling and squabbling for extra places in Europe, Asia, Africa Oceania and South America — is unworthy of football.

Ok, now tell us what you really think, Herr Rummenigge.

Transfer Deadline Day!


  1. Yup. He’s already a philly player as per Wikipedia. Bosnian and Dutch and started at AZ

    Tannenwald just retweeted St. Pauli which translated says “Subject to the medical check, #Picault is changing to Major League Soccer at Philadelphia Union with immediate effect”

    • Nice. Our depth is looking pretty legit this year. Should have no shortage of options. Hopefully Curtin can rotate the squad a little more. Also a pretty good blend of young and vets too.

    • Also noted that his contract has be mutually terminated so it seems like no transfer fee for either signing was needed. Shrewd moves by Earnie.

  3. I Am Citizen Insane says:

    Been following story on Twitter…. apropos would be having this Thievery Inc jam on the radio for the news…..of a Maccabi Tel Aviv player heading to the us.
    Hopefully no trouble at the airport for him.

  4. Medunjanin is coming in on TAM. So, just to play the optimist, that still leaves 1 DP slot, I believe.
    Not that I expect we’ll use it, but it’s still there.

  5. John P. O'Donnell Jr says:

    Watching his highlights on YouTube, he’s dangerous from 20 yards out in the run of play. Of course he’s not a DP, so I imagine he doesn’t excite anybody and this will be a complete failure. Should be some interesting opinions to read later on.

    • Kevin Kinkead tweet: Medujanin is basically… think of a bigger Nogueira who likes to get forward a little bit more

      • Saw that, and that description has me very excited about his prospects.
        I believe our collapse last year was mostly due to Nogs’ departure (no ill will towards him, but I think it was the main reason). So if you tell me that we are replacing him with a better version of Nogs…yeah…that will be just fine…

  6. So the Union as of today have signed in the off season:

    Jay Simpson — FW
    Wjinaldum — LB
    Fafa Picault — FW/MF wing
    Gooch — CB
    Medunjanin — MF

    Not a bad bit of business in the last month, eh?

  7. Does anyone know if there is green card movement since I’m assuming Medunjanin is taking up an international spot?

  8. Saw a picture of Ilsinho on twitter too and he is looking pretty trim (as was also reported by the beat writers). Along with his stated desire to raise his family in the US I think we may have ourselves a motivated player. Would be great because he clearly has a ton of talent.

  9. On a related note I have to assume Trusty, Jones and Ayuk are all destined for The Steel, Najem will probably bounce up and down as well . . . so they should be pretty competitive this year!

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