USL - Philadelphia Union II

Bethlehem announces 2020 roster status

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Bethlehem Steel FC announced the 2020 roster status of its 2019 players on Wednesday.

The departures
  • James Chambers’ option for 2020 was declined. The last Bethlehem original is gone.
  • Faris is out of contract and will become a free agent.
  • Chavany Willis’s rights have reverted to Portmore United of the Jamaican first division.
The returnees

These contracts are guaranteed for 2020.

  • Midfielder Selmir Miscic
  • Midfielder Issa Rayyan
  • Striker Shanyder Borgelin
  • Center back Ben Ofeimu

These options have been exercised.

  • Midfielder Zach Zandi.
  • Goalkeeper Todd Morton
  • Striker Yomi Scintu
The probables

These players will return pending successful accumulation of government and federation paperwork of various kinds. Whether they continue as loaned players or become outright signings is not clear.

  • Center back Jamoi Topey
  • Center back Steve Kingue
  • Striker Saed Diaz

Walter Cortes’s status remains in negotiation.

A positional depth chart suggests that Academy right back Nate Harriel will be signed, and it makes it likely that Academy midfielder Axel Picazo will be as well.

At the moment three first-teamers, Cole Turner, Jack de Vreis, and Matt Freese, seem likely to get substantial game minutes with Bethlehem next year.

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Four points

The average age of Bethlehem’s squad, including the other three Academy players who saw non-cameo pitch time, is 19.4 years old.

The departure of Chambers, together with that of Haris Medunjanin earlier, removes both deep-lying long-range professional offensive distributors from the organization. Pending further acquisitions, the best such distributors now reside at center back, Jack Elliott with the first-team and Topey with Steel.

Finding a two-way defensive center mid capable of playing alone at the base of the diamond is a tall order for the first team. Finding one for Bethlehem will be even more challenging.

Faris’s departure sends a message to others that development is a finite process. If after 12-24 months, players do not show that they belong with the first team, opportunity will move on to someone else who might. Potential takes players only so far.


The future shape of player development for MLS clubs in USL is uncertain. The old agreement between the two organizations has expired. In an article that lies behind a paywall, Sam Stejskal of The Athletic explored many of the issues last July.

One Comment

  1. O captain my captain crunch is gone says:

    Best of luck to Harris and James. Both are class and will be missed. Hopefully James will stick around awhile to help the youth programs but I know he has to do what’s best for him. fellas!

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