Roster News

Union sign Fabrice “Fafa” Picault

Photo: Courtesy of St. Pauli

Philadelphia Union announced on Thursday the signing of US international winger Fabrice “Fafà” Picault. He joins the club as a Discovery signing won a one year deal, with club options for two additional years.

Picault, who was born in New York City but calls Miami his hometown, began the Union’s preseason as a trialist with the team.

Union sporting director Earnie Stewart said in a statement, “We are excited to bring Fafa to our club for the 2017 season. He provides depth for us and brings a lot of excitement with his speed and ability to move up and down the pitch.”

Picault comes to Philadelphia from 2. Bundesliga side St. Pauli, who announced the move to the Union on Tuesday afternoon. German news outlet Bild first broke the news of the Union’s interest in the 25-year-old a little more than a week ago, reporting he had fallen out of favor at St. Pauli due to “lack of fitness and attitude.” Despite being under contract with the team until through June of 2018, he was exempted from training with the German club and given permission to find a new team. The St. Pauli announcement describes Picault’s departure as amicable.

Picault’s youth career includes six years with Italian side Cagliari. He made his professional debut with NASL-side Tampa Bay Rowdies in May of 2012 but was released at the end of the season. In 2014 he joined NASL-side Fort Lauderdale Strikers where he scored 12 goals in 24 appearances, followed by a six-month stint with Sparta Prague before joining St. Pauli in September of 2015. In all, he has 16 goals in 64 appearances as a professional.

A dual Haiti and U.S. national, Picault earned his first, and so far only, cap for the USMNT in the friendly against Puerto Rico last May. Then USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said of Picault, “That kid is a fighter,” adding, “Fafa is a hungry goal-scorer. He’s hungry for goals, he’s hungry taking on people, he has speed obviously. He’s not the player that you play long balls and do these type of things, but he’s quick, he smells where the ball goes, so he has a good instinct. These are things that are difficult to teach.”

With Picault’s signing, the Union now have eight players on the roster who have been capped by the USMNT: Picault, Alejandro Bedoya, Brian Carroll, Charlie Davies, Maurice Edu, Oguchi Onyewu, Chris Pontius, and CJ Sapong.


  1. i love you earnie!!!!

  2. *shrugs*
    Looks like a reclamation case.

    • So was Pontius…

      • +1. Buy low, sell high. Earnie was tremendous at this type of thing at AZ.
        But for Fafa himself, lets give him every chance to prove himself and earn minutes. Considering the wings are pretty loaded already, he’s got very little pressure to come in and perform immediately.

      • I think Pontius was medium risk/medium reward. He was a “high” salary when you look at the U, but pre-injury was a proven MLS guy.
        I think Earnie will look for value where other’s don’t or won’t. If Fafa was a proven guy that St Pauli wanted, well he wouldn’t be free.

      • One potential positive here: German managers are quick to write off players and not give them a chance to redeem themselves. It’s a cultural thing and maybe Fafa rubbed the manager the wrong way and it was over for him. I don’t know anything about his situation at St. Pauli, but maybe them letting him go for free isn’t a reflection of his talent or potential.
        I may just be hoping here, but now is the time for hope.

  3. Welcome Fafa! Perfect opportunity to take the next step. Get to work!

  4. One left.
    Let’s see how the rest of them all look on the field now. Get to Clearwater and get some games together. It’s good work by Earnie, on paper, but the games aren’t on paper. (I’m full of cliches today.)
    All of the signings have high upsides. But they also all have red flags. Let’s hope Jim and the holdovers can pull the best out of these guys. There are good reasons to be excited this year. But we found out last year how quickly that can go away. The time to turn the corner as a franchise has arrived.

  5. Does anyone really think Jim Curtin has the wherewithall to use all these supposed diamonds in the rough that Earnie’s gotten him? He’ll be playing a 4-2-3-1 with CJ up top and Creavalle protecting the back 4…

    • hahaha no way you really think this

      • I’ll be completely shocked if he DOESN’T run out a lone striker formation. I’ll be further shocked if anyone but WC or BC starts at the 8. Edu isn’t healthy and Curtin isn’t flexible. I don’t think it’s very funny having a coach that failed to innovate in the failing last months of last season. Lone striker, out of position 10, out of fitness 6, unhealthy 8 – that is our spine at this moment. The only saving graces of that unproven, untested, hopeful spine is that CJ has likely been relegated to the pine.
        By midseason Gooch will have hopefully whipped our backline into shape, Edu has come back strong, Haris has realized MLS isn’t a cakewalk, Bedoya has accepted his position, and someone is scoring goals.
        I sound pretty pessimistic but I think I’m making sense.

      • they will almost certainly run with a lone striker but that in itself isn’t any kind of problem. i think the idea is that they acquire the players they do with a formation and a style of play in mind. i agree that in the early part of the season it might take some time to get everyone fit and on the same page, but that is to be expected. there isn’t a ton curtin can do to make that happen instantaneously. i was responding to the implied idea that curtin wasn’t going to play any of the new guys because he stubbornly just wants to play all the same guys we had last season. that idea is ridiculous and i have a hard time believing anyone really thinks that would happen

      • Almost all of the players he could have been flexible with are either off the team (to a lower division) or are still too young to start. Honestly who was he supposed to rotate in last year? This year will definitely be a different story because we have the pieces, but I think people are being too negative about the whole situation.

      • Curtin could go undefeated and Ben would still complain about him. He has an unhealthy hatred for him.

  6. I like that Ernie is striving for internationals. This team is in need for true wingers. Hopefully they will try picault on the flank. If Curtin continues to be stubborn with the 4 2 3 1 and doesn’t try to implement a 4 4 2 system when needed it will be a mistake. It is clear sapong has not had success as a lone striker. He needs help. Simpson and Sapong up top? Intriguing.

    • Will be interesting to see. Although we seemed fine with a lone striker when we had Nogs so I’m not sure that is the issue. I think the shape just feel apart with the losses in the midfield last year. Not that I wouldn’t like us to be a little more flexible.
      Fafa is super interesting to me, even if just as a super-sub, because he brings blinding speed that this team sorely lacked. Not that speed is everything, but it can mask a lot of other issues and force the other team to stay honest.

  7. Fafa to Ayuk: Cash me outside, how bout dat

  8. We see how a change of scenery can affect athletes all the time. They get stale or don’t fit the locker room dynamic. My hope is they had conversations with all the new guys and that everyone is on the same page. ES seems to be pretty good at this type of thing. Glass half full, pendulum on the up-swing,….Let’s go Union!!

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