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Union announce Jack de Vries loan to Venezia

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

The Philadelphia Union announced yesterday that they have loaned homegrown midfielder Jack de Vries to newly promoted Serie A side Venezia on a one-year loan.

De Vries is 19 ½-years old and holds American-Dutch citizenship. The Dutch passport smooths his entry into Italy, and Europe generally.

This season he suffered a long-lasting concussion at the very end of March just before the MLS regular season began, and has only passed the final concussion protocol tests and resumed full practice within the last week or two. His current level of game fitness will be better synchronized with that of a side beginning its season, as Venezia is. He is five months behind the Union’s 2021 fitness level, a significant deficit.

His homegrown contract took effect January 1, 2020. He made four first-team appearances that year in the first year of the pandemic but they totaled only 13 minutes of playing time. 2020’s virus safety protocols eliminated his ability to move between practicing with the first-team and playing for Philadelphia Union II in late spring, summer and early fall. He had three starts in the USL Championship in 2020 totaling only 190 minutes. In 2019 as an academy amateur, he had two starts and a substitution appearance totaling 120 minutes for Bethlehem Steel FC.

The opportunity to play is paramount for his development.

Now that he is healthy, Venezia will allow him the chance to practice and compete for appropriately levelled game minutes opportunities while not blocking those same opportunities for the other homegrown midfielders playing in Philadelphia, Jack McGlynn, Quinn Sullivan and Paxton Aaronson. The Venezia announcement presented by Matt Ralph of Brotherly Game says he will play with their U-19 side.

The loan would seem a creative response to de Vries’s having lost a year and a half of development to both the pandemic and his injury. He will be catching up to his peers while he is elsewhere.

The Union’s announcement says nothing of fees, options to purchase, sell-on percentages, or other future considerations. Nor does it include any comment from the head coach or the sporting director.

Two possible clues towards de Vries’ Philadelphia future will be whether his jersey number remains unused and whether future homegrown signings include other midfielders. The length of the loan means his roster slot will be used by someone else next year, so that in itself will not prejudice his possible future return.

A topic for future inquiry is whether there is a relationship between someone on the Venezia coaching staff and Sporting Director Ernst Tanner. There was something of a relationship between Tanner and Cory Burke’s coach In Austria at Bundesliga club SKN St. Poelten during Burke’s 2020 loan spell there.

One Comment

  1. Venezia seem to be scouting MLS a lot. Busio and Tessmann have transferred to the club and they were rumored to be interested in Anthony Fontana at one point as well.

    I’d be very surprised, regardless of loan terms, if Venezia didn’t have a longer term interest in De Vries.

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