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Tanner Adds Semmle to Goalie Lineup

Photo courtesy Philadelphia Union Communications

In another example of the scouting department finding roster candidates in less traditional places, the Philadelphia Union signed USL Championship Louisville City FC goalkeeper Oliver Semmle on Wednesday, January 31, the first day MLS’s primary 2024 transfer window was officially open.

Semmle is a German citizen and will be added to the active roster upon receipt of his P1 visa. He has been active in United States post-secondary education athletics since the 2018 season, ending with two years at Marshall University, which included a 2020 NCAA College Cup championship in his junior year.

The 6’3” 200-pound keeper is 25.8 years old and signed a contract with the Union that is guaranteed for 2024 and 2025, with a club option for 2026. No further terms of the contract nor the transfer have been disclosed, however, Louisville City’s article refers to a “paid transfer out,” implying an undisclosed fee.

There is also a Union connection as Semmle’s head coach last year was former Union player and human bowling ball Danny Cruz. In his short time under Cruz’s charge, Semmle set a new USL Championship rookie record for clean sheets with 13. He totaled 35 starts–31 in the league, three in the playoffs, and one in the US Open Cup totaling 3,180 professional minutes. His 13 shutouts also tied for the USLC league lead last year.

Semmle said, “I appreciate the chance the club gave me and I want to thank the coaching staff, front office, and my teammates in Louisville. It’s been a great time here, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to take the next step with the Philadelphia Union, a team with a strong history in MLS.”

Ernst Tanner called him the best goalkeeper in USLC, pointed out that his age allows him to grow as he learns the Union’s system, and mentioned the upcoming international schedule demands that will create opportunities for him to contribute.

He joins Andre Blake (33.2), Holden Trent (24.6), and Union II’s Andrew Rick (18.0) as the keeper quartet for first team practice. If signed, SuperDraft pick Francesco Montali, is expected to practice with Union II, backing up Rick when he starts their games.


  1. Not sure about using an international spot on a backup keeper, but on the plus side he isn’t Joe Bendik so it has my seal of approval.

    • Section 114 (Former) says:

      Suspect he will shortly be green card eligible given his length of time here.

      • Remember that you can no longer change from on international slot to a green card during the season.
        that duck has to be in its row for the year by roster compliance day.

      • Almost certainly you would not have noticed last year that Hugo LeGuennec has some delays converting from his student visa that covered his time at Rutgers to whatever his immigration status became when he signed with Union II.
        Le guennec missed a game or two at the beginning of last season in consequence.
        Be prepared that Semmle may not be available immediately.

      • Of course Semmle may already have proper immigration status since he worked as a professional player in Louisville KY last season.

    • If Brujo, Uhre, and Gazdag all got green cards, it’s a little less concerning – though they’re still worth allocation money / some value. I hope they’re planning on banking that for Carranza ultimately leaving.

      • by my calculations, when Vazquez and Riasco are added later this month, the first team will use seven international slots out of its available eight.
        I am assuming the reports about Martinez, Gazdag and Uhre getting green cards are accurate. Tannenwald usually gets it correctly when he reports.

      • I think we have similar math… I have Mbaizo, Baribo, Bueno, Torres and Makhanya right now — then add Riasco for six. Vazquez is American so he wouldn’t use one, and I’m assuming Odada isn’t counting against it due to the loan but could be off there.

      • Oh I see. Then Semmle for seven, duh.

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