Jamiro Monteiro is the Union’s newest No. 10

Photo: Earl Gardner

With less than three weeks until Philadelphia Union’s season opener against FC Dallas, head coach Jim Curtin finally has his full team together.

Midfielder Jamiro Monteiro has rejoined his club after some immigration delays kept the Dutchman on the other side of the Atlantic. During the offseason, the Union made the 26-year-old their newest Designated Player.

Tuesday afternoon, the club announced Monteiro has earned an additional honor.

“[Monteiro] will wear the No. 10 jersey this year,” Curtin said during a conference call with media.

“He’s in the very elite echelon of players I’ve seen as a player and as a coach,” said Curtin. “Jamiro has the quality to play in any league in the world, and we’re happy that he chose to stay in Philadelphia.”

The No. 10 jersey is traditionally given in soccer to a team’s best playmaker and carries an additional weight with it.

For the Union, the number has been “kiss of death.” Monteiro will be the fifth player in five years to wear the jersey. The previous four— Marco Fabián, Borek Dockal, Roland Alberg, and Tranquillo Barnetta— all departed the team the season after wearing the “1” and “0”.

Monteiro’s new contract, however, is a promising sign that the Cape Verdean international will buck the trend.

Union sporting director Ernst Tanner acquired Monteiro on loan from Ligue 1 side FC Metz during the 2019 season. In a year regarded as most successful in club history, Monteiro proved himself as the club’s most talented player. Although Philadelphia had an option to buy the player after the loan concluded, the Union negotiated a lower transfer fee with Metz and increased the midfielder’s wages to secure the player’s services.

Monteiro is under contract for the next three seasons with the club holding the option on a fourth year.

Curtin was quick to explain the announcement doesn’t come at the expense of Brenden Aaronson. The 19-year-old attacking midfielder was seen as another option to fill the jersey.

“The No. 10 is a number,” said Curtin, elaborating that it doesn’t point to where someone will play on the field.

In 2019, Aaronson and Monteiro often played together, with one occupying the left side of the midfield diamond while the other played at the tip.

There’s no denying the obvious, however:

By making Monteiro the No. 10, the Union know this season’s success rests heavily on the shoulders of their newest Designated Player.


  1. el Pachyderm says:

    so a kid grooved and cultivated to be a 10 gets booted from the role before ever really getting a chance to prove he can be that player… for a player– who is a dynamo, and in my estimation more of an enganche.
    Guess they know what they are doing. We’ll see.
    From my point of view, I think Brendan Aaronson just got benched.

    • Really hope that’s not the case. The kid is very good and I hope he is not dog food now!

    • Me thinks they will both be on the field at the same time…

    • It’s a jersey number, nothing more. I think you are reading way too much into it. If last year, Aaronson was able to get into the starting lineup regularly despite the presence of Monteiro AND Fabian, hard fo see why he wouldn’t make it this year.

      • O captain my captain crunch is gone says:

        Let’s relax and see how the chips fall. I’m sure curtain wants to win, as do we all.
        GO U!!!

    • I think the number on the jersey is simply a sign of respect. Nothing to do with position he’ll play. I think, too that this team isn’t planning on playing through a central play maker. I doubt Aaronson will be a bench player to begin. If he is, I’ll share your shock.

      • Agree. This is a cap-tip to his talent and his importance to the squad.

        I also suspect that playing Monteiro at the 10-spot is Plan B in case young Brendan isn’t quite up to it yet. (Which is not what I want.) But I strongly suspect you’ll see Brendan starting this season. I hope the plan isn’t to put Brendan on the wing and Miro at the 10-spot, though.

    • I think its to take pressure of Aaronson. Monteiro is the experienced pro. Let him where the number and Aaronson earn it. Lbh aaronson didnt do a lot last year to deserve a number 10. Maybe the 8.

  2. Is he Dutch? Is he a Cape Verdian?

  3. Curtin has been kiss of death for promising USMNT call ups from Union. Witness Rosenberry & Trusty. This year McKenzie will be benched in favor of Glesnes and Aaronson will be benched in favor of all the new midfielders. Meanwhile, Bedoya will play every minute of every game and be so tired by the end of the season that the Union will whimper in their early round playoff loss. But maybe the expectations this year (and FO spending) are sufficient that the coach will actually be held accountable.

    • Wow! Season sorted! It’s all been him Curtins fault all this time!

      Nothing to do with spending ability of the FO. Let’s bring in a new coach! That’ll turn all these players you mentioned into usmnt stars!

      Ill drop the sarcasm and give you credit for a new perspective. Haven’t heard this thread of complaint in at least three seasons.

  4. In Tanner We Trust says:

    I think it’s actually kind of funny that people are being so negative about this.
    1) Aaronson is going to be FINE, and Fontana might carve himself out a big role as well
    2) Leave Curtin alone. He’s clearly improving every year, and considering the season we had last year, I’m going to be very patient.
    3) I know he hasn’t been mentioned in this particular comment section, but leave Ray alone as well. If Mbaizo is better, Mbaizo will play. We know Ray works as hard as anyone, so is it insane to think he’s sorted some things out in his game? He’s certainly not old enough to start declining yet.
    4) Anything I may have missed. Let’s all relax, and reserve our unprofessional opinions on what is wrong for after we’ve actually PLAYED a few games.

  5. On board with those essentially or directly saying it is just a number. It is a “heavier” shirt as Curtin says so giving it to the in-his-prime DP is likely a smarter decision than the youngster already dealing with high expectations regardless of positions on the field.
    When Tanner first came in, his comments made me think he wanted to play in a 4-2-2-2. If we want to take positional signs out of a number, why not playing with dual #10s? Curtin has said the team is trying it out some this year and U2/Steel have played it some last year. I think of that formation with Aaronson on left and Monteiro on the right in front of Oravec on the left and Bedoya on the right. Not only is that is a pressing machine but with the ball I can imagine Monty drifting centrally and deeper to open up the midfield overlap for Bedoya on his favorite right while Aaronson looks for space higher up the field on the left and combines with Wagner.

  6. I thought Aaronson had a chance but hey, I’m sure he’ll love what USL team picks him up.

  7. Anybody consider that part of what made him ‘choose to be in Philadelphia’ might be the Union acceding to a demand (request?) to wear the number 10?

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