Union sign Bosnian midfielder Haris Medunjanin

Photo: Courtesy of Maccabi Tel Aviv

Philadelphia Union announced on Tuesday the signing of Bosnia and Herzegovina international midfielder Haris Medunjanin “using Targeted Allocation Money to a two year deal with an option in the third year.”

The left-footed 31-year-old central midfielder, who comes to the Union from Maccabi Tel Aviv, has experience in both attacking and defensive midfield roles.

Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart said in a statement, “We are extremely happy to add a player of Haris’ caliber. Having played at the highest levels of our game, be brings both quality and experience to our midfield. We’re anxious for Haris to join our group as we continue to prepare for the start of the season.”

Stewart will be familiar with Medunjanin from his time with AZ Alkmaar, where Medunjanin played with the club’s U-21 team before joining the senior squad in January of 2005. In July of 2006, he was loaned to Sparta Rotterdam before returning to AZ a year later. In August of 2008, he joined Real Valladolid on what reports was a transfer fee of €450,000 with a market value of €1.25 million. In July of 2010 he was valued at €2.6 million when Maccabi Tel Aviv paid €2 million transfer fee. He began a two-year stint on loan with Turkish side Gaziantepspor in August of 2012 before signing with the club. In August of 2014 he joined Deportivo De La Coruna on a free transfer when he was at his highest market value at €3 million, returning to Maccabi Tel Aviv on a free transfer in January of 2016.

Medunjanin has 282 professional appearances in all competitions since 2005, scoring 46 goals with 36 assists.

He made his national team debut for Bosnia and Herzegovina in November of 2009, scoring 8 goals while earning 55 caps, including two appearances at the 2014 World Cup. He last appeared for Bosnia in the 2-0 win over Cyprus in a World Cup qualifier on October 10, 2016.

Medunjanin also played for the Netherlands U-21 team, helping to win the U-21 European Championship in 2006 and 2007. ESPN reported in 2009 that Medunjanin, then 24, “fled the war in Bosnia to the Netherlands with his mother and sister in 1992…His father was unable to leave with them and was later killed in the 1992-95 conflict.”

In an announcement on the Maccabi Tel Aviv website, Medunjanin thanked the club for allowing him to leave the team early despite having five months left on his contract. Team Sports Director Jordi Cruyff said in the announcement, “At the beginning of the transfer period, Haris asked us for permission to leave and accept a three-year-deal at the MLS. We granted him permission as we understood that receiving such an offer at this stage of his career is a great opportunity and therefore didn’t want to stand in his way. We would like to thank Haris for his professionalism as he remained with us till the end of the transfer period, and  thank him for his contribution to Maccabi both on and off the pitch. We wish him all the best in the future.”

News of the signing was first reported on by


  1. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    Amazing that this player was able to flourish in his career and escape the atrocities of war because a foreign country allowed him to escape his own in the midst of a civil war…..

  2. Sounds like a good signing.

    As usual, Union do the bulk of their off-season deals in mid-to-late Jan which makes all of the hysterics and bloviation that occured on PSP in Nov/Dec seem even sillier.

    • It’s the internet. What do you expect? 😉

      • True, but I always have higher standards for PSP due to the many intelligent people that post here every day.

        Plus, I always relish the opportunity to use any form of the word “bloviate” that I can.

      • I agree. But even the intelligent people have trouble remaining patient in many scenarios. We just have to wait for the annual Panic Period to pass, and then we can all calmly assess.
        We’ve reached that point. We have the players, and they are about to hit the ground in Clearwater. Let’s see what we have, shall we?

      • Agreed, my mantra has been “Earnie knows best”.

      • If this place had a weather man, “calm” would n-e-v-e-r be in the forecast.

      • I expect sound reason and measured debate, of course. Probably explains why I’m often disappointed…

  3. Seems like a quality signing, however I’ve never seen him actually play from what I remember. Although the times I’ve seen the Bosnia and Herzegovina NT they are very organized and tough to play so I feel like the bodes well for playing in this league and with this team. I do also hope that everyone on this roster can also make it in to the country.

  4. yes! i was genuinely excited yesterday. today, let’s get it started!

  5. Bosnian who fled the war in the 90s probably means he is Muslim. I hope Fuhrer Trump lets him in…

    • Brian Lafeve says:

      A lot of Muslim majority countries not on that travel ban. Get your facts straight.

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        But no non-muslim majority countries on the travel ban…..

      • Of course the counties who have supplied the terrorists that have attacked us are not on the list. Surprisingly those counties also are places where our President has investments.

      • Not on the list because possible quid pro quo with those countries to open safe zones. Little deal in the middle east like obama and bush use to do.

      • you mean when obama was arming ai kida i syria or gangs in mexico?

      • Hey man, I’m not saying those other guys did a good or even ok job. Clearly things are terrible over there. That’s doesn’t change anything about the current ban.

      • fair enough

      • azogD'filer says:

        The fact is, “Fuhrer Trump” is an asshole

      • please keep to soccer, your mixing politics with the ‘beautiful game’ is degrading to the game. If you must blog on policy/politics due it on political sites, and due yourself a favor and get your facts straight before you embarrass yourself like you just did. Comparing the President who just delayed a couple hundred people, from their connecting flights for a couple hours (to keep you safe), to a genocidal dictator who killed tens of millions of innocent people is just plain sad… so very sad. Keep it off this site.

      • No. Trump is an embarrassment. It should be pointed out as often as necessary, wherever it’s necessary.

        I’m sorry free speech means you have to hear things you don’t like.

      • +1. Hitler wasn’t a genocidal dictator after 2 weeks either.

      • Keep politics out of the beautiful game and off this site… go hide behind your keyboard and pretend to be someone on the political sites, lemming

      • Why insult people when you are doing the exact same thing?

      • All I said was keep politics off this site. If you consider calling you a lemming insulting, so be it, I’m just stating a fact, not insulting you, if you find it insulting then maybe learn to think for yourself!!!

      • Yes, actually lemming is incredibly insulting to me because I pride myself on thinking for myself. I’m not exactly sure how anything I have ever expressed on this site could make me a lemming. I am also not the one spewing out a talking point.
        I would also like you point out your response included much more than to just “keep politics off this site”. And if you don’t think politics and sports mix you haven’t looked close.

      • I welcome soccer talk and respect and enjoy ‘your opinion’ as I do all others too. I’ll repeat myself, keep this blog for soccer, NOT POLITICS and if you choose to go political, go to CNN=Clinton News Network and blog away with all your like minded trolls, just leave this great site for ‘Soccer Only’, Thnx.

      • Sometimes worlds and topics collide. That’s just the way it is. I will never be the one to start up political topics here but I without a doubt will respond to them. Which you do as well, even as you rail against this place getting political.
        I would like to thank you for your insults and assumptions about me. Not sure why you think I would want to discuss my leaning with “like minded trolls” though. That seems to be your priority. I’m sorry I invaded you safe space.

      • Us Us Us & Them Them Them.
        Ethnocentrist Worldview.
        Careful Careful BQ.
        Elevate from the Green.

  6. We danced around the ring and supposed. But the secret sat in the middle and knowed.
    Now we know.
    Addendum to the Dan Walsh article. Off season: COMPLETE.
    Twitter leads me to believe this is a quality piece of scouting and work by the Sporting Director. Big strong, quick, incisive, lethal left foot. Metronome. A perfect Union type signing…. hopefully in three years we rue his departure.
    PLAY WELL first. I am excited. If this guy provides the trademark of Noguiera and controls the play, yet is able to late run… I’ll be as Ozzy sang– “Flying High Again.”
    Well done….U. Good luck in Florida and we’ll be here waiting to get after it in about 6 weeks.

  7. Hopefully another piece in the puzzle filled in. I still see a lack of quality scoring options, but time will tell.

    This is a veteran team, with a fair amount of international experience. So, theoretically it should have relatively high soccer IQ mixed in with some young talent. Let’s see what Curtiin can do with it.

      We weren’t really that bad in scoring last year, even with CJ doing nothing for the last 3 months. What we need is service, and the goals will return. It appears this has been addressed.
      Who knows? But we’re not starting at a bad spot from that perspective.

      • I think we have scorers on this team. Alberg is a pure scorer. Pontius is a scorer. I would expect more from Ilsinho and Herbers this year. Bedoya will be good for a few goals and I would think that the Edu/Medunjanin combo will chip in more than our combined 8/6 positions did last year. Now that of course leaves the forwards, but with 3 capable forwards we should be able to play math-ups/in-form players more this year.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        And Simpson was brought in to be, and has a track record of being (albeit with some limitations RE: the competition) – a pure scorer. I don’t think scoring will be a big problem

      • The Chopper says:

        I think you are right there is good committee for secondary production. However, often that secondary production comes from having a true bona fide finisher up top. That I think we lack.

      • Fair enough. I guess I’m just hopeful that the new additions will allow us to get better service in and I’m hopeful that Simpson will be better than Sapong was last year.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I concur in that we lack that one guaranteed guy, but so do a lot of teams. I feel like the Union mantra for many years to come – especially under ES – is going to be to get as many 2nd/3rd level type players together and hope one shines. Since they’ll prolly never spend on the guaranteed commodity, they need to gather as much of the highest level talent they can afford, and hope the lottery ticket hits. It’s a great salary cap style business model but it doesn’t always work. For now, I am ok with the gather and hope method – as long as it’s being run by a guy like ES. I do wish the team would spend on that one guy though.

      • azogD'filer says:

        They did, on Bedoya and I think that broke the Union bank….

  8. Say it again! In Earnie We Trust!

  9. Sretno, Haris! (Having no idea how else to do it, I needed to Google the Bosnian for “Good Luck!”) I am intrigued by both this signing and Gooch. I note that this year’s team seems specifically designed to bring up the average age of the players on the field also. So far, Earnie has been bringing in solid, reliable types. I hope that this works out as well.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      What is nice is that this team is filling it’s needs. It remains to be seen if the players work out of course, but the fact that positions of need were identified, and have been filled, is (kind of sad to say) a huge step forward.
      Too many off-seasons of knowing what we need and not getting it.

  10. Hey, a signing I can 100% get behind! These are the types of moves I’ve been expecting from the exalted Earnie. Start him and Bedoya in the center mid until Edu get back, then slot in Edu and push up Bedoya. Perfect opportunity to nail C+C to the bench!

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      A Bedoya, Medunjanin, Alberg, Edu midfield is pretty damn solid. And with The Music Factory on the bench as backups, it’s decent depth as well.
      With this signing, I am really looking forward to this year.

      • So I look at this and I agree but then I think okay where do Pontius, Herbers and Ilsinho fit. To me it could be intriguing to play Medunjanin and Edu Bedoya on the right Pontius on the left. Simpson and Alberg up front. Off the bench you got Sapong, Herbers, Ilsinho, Carroll, Davies,Picault (if signed). This could be a very interesting set of players the Union have on the roster the issue is how they all fit and can Curtin learn to manage them so they rotate in and out of the lineup.

      • Something tells me- AND I HOPE I AM 100% WRONG – that we’ll be talking about Curtin’s managing a lot AGAIN this season.

      • With this many pieces and his track record I’m a little concerned about rotation and in game adjustments. But hope springs eternal in that having more pieces maybe makes it a more obvious choice to shake it up when it plain ain’t working.

      • Hopefully we will be talking positively this time! This really is the first chance he’s got with legit choices at different positions. Of course injuries will force some things but there shouldn’t really be any excuses this year.

      • 4-4-2 NICE! Been thinking for a while they don’t a single striker strong enough to be solo. Maybe this is the answer. It also allows Herbers to slot in up top as a sub without being only striker.

    • Can’t agree more on the signing and it being of the type I expect from Stewart. Much happier today.

  11. I understand we’re in trying times, but can we leave the politics off this board, please? I get pissed off enough when I open Facebook or Twitter. Please don’t ruin PSP for me, too.
    An Annoyed Citizen

    • Prag, you have a scroll wheel.
      Going to bed in America one day and waking up to 1938 Germany the next has been a surreal experience. Especially when one’s family members are on the side of the Nazis. Being able to see not all have fallen to the hate mongers and blame pointers to those of darker skin tone, is a relief when stuck behind enemy lines.
      Politics is the only sport that matters. Everything else is a distraction.

      • This is my distraction.
        I guess I’ll just skip the comment section of all the articles until sometime around March. Maybe things will settle down by then and we can all get back to be snarky about irrelevant crap.

      • You have no clue what nazi germany is.
        Before trump was elected US killed 20 mil people around the world since 1945. In contrast hitler killed 11 mil.
        If we did not bomb hell out of middle east there would be no refuges crasis.

      • John P. O'Donnell Jr says:


      • Please tell me another story daddy.

      • FWIW – Climate change and the migration from rural areas into cities which cannot handle the additional population has been a huge factor in this. This has just as much to do with the mass migration that is occurring worldwide as the US policy in the Middle East.

      • +1. and it’s only going to get worse.

      • you telling me that they are moving because average temperature on earth has increased by 1.4°F since 1880?

      • No because their country is in massive drought. Which is going to happen around the world near the equator if things keep up the current pace. Think dust bowl US during the great depression level around the world at the equator.

      • Believe what you want to believe, it’s your life.

      • So tell me what % of people leaving because of war and what % because of drought

      • If you actually listen to the military you would know that the drought has been a major player in the causes of the war. Clearly people are leaving because of the war, but to ignore the fact that a massive years long drought has greatly contributed to the unrest in the area is just ignorant.

      • drought is small factor i agree with that.

  12. Sorry pragmatist – Your annoyance shouldn’t stop people from posting what they feel, so deal with it. Count me as one who likes this signing, and agree with all who say that needs have been identified (and they were the right ones) and filled. Too early to say, but very happy with Earnie’s moves so far. For those who know, is Picault mainly a wing player?

  13. They have come a very long way from Danny Cruz
    Thank God
    I still see the need for a backup goalie. If we’re going to assume Blake out on int’l duty for 3-8 games, I’d like at least a CHANCE at scraping a few points out of that gap. I do not believe JMac gives them any chance at all. None.

    • I remember the first games I went to and watching Danny Cruz and wondering if the league was actually improving or if the U just sucked at roster building. He really crystallized a lot of my concerns about how soccer was being played and taught in the US.

      As good as the signings have been, and they have been impressive on paper, the fact the academy is producing players is much more important to me. Hopefully they are getting the quality instruction and training to start pushing out technically skilled players and not just try-hards.

    • I agree that we NEED another GK. But that’s probably about it. It’s a nice place to be.

  14. Kind of funny how we need a third keeper….We used to have like 6!! Oh how the wheel turns! I was thinking that the improvement on the defense would help John Mac in the long run. Great couple of weeks for the U!!

  15. Haris Medunjanin is One of the best players in the middle field. he Know how to manage the game wisely, has a passes precision and powerful kicks. Since he returned to Maccabi Tel Aviv he managed every game in an unusual and wisely way. Maccabi Tel Aviv is built on powerful offens and less on defense, and one of the problems were with haris is that he was slowing our offens. haris is not fast but he is a high level player and as Maccabi Tel Aviv fan that have seen all the games he played for Maccabi Tel Aviv i promise you that its a great sign for your team and you will enjoy allmost everygame he will play.

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