Philadelphia Union II / Roster News

Union sign Nathan Harriel to Homegrown contract

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

The Philadelphia Union announced the signing of 19-year-old right back Nathan Harriel to a Homegrown MLS contract on Friday afternoon.

The MLS contract will be effective January 1, 2021. In the interval, Harriel is signed with Philadelphia Union II and will continue to practice and play with them for the balance of this season as Cole Turner did at this time last year.

Philadelphia traded its first-round draft pick in the 2021 MLS Super Draft to Orlando City SC in order to acquire Harriel’s Homegrown rights, since his home lies within Orlando’s exclusive territory. In exchange for the crapshoot that is any draft pick, Ernst Tanner has gained a proven USL Championship player with potential to play in MLS who fits the particular style of play the sporting director has been working to implement since his arrival two years ago.

Harriel joined the Philadelphia Union Academy from Oldsmar, Fla., southeast of Tampa, before Christmas in 2018. At that time he de-committed from Clemson and stated that he hoped to earn a professional contract.

He played 23 times for Bethlehem Steel FC in the USL Championship in 2019 logging 1,896 minutes. Twenty of those appearances were starts. He graduated from the Union Academy Schoolhouse at the end of the 2018-2019 academic year but continued his studies with a postgraduate year that ended this past June.

After 2020’s preseason—during which he spent time in the age-appropriate youth national team January camp—he started Union II’s regular season opener against Loudon United on March 7, coming off at halftime since he was still recovering fitness after an injury.

Ever since mid-May when Union II resumed individual practice, he has been training with head coach Sven Gartung’s group.  Gartung is on record as having recommended offering Harriel a contract to Tanner.

Harriel is now fully healthy and went the full 90 in his first match since signing a professional contract on Saturday evening, a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

Bullet points for old BSFC fans
  • James Chambers has been hired full-time to work with the younger groups in the Union Academy program (see below).
  • Fred has been added as an assistant coach with Gartung’s Union II alongside holdover Steve Hogan.
  • Per Matt Ralph of Brotherly Game, the new academy structure eliminates the old U18/19 level, and creates three groups of teams: U9, U10, U11, & U12; U13 & U 14; and U15 & U17.


  1. OneManWolfpack says:

    They had to acquire his rights, despite the fact that he was in their academy? I’m sure there is an extremely “MLS” reason why

  2. Too bad Dortmund didn’t have to pay the U for Pulisic’s rights.

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