Philadelphia Union II

Philadelphia Union II announce new signings

Photo: Ben Ross

Philadelphia Union II announced Tuesday afternoon that they have signed two new players, left back Juan Castillo and midfielder Pedro Alvarez. Each will occupy an international slot, pending receipts of the respective international transfer certificates.

They also officially confirmed that head coach Marlon LeBlanc has signed a multi-year contract to lead Union II, and detailed the technical staff.

Juan Castillo

A Colombian by birth, Castillo is a 20.3-year-old left back who stands 5’10” and looked solidly built when seen at practice Tuesday morning. His last club was New York Red Bull II who let him go in December, so he is a free signing. Transfermarkt’s algorithm places his roster asset value at roughly $190 K, so the Sporting Director has increased Union II’s value at no cost.

Castillo adds another left back to the organization’s depth chart, perhaps enabling Anton Sorenson to be more of a multi-position hybrid between left back and left channel midfield. Castillo’s presence will challenge academy left back Luke Martelli to get better.

Pedro Alvarez

The right-footed Venezuelan defensive midfielder is also currently without a club according to Transfermarkt whose algorithm values him at roughly $109 K. Alvarez is almost 22 years old since February 1st will be his next birthday. His last club was Aragua FC in the Venezuelan second division. He is smaller than Castillo at 5’8″. He is not yet in country.

He probably satisfies the Union’s basic requirements for sprints, frequency of sprints, and ground coverage. So it may also be fair to assume that he will reinforce the depth charts at the shuttling central midfield slots as well as in the double pivot.

Union II’s 2023 technical staff
Ernst Tanner Sporting Director 2018
Marlon LeBlanc Head Coach 2020
Karl Spratt Goalkeeping coach 2021
Austin Reynolds Video Analyst 2020
Joe Trocchio Athlete Performance 2019
Andrew Vaccaro Equipment Manager 2016
Christiana Orgera Union II Athletic Trainer 2023
Ryan Sanders Team Administrator 2018

The year is when the individual began joined the organization, not counting internships.


  1. Thank you, Tim. Always appreciate your reporting, insights and wonderings.

  2. Looks like Pedro Alvarez’s value decreased $40K in the last year. Should we see this as a zero-risk attempt by the Union to re-boot his career in a different country and system?

    • Taking nothing at all away from your essential point, which is spot on,
      Transfermarkt denotes roster asset values in euros not US dollars.
      I do not immediately know the answer to your question.
      After looking at the details available on transfermarkt, Aragua FC let him go after three seasons with the first team and they let him go for free.
      The difficulty of finding the club on transfermarkt confirms the Wikipedia article on the club which says that they have been relegated from Venezuela’s top flight for the 2023 season.
      Many clubs around the world dump players when undergoing relegation.
      That seems a reasonable explanation why Alvarez was available.

    • Tim found the same info I found. Relegation can’t help.

      • I have no idea how the economics of first and second division Venezuelan soccer works.

      • It would be interesting to see total club roster value charted over time to see how relegation or promotion affects the algorithm.
        The most valuable player on Aragua FC‘a roster (a 22 year old CAM) is listed at only 200K after dropping from 350K the year before.

      • Interesting – so maybe in some leagues when teams are relegated a value drop is automatic for each player?
        Ernst shopping the “blue light special” – love it!

      • wbev, I agree! Smart business done, once again.

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