The Philadelphia Union have most of their roster set now after the expansion draft, the MLS SuperDraft, and other transactions they have made. They accumulated their first 10 players in the expansion draft, then made some moves, then finished strongly with an A+ effort in the MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia.
Expansion Draft Players:
- GK Brad Knighton
- DEF Shavar Thomas
- DEF Dave Myrie
- DEF Jordan Harvey
- MF Shea Salinas
- MF Stefani Miglioranzi
- MF Andrew Jacobson
- S Nick Zimmerman
- S Alejandro Moreno
- S Sebastien Le Toux
Soon after the expansion draft, the Union acquired GK Chris Seitz from 2009 MLS Champion Real Salt Lake, and the rights to sign DEF Danny Califf from a Danish club, FC Midtjyland. Just a day before the 2010 MLS SuperDraft is when the Union really started wheelin n dealin, though. They traded their #1 allocation spot (essentially the same thing as waivers, allowed D.C. to pick their former GK Troy Perkins back up) and some money to D.C. United for MF Fred and the #7 overall pick in the draft. They also traded money to FC Dallas for the #6 overall pick.
SuperDraft Players(in order):
- S Danny Mwanga
- MF Amobi Okugo
- S Jack McInerney
- MF Toni Stahl
- MF Kyle Nakazawa
- GK Brian Perk
Soon after the SuperDraft, on deadline day, the Union picked up US international DEF Michael Orozco on loan from Mexican Primera club San Luis.
Players Not picked up in any Draft:
- GK Chris Seitz
- DEF Danny Califf
- MF Fred
- DEF Michael Orozco
I know what you’re thinking now, what is deadline day? And what is a loan? Deadline day, as you can imagine, is like the trade deadline in American sports. In soccer, in Europe, and everywhere except America, deadline day is February 1st. This is the last day you can complete a loan, swap, or transfer. A swap is a trade, they just call it a swap in soccer, and usually its not small amounts of cash and a player, if it happens, and its rare for a swap to happen, it’ll be a player and a whole lot of money for a player or possibly a couple players but that’s even more rare. A loan is where a player is given to a team for no fee for an amount of time. The team he is given to pays his weekly wages. There are a couple situations where a player is loaned instead of being fully transferred, and I’ll get into that later. A transfer is really just a purchase. This past summer Real Madrid bought Christiano Ronaldo from Manchester United for 80 million pounds, or $125,555,200.58
Typically, the players who are loaned are in one of these situations:
- A young player from big club with a ton of potential who isn’t seeing much first team action is loaned to a smaller club, and a worse team, to develop. i.e. Danny Welbeck from Manchester United to Preston North End, where United manager Sir Alex Ferguason’s son is in charge.
- A player from a small club who has proven himself as an elite player in the league. Oftentimes a small club will loan this type of player to a big club so that he can play with the big club and they can decide if they want to, and how much they’re willing to spend to transfer him into their club. Some of these loan deals have a clause putting a transfer fee on the player. Much like a team option.
- A big name player with a big time wage who is not in good form at all. Whenever someone is loaned, they negotiate a weekly wage with their temporary club. Robbie Keane, captain of Tottenham Hotspur FC, was in absolutely pitiful form, and had stopped playing much for the first team, so Tottenham loaned him to Celtic FC, where he would be able to step right in and start every game he is fit for. Tottenham doesn’t pay his wage, Celtic gets a potentially great player for the rest of the season in an attempt to win the Scottish league.
Stuff you should also know if you’re trying to be a soccer fan:
- The MLS is literally the only soccer league in the entire world that has a draft. How do teams get players then? A team can sign someone whenever. It is not completely ridiculous for a 9 year old to be a professional soccer player. A team signs these players, and they go to the clubs youth academy. This is school, kind of. They do go to class, but they also play a whole hell of a lot of soccer. When a player is 18, he is no longer eligible for the youth academy. At this time he will sign somewhere, usually the same club he’s been at. Generally speaking, no one will play first team soccer for a top division club until they’re at least 17. Wayne Rooney was playing for regularly for Newcastle United at 16 but he, and some others are the exception.
- Most countries have 2-4 leagues, no playoffs, and at least one domestic cup. Lets take England for example. They have about 59 leagues, the Barclays Premier League, the Coca-Cola League Championship, and Coca-Cola Divisions 1 and 2, also known as Football Leagues 1 and 2. And then there are half full-pro and half semi-pro leagues under that, i.e. Conference North. They also have about 600 cups to win. The big one is FA cup, the Football Association Cup. This is one where the entire Football Association is involved. Everyone from the Premiership to Football league 2 is in it. It’s awesome, one of the big name clubs is always taken down by a little guy i.e. Leeds United over Manchester United this year. They also have the League Cup, currently sponsored by Carling, making it called the Carling Cup, where most clubs are involved and the Johnstones Paint Trophy where Football League 1 and 2 are involved. There are even some more after that, and they can qualify for UEFA club tournaments.
- The reserve team actually plays against another teams reserves. Within a day or two of the first-team game, a clubs reserve team will play against the same club the first team is playing againsts reserve team. This is to keep players in game shape, get a look at a young player, a whole bunch of reasons.
I’m sure theres tons I’m missing here, and you have questions. So ask them.
What are my thoughts on the Unions team? I love it so far. They’re going to be a very strong defensive team right away, possibly the best in the MLS. They may struggle to score at times, but hopefully Danny Mwanga will step up as a rookie, and Alejandro Moreno will pull some extra weight as a veteran. The midfield is also going to struggle, because they are young. Fred will play a key role in the Unions success in their inaugural season. In June, the European transfer window opens back up. Raul, a striker currently riding the bench behind Karim Benzema and Christiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid, is looking to move. He has mentioned the MLS, and the Union are a definite candidate to acquire him. The New York Red Bulls may end up with him because they are being true to New York sports, and looking to make a team of superstars (there have also been rumors about them bringing in Thierry Henry). Bobby Convey, currently of the San Jose Earthuakes, graduate of Penn Charter, will eventually sign with the Union. Maybe not this year, but probably eventually. Calrence Seedorf of AC Milan, who holds the record for UEFA Champions League titles with 3, may sign too. If he does, he will most likely be the best player in the MLS. He’s an attacking midfielder and would be a great signing.
That all being said, the Union are going to draw a lot of games this year especially. As fans, we’re going to be looking at a lot of games with less than 3 goals total, and a ton of 0-0, 1-1 draws. The key to success in a soccer season is to not lose, which sounds like well no shit Bronco, but theres more to it. Standings are done by points, you receive 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw, and 0 for a loss. If you can just keep moving up with the number of points and never stay still for more than a match at a time, you’re going to have success in any league.