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Philadelphia Union and head coach Jim Curtin agree on contract extension

Photo: Earl Gardner

The longest-tenured manager in Philadelphia Union club history won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

The Union announced Wednesday afternoon that head coach Jim Curtin has been signed to a two year contract extension to keep the 40-year-old manager in Philadelphia at least through the 2021 season.

After previously signing a one-year deal last November, the new agreement comes in the midst of a franchise-best season. Curtin has the Union sitting at the top of MLS’ Eastern Conference with 36 points through 21 games and a 10-5-6 record.

“Since I have arrived in Philadelphia, I have observed first-hand Jim’s ability to lead our team , and I am pleased to continue our relationship with this prolongation of his contract,” said Union sporting director Ernst Tanner in a club release. “A top young coach in our league, I am confident he is the right person to continue toward achieving our club’s objectives, which include both winning trophies and being the MLS leader in the development of young players.”

Curtin, an Oreland, Pa. product and Villanova graduate, joined the Union organization as a coach in the club’s academy system in 2010 following a career totaling 172 MLS appearances for Chicago Fire and Chivas USA. He was then named a first-team assistant coach for the 2013 season and was named interim head coach following the dismissal of John Hackworth in the midst of the 2014 season.

Prior to this year’s performance, Curtin’s high water marks have come in the U.S. Open Cup. Despite appearances in the competition’s final in 2014, 2015 and 2018, the Union finished as “runners-up” in all three matches. Curtin’s Union teams have made two appearances in the MLS playoffs, losing in the first round in both 2016 and 2018.

With the contract extension signed, Philadelphia will look to parlay this season’s success into their first-ever playoff win.

They’ll be back in action this Saturday as they travel to Utah, where Curtin will be looking to add to his franchise-best 64 wins in a matchup with against Real Salt Lake.


  1. I’m okay with this move. Jim has gotten the most out of this roster so far this season, despite Marco and Sergio underperforming expectations.

  2. I was beating the drum for his removal the last two years, but have to admit I think he’s earned the extension. Glad to be wrong and hope he continues to improve.

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    As a Curtin critic for the past two seasons or so, I am very ok with him staying on. He has earned it. I hope he learns squad rotation, because other than that, he has shown his ability to adapt, learn, and get better. Congrats Jim!

  4. The Chopper says:

    Tanner has had no problem moving on from mistakes of the past. If sees fit to extend Curtin, I’m all for it.

  5. Bring Steel Back to Bethlehem says:

    I love Jim’s turn from goat to hero, but I would have waited a few more weeks.

    • agreed. i honestly don’t understand a midseason extension for a coach who has openly said he can’t imagine coaching anywhere else. has he silenced critics? surely. has he earned an extension before a playoff win? i don’t think so.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      While he would not be a candidate for major overseas leagues that retool over the summer, he might have been for lesser ones, to say nothing of MLS itself.

    • pragmatist says:

      You get it over with early so that there are no distractions during the playoff stretch. He’s not coaching for his job, the players aren’t constantly being asked about it, he’s not being asked about it. You just focus on playing.
      It’s 2 years. If it backfires, it’s easy for ownership (even this ownership) to swallow it and move on.

  6. Congrats Jim, you earned it.

  7. Re-DOOPED that man’s contract. Well done Jim! #Muchdeserved

  8. In Tanner We Trust says:

    I remember someone on this site wrote an open letter of apology a few months ago. I second that. I’d love more roster rotation for fatigue sake, but wow Curtin has been so great this year. Continuously pulling all the right strings and giving his players a chance to play to their strengths. Congrats Coach!! And sorry

  9. Congrats, Jim. Well-earned.

  10. The Truth says:

    Earned it. Let’s see what happens.

  11. It’s a good sign to do it now. And well deserved. He has been better than last year and has proven he can improve and keeps improving. Good luck moving forward Mr.Curtin!

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