MLS / Union

Philadelphia Union sign defender Jakob Glesnes

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Union

The Union have officially announced the signing of central defender Jakob Glesnes from Norwegian club Stromsgodset Toppfotball to a two-year contract with a club option for a third and fourth year using Targeted Allocation Money in exchange for an undisclosed transfer fee.

Glesnes looks to fit in as the third center back behind Jack Elliott and Mark McKenzie, but with a TAM contract, he most likely has a chance to compete for a starting job.

From the Union’s press release:

“To become a captain of a club at 25-years-old is a remarkable feat for a young player and what attracted us to Jakob in addition to his strong aerial presence and front-foot defense,” said Ernst Tanner, Philadelphia Union Sporting Director. “Coming from a club with a similar style of play, Jakob will be able to easily transition into our system, making him a valuable asset to our defense and club.”

Glesnes comes to Philadelphia from the first-tier Norwegian league, Eliteserien, where he captained Stromsgodset Toppfotball. Joining Stromsgodset IF in 2016, Glesnes made 30 appearances in the 2018/19 season, contributing three assists in that time and has totaled three goals and seven assists in 113 matches overall for the club. Additionally, he played in three NM-Cup matches.

Previously, Glesnes played for First Division club Asane in 2015 before joining first-tier club Sarpsborg 08, making his debut in March 2016. His first appearance for the Norway’s Men’s U21 national team came on October 7, 2016 and he was called up to represent the senior Norway Men’s National Team in October 2019.

Off the field, Glesnes has been recognized for his community work and commitment to youth soccer. He was named Norwegian soccer’s Role Model of the Year and Stromsgodset’s Community Player of the Year in 2017 for his work with community youth soccer program, Blue Hour.


  1. I like this move.
    This offseason and the moves made by Tanner have been so refreshing compared to off seasons in the past.

  2. Good signing. Still think we need an attacking mid pretty badly, unless Aaronson has made huge strides in the off-season. Ilsinho is not a starter at this point in his career and Monteiro isn’t a real #10.

  3. Even if he is a backup, he could get some playing time if McKenzie is away for Olympic Qualifiers and/or the Olympics.

  4. In Tanner We Trust says:

    Good signing. Maybe it’s time to give Sugarman credit, considering how many acquisitions we’ve been “allowed” to make this offseason.

  5. el Pachyderm says:

    This guy ain’t going to be no backup.
    Over under is mid May he’s a starter.
    Call it a hunch, his ball skills and passing range are going to be better then Mark McKenzie.
    Friendly wager…anyone.

    • John O'Donnell Jr says:

      Three in the back will get him on the field. Qualifying for Olympics and if they make it McKenzie missing how many games? That said, it’s a nice problem to have and there was a certain DP last year that couldn’t get on the field. I have a hunch McKenzie might keep him on the bench to start the season at least.

    • I think his first start is sooner. And possibly sooner if they start using a 3 man back line. Could he see the field regularly at the start of the season because of that? Like John says, nice problem to have. I think Packy is right, that said….I’m in for a beer at the Snake and Shield.

  6. Just out of curiosity, what would a lineup be with 3 at the back with the full roster of players available?

    • The challenge, I think, is that 3-5-2 demands a lot of the outside backs, and I don’t think there’s anyone right now who slots comfortably into the RWB spot, unless Mbaizo ups his level this year (last year he spent a lot of time injured, which wasn’t his fault, of course). RWB is probably not Ray’s best use, but then again Gaddis has spent basically his whole career finding his way onto the field despite his doubters.
      But I think it might look something like McKenzie-Elliot-Glesnes as the CBs, Wagner and Mbaizo/Gaddis as wing backs, Aaronson/Fontana-Monteiro-Oravec/Bedoya/El Brujo as midfielders, and Przbylko-Santos/Wooten up top?

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        Maybe a 3-5-2 is exactly what Ray needs. Outside the box, but less defensive responsibility plus speed. That said, I’d prefer Mbaizo in that role.

  7. What about Bedoya at right wingback?

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