Reports From Philadelphia Union
CHESTER, Pa. – Philadelphia Union announced today that they have signed forward CJ Sapong to a new contract. The agreement ensures that Sapong, whose deal was set to expire after the 2018 season, will remain under contract with the club through 2019 with a club option for 2020.
Sapong, 29, signs a new deal with Philadelphia after he set the Union’s all-time record for goals in a season (16), also a personal-best single-season total for the Manassas, Virginia native. Leaguewide, since Sapong joined the Union ahead of the 2015 campaign, he is tied for 13th in goals by any player (33).
“We are pleased to complete this agreement with CJ, a critical part of the spine of our team,” said Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart. “He fits perfectly in our system with his nose for goal and his hold-up play. We’d like to thank him for his hard work and commitment to the Philadelphia Union and we look forward to working with him for years to come.”
Stewart and Sapong will be available to members of the media fieldside at the Power Training Complex following Union training today, Wednesday, March 14, at approximately 11:30 a.m. Union Head Coach Jim Curtin will also be available to discuss the transaction during his weekly press conference, set for today at 12:30 p.m. inside the press conference room at Talen Energy Stadium.
Sapong originally entered MLS as the 10th overall pick by Sporting Kansas City in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. He made 34 appearances during his first campaign, scoring five goals and adding five assists en route to being named the MLS Rookie of the Year. In 2012, he won the U.S. Open Cup with Sporting KC, and followed that up with an MLS Cup victory with the club in 2013. In total, he spent four seasons with Sporting KC, totaling 110 appearances with 20 goals and nine assists.
Ahead of the 2015 season, Philadelphia acquired Sapong from Sporting in exchange for the 10th overall selection in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. He has scored at least seven goals in each of his three seasons with the Union, including a career- and club-record best 16 in 2017.
Internationally, Sapong has registered four caps for the United States National Team. After being invited to its 2012 January camp, he debuted for the team as a substitute in a friendly against Venezuela (January 21) and earned his second cap four days later with another substitute appearance against Panama. After his strong 2017 season he received the nod to represent the USA ahead of a friendly at Portugal (November 14). He started that match, recording an assist in a 1-1 draw.
He was once again called up by the USMNT ahead of its annual January camp on January 8, 2018. Running from January 10-29, the camp took place at StubHub Center in Carson, California and included an international friendly on January 28 vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina, which Sapong started.
Prior to becoming a professional, Sapong played for Union developmental affiliate Reading United AC. He was also a two-time NSCAA First Team All-South Atlantic Region player in 2009 and 2010 while at James Madison University.
TRANSACTION: Philadelphia Union sign forward CJ Sapong to a new contract on March 14, 2018.
Name: CJ Sapong
Born: December 27, 1988 in Manassas, VA
Hometown: Manassas, VA
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Philadelphia Union acquired forward CJ Sapong from Sporting Kansas City on December 8, 2014 in exchange for the 10th overall selection in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. Signed to a new multi-year contract on February 8, 2016. Signed to another new multi-year contract on March 14, 2018.
Three Philadelphia Union Players Earn International Call-Ups
CHESTER, Pa. – Philadelphia Union announced today that three of their players have earned international call-ups by their respective federations. Goalkeeper Andre Blake is set to join Jamaica for an international friendly, while U.S. Soccer also announced that defenders Mark McKenzie and Matt Real have been named to the roster for the United States Under-20 National Team’s training camp in Spain.
McKenzie and Real will join the USYNT in Alicante, Spain for the team’s first international preparation for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 2019. The camp includes three friendlies on March 21, March 23 and March 27.
Signed as a Homegrown Player prior to the season, McKenzie previously was called up for the inaugural United States Youth National Team Summit Camp in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, where he was with the U.S. U-20s. He previously played for the U-18s while also attending camps for the U-16s and U-15s.
Also signed as a Homegrown earlier this winter, Real joined McKenzie at the USYNT Summit Camp. 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.
Meanwhile, Blake will join the Reggae Boyz in their friendly against Antigua and Barbuda in Kingston, Jamaica on March 25. The goalkeeper has been a mainstay for the Jamaican international squad, earning 31 caps over his career. His debut came in a friendly against Barbados on March 3, 2014. He has since started for Jamaica in the 2014 Caribbean Cup as well as FIFA World Cup qualification and the Copa America Centenario 2016, where he played every minute of every match. He also received a call-up to represent Jamaica during the Group Stage in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Following the tournament, he was named the Golden Glove winner as well as to the Best XI for the event.