Stoke City set to welcome USMNT hero Brek Shea back in time for Philadelphia Union friendly Tuesday
CHESTER, Pa. – Fresh off scoring the game-winning goal in Sunday’s Gold Cup final, Brek Shea could be taking a victory lap at PPL Park.
At a joint press conference Monday, Stoke City manager Mark Hughes said that Shea was scheduled to meet up with his English Premier League team in time for Tuesday’s international friendly pitting the host Philadelphia Union against Stoke City (7:30 pm ET).
The exhibition will be the final destination of Stoke City’s three-game US tour this month, with previous stops in Houston and Dallas.
“We’re all waiting to congratulate him,” Hughes said. “If he’s fit and well, he will be training with us this evening and hopefully we can give him some game time tomorrow.”
Many Union players will also likely be waiting to congratulate Shea, who scored twice in the Gold Cup, including the only goal in the US national team’s 1-0 win over Panama in Sunday’s championship.
One of those players will be Union starting right back Sheanon Williams, who was close friends with Shea while the two were at U-17 residency camp together.
“It’s crazy to see where he is now as to where he was when we were 17,” Williams said. “He was kind of on the outskirts and lacking a little bit of confidence. He had a great year at FC Dallas and now he’s at Stoke and playing for the national team. His progression as a player has been huge.”
The Union will also be quite familiar with two of Shea’s Stoke City teammates – fellow USMNT players Geoff Cameron and Maurice Edu.
Philadelphia manager John Hackworth called it “an honor” that the Union will play an English Premier League team for the fourth straight year. Getting the chance to see Shea, Cameron, Edu – all players Hackworth used to coach while in the US national team system – is an added bonus.
“I think it’s pretty unique that you have three Americans playing on one EPL side right now,” Hackworth said. “I’ve been fortunate to be around those guys and to coach all three of them. It will be good to see them and I’m hoping they’ll be successful this preseason.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at email@example.com.