Roster News

Learn more about Union’s new signing Cory Burke

Photos: Bethlehem Steel FC

The Philadelphia Union have signed Jamaican international attacker Corey Burke from its wholly-owned USL affiliate Bethlehem Steel FC. The announcement was made Thursday, December 21.

He is the first player signed by the first team from the farm team who has no connection to the organization’s academy.

Earnie Stewart: “We are pleased to sign Cory to our First Team and reward his excellent performance with Bethlehem Steel FC. Cory’s success is a testament to the importance of Bethlehem in developing players within our organization. Under Brendan Burke and his staff, Cory has been playing in our system for two years now. We anticipate a successful transition to the Union, and we are looking forward to seeing Cory take the next step in his career.”

Brendan Burke: “We are all very excited for Cory and wish him all the luck as his career progresses, He had an excellent year with Steel FC and Jamaica last year and this promotion is well deserved. I hope that his speed, tireless work rate and willingness to adapt based on the team’s needs will serve the first team as well as he has served Bethlehem over his two years with us.”

Burke is initially expected to take the first team’s third striker slot formerly occupied by Charlie Davies. He will provide greater versatility than Davies did as he also has attacked effectively from the flank, both for Jamaica and the Steel.

He signed during the winter of 2016, and then was injured in training with Jamaica that winter thus delaying his Steel debut and slowing his adaptation to the North American game.

Burke improved explosively in 2017 after some successful appearances for Jamaica because of

  • strong competitive pressure from teammate and fellow striker Seku Conneh,
  • the experience of his 2016 exposure to the Steel and the USL,
  • and through the creative play of Santi Moar and Adam Najem.

Coach Burke brought Burke and Conneh into the season opener April 1 against Rochester early in the second half as a striker-winger combination, and they changed an imminent 2-0 loss into a 2-2 draw, until an at-the-death header won it for the Rhinos.

Burke should pressure Jay Simpson in 2018 in the same fashion that Conneh pressured him last year. He has a weight advantage against defenders of stature less than Oguchi Onyewu, and uses it aggressively and effectively in addition to his other skills.

His departure leaves the 2018 Steel roster at five.  Head coach Brendan Burke’s technical staff has now sent four players to the first team roster in two seasons: Home Grown players Derrick Jones, Auston Trusty and Anthony Fontana in addition to Burke.


  1. I’m happy for Burke, and I’m interested in seeing how he plays against MLS-level competition.
    That said, it’s so Union that they sign Burke (who scored 13 goals over two years) while another MLS team sign a striker who just scored 17 goals in one season to lead his league and who scored 16 and 26 goals in previous seasons…,_born_1990)
    I’ll admit I have no idea if any of his teams/leagues are great, but he has demonstrated production over several years and he is only 1 year older than Burke

    • Eriksson is a DP that the quakes paid 1.2 million euros (about $1.5 million). Burke cost the union nothing. I’m going to guess that Eriksson salary is about 10x what Burke will make. If that is your point, that the Union are cheap, ok.

      I don’t think, however, you can compare Burke to Eriksson. The teams are expecting completely different things from these players. I.E. a DP starter (Eriksson) compared to a third string reserve (Burke).

  2. This is on par with the new beer vendor in 108.

  3. Remember when they gave away Kevin Kratz to Atlanta for nothing?

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