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Explore the ultimate Philadelphia Union guide! Dive into detailed tryout processes, rich club history, iconic stadium tours, and profiles of players. Your comprehensive source for all things Philadelphia Union, for aspiring talents to seasoned fans.



Philadelphia Union

The Philadelphia Union is an American professional soccer team based in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, Pennsylvania. The Union competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member club of the league’s Eastern Conference.

Philadelphia Union History

The Philadelphia Union is a professional soccer team based in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, competing in Major League Soccer (MLS). The team was established in 2008 as an expansion franchise and began playing in the league in 2010. The name “Union” references the United States’ historic moniker, “The Union,” highlighting Philadelphia’s role in the formation of the United States, where the Continental Congress met and the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed.

In their inaugural season in 2010, the Union finished 7th in the Eastern Conference and 14th overall. Despite the typical challenges faced by an expansion team, the Union showed promise, with Sebastien Le Toux emerging as a key player. The 2011 season marked a significant improvement, as the team qualified for the MLS playoffs for the first time in its history. They finished third in the Eastern Conference but were eliminated in the Conference Semifinals by the Houston Dynamo.

Following their initial success, the Union faced a period of inconsistency, struggling to maintain their playoff form in subsequent seasons. During this time, the team underwent numerous roster changes and several coaching switches in an attempt to rebuild and refine their strategy. Despite these challenges, the Union developed a strong youth academy system, emphasizing the development of local talent and integrating these players into the first team.

In 2016, under the guidance of new sporting director Earnie Stewart and head coach Jim Curtin, the Union began to implement a more coherent long-term strategy focused on youth development and tactical consistency. This approach started to bear fruit, as the Union returned to the playoffs in 2016, although they were eliminated in the Knockout Round. The following years saw continued growth and improvement, with the club increasingly becoming a contender in the Eastern Conference.

The 2020 season was a landmark year for the Philadelphia Union. The team secured its first-ever Supporters’ Shield, awarded to the MLS team with the best regular-season record. The Union’s success was built on a solid defense, a dynamic midfield, and the emergence of young, homegrown players, reflecting the success of the club’s emphasis on youth development. The achievement marked the culmination of years of building and developing a distinctive identity and style of play.

Philadelphia Union Supporters Shield Winners

Philadelphia Union continued to be a strong presence in MLS, consistently challenging for top honors in the Eastern Conference and in domestic cup competitions. The team’s commitment to developing young talent, combined with strategic signings and a strong community connection, has established the Union as a model franchise in MLS. The club’s emphasis on local talent and community engagement has fostered a loyal fan base, with the Sons of Ben supporter group being particularly noteworthy for its passionate support since the team’s inception. The Philadelphia Union’s journey from a fledgling expansion team to a perennial contender is a testament to the club’s long-term vision and commitment to growth.

Philadelphia Union Youth Development System

Philadelphia Union USL Team

On August 19, 2015, the team announced that they would operate a reserve team in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania that will compete in the United Soccer League (USL) starting in 2016 with matches being played at Lehigh University’s Goodman Stadium. As a part of the announcement, the Union agreed to dissolve their partnership with the Harrisburg City Islanders. On October 27, 2015, Bethlehem Steel FC’s name, crest, and colors were officially announced during a ceremony held at the ArtsQuest at SteelStacks. “Steel FC” alludes to the historical Bethlehem Steel F.C. soccer club, which played from 1907 to 1930. The name was chosen following a fan poll held between September 8, 2015 and September 30, 2015. In December 2019, the Union announced that the Bethlehem Steel identity would be retired ahead of the 2020 season and the club would become known as Philadelphia Union II.

Philadelphia Union Academy

The Philadelphia Union operates an elite youth Academy training and competition program starting with the Under-9 age group and running through Under-17, after which players graduate to Union II, the Philadelphia Union’s second team.

As for competition, the Union participates in MLS Next starting with the Under-13 age group. MLS Next is an elite North American youth soccer league organized, managed, and controlled by Major League Soccer. The league was launched in 2020. The Union’s younger age groups from Under-9 through Under-12 participate in various regional leagues and tournaments, often playing one year up. The Union Academy teams train and compete in Wayne, Pennsylvania, as well as in Chester, Pennsylvania, home of Philadelphia Union’s first team organization.

While the Union’s competition rosters in MLS Next are composed of boys teams representing age groups Under-13 through Under-17, the Union Academy is unusual in that with many of its young players are competing with and even starting for the Union’s USL Championship team, Union II (Formerly Bethlehem Steel FC). Widely considered one of the top youth Academies affiliated with an MLS club, the Union Academy has seen success in tournaments both domestic and international.

The Union Academy sources talent internally through the Union Junior Academy, as well as externally through well-regarded local area programs such as FC Delco, Real Jersey FC, and The SWAG. Families have even been known to relocate to Pennsylvania to take advantage of the many benefits provided through the Union Academy such as admittance to the YSC Academy, a world class soccer training and college preparatory school that operates in an alliance with the Union Academy.

The Philadelphia Union Academy has produced numerous players for the Philadelphia Union, Union II, elite NCAA programs, and professional clubs across the world.

YSC Academy

Between 70 and 80 of the Philadelphia Union Academy’s players attend private school YSC Academy which was founded by Philadelphia Union investor Richie Graham in September 2013 as an innovative, first-of its-kind, soccer-specific school for elite soccer players from grades 6 through 12. The school has campuses in Wayne, Pennsylvania and at the Union’s training complex in Chester, Pennsylvania and is designed for student-athletes who aspire to play professional-level soccer. YSC Academy’s first graduating class was in 2015. A substantial portion of the school’s graduates have gone on to play professionally for the Philadelphia Union and other teams, with the balance going to college.

Philadelphia Union Player Recruitment

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Philadelphia Union Path To Pros

The Philadelphia Union Academy has produced numerous professionals for Philadelphia Union and Union II (formerly Bethlehem Steel FC). Below are the following players who have signed pro contracts after being member of the Academy.

PlayerCurrent TeamCollegePositionGrad. Year
Anthony FontanaPhiladelphia UnionMid.2018
Mark McKenziePhiladelphia UnionWake ForestDef.2017
Matt RealPhiladelphia UnionDef.2017
Matt FreesePhiladelphia UnionHarvardGK2017
Cole TurnerPhiladelphia UnionMid.2019
Jack de VriesPhiladelphia UnionMid./Fwd.2020
Jack McGlynnPhiladelphia UnionMid.2019
Nathan HarrielPhiladelphia UnionDef.
Paxten AaronsonPhiladelphia UnionMid.
Brandan CraigPhiladelphia UnionMid.
Quinn SullivanPhiladelphia UnionMid.
Ben OfeimuPhiladelphia Union IIDef.2019
Shanyder BorgelinPhiladelphia Union IIFwd.2020
Selmir MiscicPhiladelphia Union IIMid.
Brenden AaronsonFC Red Bull SalzburgMid.2019
Derrick JonesNashville SCMid.2016
Auston TrustyColorado RapidsDef.2016
Joey DeZartOrlando City SCWake ForestMid.2016
Jack SkahanSan Jose EarthquakesNorth CarolinaMid.2016
Yosef SamuelHobro IKMid.2016
Morgan HackworthSan Diego LoyalAkronDef.2015
Zach ZandiColorado SpringsVillanovaMid.2015
Aziz SaidiVarzim SCMid
CJ dos SantosSL BenficaGK

For a complete list of current and past players, please click here.

Brenden Aaronson

Philadelphia Union Recruitment Trials

At the time of this writing, there is no official publishing’s on Philadelphia Union trials. Please come back at a later date while we monitor this club or click here to visit their official academy news section.


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Philadelphia Union Colors & Badge

The Philadelphia Union’s colors are primarily navy blue and gold, which are featured prominently in their team apparel, branding, and stadium design. These colors are intended to reflect the historical significance of the Philadelphia area, with the navy blue representing the Continental Army’s uniforms during the American Revolutionary War, and the gold symbolizing the wealth and prosperity of the city.

The Philadelphia Union’s badge is rich in symbolism and local references. The centerpiece of the badge is a snake, which harks back to Benjamin Franklin’s political cartoon of 1754, “Join, or Die,” representing the union of the American colonies. This is a nod to Philadelphia’s central role in American history and the team’s name, “Union.” Surrounding the snake are thirteen stars, representing the original thirteen American colonies. The shield shape of the badge mirrors traditional soccer crests, aligning the club with the sport’s global traditions while embedding local historical significance. The team’s name is displayed at the top of the badge, with the establishment year, 2010, at the bottom. The entire design encapsulates the spirit and history of Philadelphia while promoting a sense of unity and perseverance.

Philadelphia Union Kit

The Philadelphia Union’s kit has evolved over the years while maintaining the team’s core colors of navy blue and gold. The home kit traditionally features a dominant navy blue base with gold accents, reflecting the team’s primary colors. These gold accents often appear on the trim, the badge, and sponsor logos, providing a vibrant contrast against the navy blue.

Philadelphia Union Kit Jersey

A distinctive feature of the Union’s home jersey is the center stripe, known as the “Bimbo” stripe after the team’s main shirt sponsor. This stripe has varied in color over the years but is typically gold or light blue, adding a unique visual element that stands out against the darker blue of the shirt.

The away kit, on the other hand, usually offers a contrast to the home colors. It has varied over the years, featuring lighter colors such as white, light blue, or even a snakeskin pattern that nods to the snake in the team’s badge. These away designs often incorporate navy and gold details to maintain a connection to the club’s identity.

In addition to the visual design, the kits typically feature technological elements aimed at player comfort and performance, such as moisture-wicking fabrics and ventilated panels. Like most professional soccer teams, the Philadelphia Union releases new kits regularly, with changes to the designs to keep the look fresh and to engage fans.

The kit design often includes nods to local history and culture, such as the snake from the team’s badge or subtle references to local landmarks and historical events, reinforcing the connection between the club, its supporters, and the broader Philadelphia community.

Philadelphia Union Stadium

The Philadelphia Union’s home stadium is Subaru Park, originally known as PPL Park when it opened in 2010. Located in Chester, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia, the stadium is situated on the banks of the Delaware River, offering scenic views of the river and the Commodore Barry Bridge. The venue was specifically designed for soccer and has a seating capacity of approximately 18,500 for MLS matches, though this can be expanded for concerts and other events.

Subaru Park was built to provide an intimate atmosphere, with steeply pitched seating areas ensuring that fans are close to the action on the field. The stadium’s design incorporates elements of the region’s industrial heritage, featuring a façade made of brick and steel. In addition to hosting Philadelphia Union matches, the stadium has been used for various other events, including college soccer, rugby, and lacrosse games, as well as concerts.

The venue includes a full-sized training field adjacent to the main stadium, which is used by the Union for practices and by youth and community teams. Subaru Park also offers a variety of fan amenities, including a wide range of food and beverage options, a team store, and interactive fan zones. The stadium has been praised for its fan-friendly environment and beautiful setting, making it a favorite destination for soccer fans in the region.

Philadelphia Union Club Culture

The culture of the Philadelphia Union is deeply rooted in the city’s rich historical context and its passionate sports fanbase. This culture is manifested in various ways, from the team’s engagement with the community to the vibrant atmosphere during match days at Subaru Park.

Supporters Groups: The most notable aspect of the Union’s culture is its supporters groups, with the Sons of Ben being the most prominent. Founded even before Philadelphia was awarded an MLS franchise, the Sons of Ben helped demonstrate the area’s deep interest in soccer and played a crucial role in bringing a team to the city. They are known for their passionate support, pre-game rituals, and community involvement. The group is named after Benjamin Franklin, aligning with the city’s historical heritage. Their presence at Subaru Park, particularly in the River End section, contributes significantly to the electrifying match-day atmosphere, filled with chants, songs, and vibrant displays.

Community Engagement: The Union has a strong commitment to community service and engagement, with various programs aimed at supporting local communities, promoting youth soccer, and fostering a love for the sport. This includes outreach programs, soccer development initiatives, and charitable efforts that help build a strong bond between the team and its fanbase.

Youth Development: The Philadelphia Union places a high emphasis on youth development, with a renowned academy system that nurtures local talent. This commitment not only strengthens the team’s future but also fosters a deeper connection with the local soccer community, as young players and their families become integral parts of the Union family.

Match Day Experience: Game days at Subaru Park are designed to offer a unique and engaging experience for fans of all ages. From tailgating in the parking lots to interactive fan zones and post-match activities, the club ensures that each match is an event that extends beyond the 90 minutes of play. The Union’s dedication to providing a family-friendly and inclusive environment makes attending games a popular activity for diverse groups of fans.

Team Identity and Values: The Union’s identity is deeply interwoven with Philadelphia’s history and character. The team’s values of unity, determination, and resilience reflect the city’s spirit and are evident both on and off the field. The use of local symbols and references, such as the snake and the thirteen stars in the badge, reinforces the connection between the club and the city’s heritage.

Fan Engagement and Traditions: The Union actively engages with its fans through social media, fan events, and other initiatives, fostering a sense of community and belonging. Traditions, such as the ringing of the Liberty Bell replica after each home victory, connect the team’s successes to the city’s historical achievements.

Overall, the culture of the Philadelphia Union is characterized by a strong sense of community, historical pride, and passionate support, reflecting the broader characteristics of Philadelphia and its inhabitants.

Philadelphia Union Home City

Philadelphia, the home city of the Philadelphia Union, is steeped in American history and culture, known as the birthplace of the United States. It’s Pennsylvania’s largest city and has played a central role in American history, most notably as the meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution there in the late 18th century. The city’s historical significance is captured in landmarks like Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the Museum of the American Revolution.

Beyond its historical roots, Philadelphia is a vibrant, diverse metropolis with a rich cultural scene. The city is renowned for its arts and music, home to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (famously associated with the “Rocky” steps), the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and a dynamic street art scene. The city also has a strong theatrical presence, hosting numerous theaters and live music venues.

Philadelphia is also famous for its food culture, particularly known for the Philly cheesesteak, as well as its Italian and Pennsylvania Dutch influences. The Reading Terminal Market is a popular destination, offering a wide array of local and international cuisines.

Sports play a significant part in the city’s culture, with a passionate fan base supporting its professional teams across different sports, including football (Eagles), basketball (76ers), baseball (Phillies), and hockey (Flyers), in addition to soccer with the Union. Philadelphia sports fans are known for their fervor and loyalty.

The city is also an educational hub, home to several prestigious institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Drexel University, contributing to a vibrant, youthful atmosphere and fostering innovation and research.

Community and civic engagement are strong in Philadelphia, with numerous organizations and initiatives focused on improving the city and supporting its diverse populations. This sense of community and resilience mirrors the spirit embodied by the Philadelphia Union and its supporters.

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