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Cory Burke out at least three months due to visa complications

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union will be without forward Cory Burke for at least three months due to visa complications.

“Cory is down in Jamaica to do his visa and green card process,” Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner said to the assembled media during Friday’s training session.

“It turned out he will not be coming back before three months, maybe even longer.” Tanner continued, “He lost his P1 status. That’s a problem. He’ll need to reapply for it.”

Burke was in the midst of his second season with Philadelphia after previously spending time with the Union’s USL affiliate, Bethlehem Steel. In his debut season, the Jamaican international tallied a team-high 10 goals. This year, the 27-year-old has scored twice in seven appearances while fighting for time in a crowded forward field.

“It’s a little bit unlucky, and I feel very sorry for the boy,” said Tanner. “With these processes you don’t have everything in control.”

The P1 visa is a United States specialty visa offered exclusively to internationally-recognized athletes, coaches, or entertainers. Generally, it lasts the duration of the recipient’s time in the U.S. with a maximum length of five years— extensions can lengthen the stay to 10 years.

It’s unclear if Burke’s visa was revoked or expired. Tanner clarified Burke committed no crimes or misdeeds that could’ve led to the revocation.

“We expected him to be back having his green card and something happened,” Tanner told the reporting pool. “Then we got the news. We got it exactly on Wednesday, but we need to clarify exactly what is going on.”

The German-born Sporting Director offered hints of frustration, half-joking about the confusion. “Don’t ask me because I don’t know how that can happen,” Tanner answered when questioned about how this came to be.  “We don’t have green cards in Europe.”

In the short-term, Tanner said there is the possibility of Burke being loaned to a Jamaican side to maintain match fitness, but that requires a conversation with MLS.

Long-term, Tanner was clear.

“We will have him back. That’s for sure. The matter of time is the question.”

The Union also indicated that backup goalkeeper Matt Freese will miss four-to-six weeks with a torn oblique muscle, suffered in the first half of the match against FC Cincinnati. With Andre Burke still short of full fitness, the Union signed MLS pool goalkeeper Charlie Lyon to back up Carlos Miguel Coronel.


  1. 50/50 odds someone forgot to send a mundane piece of paperwork in and now everyone is scrambling covering their ass and going who could have seen this coming?

  2. Zizouisgod says:

    I blame Baron Trump. He just hated seeing the Union at the top of the table over his beloved DC United and had Dad pull some strings.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    I wonder how this affects his status playing with Jamaica for the Gold Cup. Will he be able to play Jamaica’s first game in Kingston and then be out for the rest of the tournament?

    • Nick Fishman says:

      I saw someone say the processes are unrelated so he should be eligible to play for Jamaica in the Gold Cup.

  4. There’s responsibilities to Burke, his manager (if applicable) and the team to make sure this doesn’t happen. With redundancies, this likely would have been prevented. Shocked, but then I see this happen often to professional music acts as well. I’m sure the process is convoluted and it’s amazing we don’t hear about it more often in the sports landscape.

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      I agree with this. The goalposts have changed from an immigration standpoint with every type of visa, and this kind of mix up is more common than most people know. It’s entirely possible all of these bases were covered and his was still denied entry. That wouldn’t be a first either.

  5. Thepastisthepresent says:

    Free Keon!

  6. This is some bizarre news.

    Bummer for Burke. Guess Kacper’s gonna get a while to show us these last 2 matches weren’t a fluke. Also, glad Santos is finally coming back.

  7. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Tanner having so many strikers is providential.

  8. SilverRey says:

    I have no idea how many people MLS has devoted to dealing with visas/green cards for their players, but considering how many internationals teams have these days it seems like they should have a whole division at MLS HQ to make sure things run smoothly.
    Time to add another line to the CBA negotiations.

  9. Vince Devine says:

    Either someone’s not telling the full story or someone seriously screwed up. I don’t ever remember hearing of this happening before and with all the foreign players in hockey, baseball, and soccer for Corey to be the only one to have issues seems odd.

  10. Depth is good.
    Moving on.

  11. Atomic Spartan says:

    Note to the FO: Better retain a good immigration attorney. We don’t want to lose Ernst or Fabian or Kacper or Monteiro to some Trumped-up regs or backlog.

    • Lol! Nice one! Always a pleasure to read from the word twisting masters! And as I wipe away the tears of laughter I sober up at the thought you are so right!

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