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Union sign U.S. youth international Leon Flach

Photo courtesy Philadelphia Union

Ernst Tanner continued adding to the Union’s stable of young talent on Wednesday morning, acquiring 20-year-old U.S. youth international Leon Flach from FC St. Pauli in Germany’s 2.Bundesliga.

Calling Flach “a promising young prospect,” Tanner explained in a press release that “adding a natural left-footed player to our roster will allow for options and creativity in the midfield.”

Flach, primarily a central midfielder, should be able to play in either the No. 6 or No. 8 roles in the Union’s diamond midfield. Outside of entrenched starters Alejandro Bedoya, Jamiro Monteiro, and Jose Martinez, the Union lack proven depth at those positions. Flach also has experience at left back.

A dual national, Flach has represented the United States at the U-20 level and Germany at younger levels.  Flach has made nine appearances for St. Pauli, scoring his first goal — a banger — earlier this year.

The Union signed Flach to a two-year contract with club options for two more years. While the club did not announce a transfer fee, Tom Bogert of reported that the Union paid 250,000 euros (about $300k) to St. Pauli.

“We look forward to watching him grow in our system,” Tanner said.

Flach, who will wear number 31 for the Blue and Gold, is the Union’s second overseas signing of the offseason after the acquisition of Scottish center back Stuart Findlay. After a long delay stuck in Europe due to complications related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Findlay made it over to the United States this week and has begun to train fully.

The Union wrap up their preseason with a closed=door friendly against D.C. United at Subaru Park today at 3 p.m. The match will be live-streamed on the Union’s website. The club then heads off to Florida for a final stretch of training before traveling to Costa Rica for the first leg of their Champions League match against Deportivo Saprissa.


  1. This is exactly the kind of signing I would have wanted to see the club make. I admit I haven’t watched a ton of St. Pauli games, but he fits the mold for what the club needed: a versatile midfield option who likely could play right away. The fact he can play left back if Wagner gets sold in the summer is an added bonus. His being American is going to help a lot with roster construction too.

    Of course, Flach still fairly young and only has a handfull of pro games under his belt so I’m not expecting him to set the league on fire right off the bat so much as be a useful contributor. Lets hope he has a good year.

  2. Delco Roots says:

    Sounds like another low risk/high reward depth piece at a position of need. Very Union, and I like it.

    Now if Matej Oravec, last year’s low risk/high reward depth piece, provides solid minutes, these moves will demonstrate a thoughtful, successful process from Ernst. Ernst has certainly earned the benefit of the doubt, from me, at least.

  3. Great signing! Could also be USMNT prospect at some point. Never enough cultured left feet around.

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