Reports From Philadelphia Union
Philadelphia Union Acquires Designated Player David Accam
Union trade a total of $1.2 million in allocation money to Chicago Fire in exchange for Accam, who arrives as Philadelphia’s second Designated Player
CHESTER, Pa. – Philadelphia Union today announced that it has acquired midfielder David Accam from the Chicago Fire in exchange for a total of $1.2 million in allocation money. The breakdown of allocation money is as follows: (i) $400,000 Targeted Allocation (expiring 8/31/2019), (ii) $200,000 General Allocation (expiring 5/31/2019), (iii) $100,000 of General Allocation to be disbursed by the league at the conclusion of the 2018 season (expiring 5/31/2020), (iv) $500,000 of Targeted Allocation to be received disbursed by the league at the conclusion of the 2018 season (expiring 8/31/2020).
Primarily a winger, Accam joins the Union following three seasons with the Fire, over which he scored 33 goals and added 15 assists. He scored at least nine goals in each of his three campaigns with Chicago.
Since he came to MLS in 2015, Accam is one of just six MLS players to total at least 33 goals and 15 assists in league play. He is joined in that club by the last three MLS Landon Donovan MVP Award winners in Sebastian Giovinco, David Villa and Diego Valeri, as well as Ignacio Piatti and Kei Kamara.
“Today’s acquisition of David Accam marks an exciting moment for our club, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Philadelphia Union,” said Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart. “David possesses electrifying speed and skill to go along with a nose for goal comparable to the very best in MLS. We believe him to be a perfect fit as we continue to build our attacking corps. He provides an instant boost on the wing and we look forward to integrating him with our team as soon as possible.”
Accam has been one of the best attackers in Major League Soccer since joining the league. Since the beginning of the 2015 season, his 33 total goals ranks 13th among all players, one ahead of new teammate CJ Sapong. He has completed 198 dribbles over that span, second-most in MLS (trailing only Ignacio Piatti, 204), and his 16 shots from fast breaks also ranks second (behind only Fanendo Adi, 17).
The midfielder began his path toward becoming a professional in his native Ghana, where he played at the Right to Dream academy from 2004-2008 – the same institution that helped develop current Union player Josh Yaro.
He then moved to England on an academic scholarship, where he would play for Ledbury Town and Evesham United while on a student visa. He then took part in “The Chance” competition, hosted by Nike, which sought to find undiscovered soccer talent. He earned the opportunity to spend the 2011-2012 season at the Nike Academy. Following his time there, he signed for Swedish side Östersund in 2012, quickly impressing with nine goals in 14 matches before moving to topflight club Helsingborg later that year.
Again making an immediate impact, Accam scored three times in nine Allsvenskan matches for Helsingborg in 2012, adding two goals in five Swedish Cup contests. In 2013, he notched 16 goals over 41 matches, including 10 tallies in 27 league games and six goals in six Cup contests, helping his side reach the final. He also appeared in the UEFA Europa League as well as UEFA Champions League qualification.
His dominance continued into the 2014 campaign, where he scored 17 times in 26 Allsvenskan contests, bringing his total with the club to 38 over 81 appearances across all competitions. After the season, he moved to the United States, joining Chicago as a Designated Player.
During his first year with the Fire, in 2015, he scored 10 goals en route to winning the club’s MVP and Golden Boot award, two feats that he repeated in 2016 following a nine-goal, five-assist campaign. Last year, he continued his run of consistency with a 14-goal, eight-assist season, helping the Fire reach the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Internationally, Accam has registered nine caps for Ghana, making his debut in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (January 19, 2015 vs. Senegal), helping Ghana finish as runners-up in the tournament. He scored his first international goal later that year in Africa Cup of Nations qualification vs. Mauritius (June 14, 2015). Last summer, he appeared against Union teammate Alejandro Bedoya in an international friendly, coming on at halftime vs. the USA in his most recent cap (July 1, 2017).
TRANSACTION: Philadelphia Union acquires midfielder David Accam from the Chicago Fire in exchange for a total of $1.2 million in allocation money.
Name: David Accam
Born: September 28, 1990
Hometown: Accra, Ghana
Acquired: Acquired from the Chicago Fire in exchange for a total of $1.2 million in allocation money.
Previous Experience: Chicago Fire (2015-2017), Helsingborg (2012-2014), Östersund (2012), Evesham United (2010-2011), Ledbury Town (2009-2010)
Philadelphia Union Signs Homegrown Defender Mark McKenzie
Bear, Delaware native becomes eighth Homegrown Player in Philadelphia Union history
CHESTER, Pa. – Philadelphia Union today announced that defender Mark McKenzie has signed as a Homegrown Player with the club’s First Team. An 18-year-old centerback from Bear, Delaware, McKenzie becomes the eighth Homegrown Player in Union history.
On the Union’s First Team, McKenzie joins fellow newcomer Matt Real as well as Derrick Jones, Auston Trusty and Anthony Fontana as active Homegrown Players. A product of the Union Academy, McKenzie played last season at Wake Forest University after making eight appearances for Bethlehem Steel FC as an amateur.
“We’re delighted to have Mark begin his professional career by joining us as a Homegrown Player this season,” said Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart. “Mark is a promising centerback who made an impact for Wake Forest last year, a very good team at the collegiate level. It’s special any time you sign a Homegrown, and Mark is no exception. In this case, he made a difficult decision to leave school to sign with us, and we don’t take that lightly. We look forward to helping him with his development as he takes the next step with the Union.”
McKenzie joins the Union after one season at Wake Forest University, where he appeared in 16 matches as a freshman in 2017, playing 685 minutes for a team that finished in fifth place in the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I final postseason rankings. He helped the school to a 19-2-2 record over his one year with the Demon Deacons.
Prior to joining Wake Forest, McKenzie starred for the Union Academy, making 26 starts over his final two years with the Under-18s. He also appeared for Steel FC eight times as an amateur (twice in 2016, six times in 2017). He played his club soccer for the Delaware Rush and the Wilmington Rangers before coming to the Union Academy.
Internationally, McKenzie recently returned from the inaugural United States Youth National Team Summit Camp in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, where he was with the United States Under-20 National Team. He previously played for the U-18s while also attending camps for the U-16s and U-15s.
TRANSACTION: Philadelphia Union sign defender Mark McKenzie as a Homegrown Player on January 18, 2018.
Name: Mark McKenzie
Born: February 25, 1999 in the Bronx, NY
Hometown: Bear, DE
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Signed by Philadelphia Union as a Homegrown Player on January 18, 2018
Philadelphia Union Signs Homegrown Defender Matthew Real
Drexel Hill native becomes seventh Homegrown Player in Philadelphia Union history
CHESTER, Pa. – Philadelphia Union today announced that defender Matthew Real (pronounced: REE-al) has signed with the First Team, becoming a Homegrown Player. An 18-year-old defender from Drexel Hill, PA, Real is the seventh Homegrown Player in Union history.
Real joins the Union after playing for Bethlehem Steel FC last season on a USL contract. He becomes the fourth Union Homegrown Player under contract for the 2018 MLS season, joining Derrick Jones, Auston Trusty and Anthony Fontana.
“We couldn’t be prouder to welcome Matt to our First Team as a Homegrown Player,” said Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart. “Matt has truly earned this contract through his outstanding work along our Path to the Pros, first in our Academy and then in the USL as an 18 year old. Leftback is a difficult position, and Matt was exceptional against good competition for Steel FC last year. He brings an attacking-minded outlook to our fullback corps. We look forward to seeing him take the next step here in Philadelphia.
Real debuted as a professional last season, signing with Bethlehem Steel FC on January 17, 2017. He scored one goal and added one assist in 17 appearances, all starts, seeing the field for 1,607 minutes.
He made his season debut at leftback at Toronto FC II on May 13. He tallied his first professional assist against Tampa Bay on September 27 and scored his first goal in the regular season finale against Saint Louis FC on October 15. He also started in the club’s USL Eastern Conference Quarterfinal at Louisville City FC, playing the full 90 minutes. He made a pair of appearances with Steel FC as an amateur in 2016.
Prior to signing with Steel FC, Real first caught the attention of coaches at age nine when he played with the Union Juniors. He joined the Academy ahead of the 2013-14 season, appearing in 26 matches with the U-14s. He rose through the Union’s Academy system, appearing in 46 matches across the U-16 and U-18 teams. In his youth career, he also played for FC Delco and Lower Merion Soccer Club.
Internationally, Real recently returned from the inaugural United States Youth National Team Summit Camp in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, where he was with the United States Under-20 National Team. Previously, he was with the U.S. U-18s, including for the 2017 U-18 Lisbon International Tournament, where he started all three matches against Japan, Norway and Portugal.
TRANSACTION: Philadelphia Union sign defender Matt Real as a Homegrown Player on January 18, 2018.
Name: Matt Real (pronounced: REE-al)
Born: July 10, 1999 in Drexel Hill, PA
Hometown: Drexel Hill, PA
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Signed by Philadelphia Union as a Homegrown Player on January 18, 2018
Previous Experience: Bethlehem Steel FC (2017)
Philadelphia Union Signs MLS All-Star And MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Winner Andre Blake To New Multi-Year Contract
2016 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and Jamaican international signs new multi-year Targeted Allocation Money contract with Union
CHESTER, Pa. – Philadelphia Union today announced that they have agreed to a new multi-year contract with 2016 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year finalist Andre Blake.
Blake, 27, was originally selected by the Philadelphia Union in the First Round as the first overall pick of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft on January 16, 2014. Named an MLS All-Star and MLS Best XI in 2016, Targeted Allocation Money was used to complete the contract.
“It is a priority for us to build and secure the foundation of the Philadelphia Union, and Andre is as big a part of that foundation as any player,” said Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart. “Ensuring he will be here for years to come is an important step for our club. We’re delighted to sign him to a new multi-year contract and would like to thank him for his dedication and hard work.”
Blake has been a consistent performer for Philadelphia since earning the Union’s starting goalkeeper job ahead of the 2016 season. Over the last two years, Blake has started 58 matches in net for Philadelphia, recording 15 shutouts and 187 saves.
Since the start of the 2016 season, the Jamaican has recorded more catches (69) than any other goalkeeper in the league, 10 ahead of second-ranked Stefan Frei. He also ranks fifth in MLS in saves over that span as well as fourth in punches (32).
He was named to the MLS Best XI in 2016 and was named the 2016 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year following a season that saw him make a career-best 99 saves. In 2017, he was again named a finalist for the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year honor after improving his goals-against average to a career-best 1.31.
At the international level, Blake has served as the captain for the Jamaican National Team.In the 2017 Gold Cup, he led Jamaica to a second place finish, where he was awarded the Golden Glove award as the tournament’s top goalkeeper. He was also named to the tournament’s Best XI.
TRANSACTION: Philadelphia Union sign goalkeeper Andre Blake to a new multi-year contract on January 17, 2018. Targeted Allocation Money was used to complete the contract.
Name: Andre Blake
Born: November 21, 1990 in May Pen, Jamaica
Hometown: May Pen, Jamaica
Acquired: Selected by the Philadelphia Union in the First Round (first overall) in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft on January 16, 2014. Signed to a new multi-year contract on January 17, 2018 using Targeted Allocation Money.