Archive | December, 2010

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Player Profile: Zach Pfeffer

Posted on 22 December 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Position: Midfielder

Number: 27

Born: January 6, 1995

Birthplace: Dresher, Pennsylvania

Youth Club: FC Delco

Status: Homegrown Player (First in club’s history)

Height : 5’7″

Weight: 140

Salary: N/A

How acquired (Union): Signed on December 22, 2010 as part of the Homegrown Initiative, the first in the Union’s history. 

Has featured for various US youth national teams.

Stats:

2010 with Philadelphia: Though unsigned, Pfeffer had a 10 minute appearance in a friendly vs. Chivas de Guadalajara at PPL Park.

Did you know?

Pfeffer is the fourth youngest to sign a professional contract with Major League Soccer. Freddy Adu, Bobby Convey (both DC United), and Diego Fagundez (New England) were all younger.

Pfeffer has a twin brother, Jared, who also plays soccer for FC Delco as well as Upper Dublin HS.

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Union sign first Homegrown player

Posted on 22 December 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Zach Pfeffer, the 15-year old whose dream came true in a short 10-minute friendly appearance vs. Chivas de Guadalajara, will get a great chance to make that appearance one of many after today. Call it an early birthday present for the midfielder (January 6th) as the Union make him the first player to join the club under the Homegrown initiative. The Dresher, PA native showed a lot of promise in his first abbreviated appearance in a Union jersey but it’s clear there’s a lot of potential – so much so, he earned praise after a recent two-week training stint with Hoffenheim 1899 of the German Bundesliga.

Pfeffer, a product of the FC Delco system, is also a veteran of the various youth US national teams and now grabs the title of fourth youngest ever to sign a professional contract in Major League Soccer (behind Adu, Convey, and recently signed Diego Fagundez). However, the soon-to-be 16 year old is the youngest player to have a twin ever to sign a professional contract in MLS.

Back in 2008, when Top Drawer Soccer did the aforementioned quick feature on them, his goal was to play for either Maryland or Wake Forest in the near future. Instead, he’ll now eventually don the Blue and Gold. Quite the change in two years…

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Calm before the storm for the Union as 2011 closes in

Posted on 21 December 2010 by Breton Bonnette

The news continues  to roll in – though light in nature – as we approach 2011. We’re here to recap it for you…

The Union have bolstered their front office lineup with some pretty impressive hirings. Former Piotr Nowak teammate and USMNT international Diego Gutierrez joins as head of scouting and player development and longtime NJ high school soccer coaching legend Rick Jacobs was plucked from St. Benedict’s Prep where he enjoyed 6 national titles and a hand in the development of former players like Claudio Reyna and Greg Berhalter. Jacobs will operate as Vice President of Operations. Gutierrez joining the front office was something that was relatively imminent throughout the 2010 season. Two ambitious additions. It will be great to see what comes of it. The hiring of Jacobs is already paying dividends. A former St. Benedict’s player, Greg Ramos, who runs the Lehigh Valley Soccer Club just “teamed up” with the Union as one of six youth affiliates. You’ll notice a little tidbit in that link provided by Ramos himself. “We have eight players being looked at as possibly being in the Philadelphia Union system”.

December also saw the departure of goalkeeper Chris Seitz and midfielder Fred to FC Dallas (through Seattle) and New England respectively. There must be moves lined up to sit back and watch Shea Salinas, Alejandro Moreno, Fred, and Seitz leave but one thing is for sure, the Union have some cap-room. The allowance of Seitz to move to FC Dallas seemingly makes way for 39-year old Bundesliga and Turkish league vet Faryd Mondragon to join shortly. His current squad, FC Koln, is already lining up possible replacements in Markus Proll and Michael Rensing. Rumors have placed the announcement of Mondragon at tomorrow. Returning to the departures, the loss of Fred to us is a big one. He certainly didn’t justify his contract in his first season but there were glimpses of former DC United Fred and another year in Nowak’s system possibly could have done the trick or at least upped his production a bit.

Both Amobi Okugo and Jack McInerney continue to endure a very limited offseason, starring for the US Under-20 side throughout November and December. Okugo has been rock solid in the middle and there’s even a little chatter about what it would be like to test him in central defense. McInerney is scoring – and that’s always a good sign. Jack Mac tallied for the Generation Adidas side on their trip to Spain and struck vs. Canada in the first leg of a two-game series vs. the Canadian Under-20s. Undoubtedly, the usage of Okugo and McInerney will increase exponentially in 2011 as they continue to mature.

And last but not least, your First Kick schedule was released yesterday – on time, I might add. The Union will travel to Houston on March 19th before returning to Philadelphia a week later for an afternoon game vs. the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps (and Shea Salinas…) in an afternoon game on the Delaware River. See below for the full fixture list:

Tuesday, March 15

Seattle Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Saturday, March 19

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Toronto FC, time TBD

D.C. United vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

New York Red Bulls vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m.

FC Dallas vs. Chicago Fire, 8:30 p.m.

Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union, 8:30pm

Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers, 9 p.m.

Chivas USA vs. Sporting Kansas City, 10:30 p.m.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 20

LA Galaxy vs. New England Revolution, 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 26

Chicago Fire vs. Sporting Kansas City, 4 p.m.

Columbus Crew vs. New York Red Bulls, 4 p.m.

Philadelphia Union vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 4 p.m.

Toronto FC vs. Portland Timbers, time TBD

New England Revolution vs. D.C. United, time TBD

Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy, 9 p.m.

Thursday, April 14

Portland Timbers vs. Chicago Fire, 11 p.m.

Thursday, June 9

Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago Fire, time TBD

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The Union stand firm in first Re-Entry Draft

Posted on 16 December 2010 by Breton Bonnette

The inaugural Re-Entry Draft came and went and Piotr Nowak opted to sit tight and let his plans unravel over the next several months. Meanwhile, Juan Pablo Angel’s rights were picked up by Los Angeles and in the process they shipped promising striker and the league’s first Homegrown Player, Tristan Bowen, to Chivas USA for precious allocation money that they hope to use to win big now. Nowak’s approach is a little different. Let a young core of Jack Mac, Mwanga, Okugo, and Sheanon Williams, grow into a team that will be great for years to come. So it’s understandable to see nothing happen but certainly hard for many to accept.

Four players have now left the club – the most stinging departure being winger and fan favorite Shea Salinas. Alejandro Moreno joined Chivas USA after a whirlwind expansion draft and the two Re-Entry Draft casualties were Chris Seitz (now in Dallas) and Fred (to New England). With the rumored arrival of 39-year old Bundesliga veteran Faryd Mondragon and the capture of a quality defensive midfielder in Brian Carroll, fans are hoping there’s a little more ‘oomph’ to Nowak’s plans. Sporting Kansas City is touting a “young attacking Designated Player” to add to Omar Bravo, their newest DP. Los Angeles is still courting Ronaldinho and if they can get Juan Pablo Angel to cut a cheaper deal, they should be a powerhouse yet again in 2011. Real Salt Lake and Seattle kept vital pieces in their respective cities with DP deals for Alvaro Saborio and Fredy Montero all while Red Bull New York has been linked with a boatload of stars looking to come to the States. Philadelphia continues to sit quiet but if we all remember January of last year – we know something big is probably on its way.  

We’d like to hear from you. Predictions for the New Year? With the 5th selection in the SuperDraft, who do you think Nowak will take? Will Eduardo Coudet be back with the Union next season? Does the Union have a Designated Player on their roster come the start of the season?

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