Jim Curtin signs contract extension with Philadelphia Union

Jim Curtin - Philadelphia Union

Jim Curtin is sticking with the Philadelphia Union.

The second-longest serving head coach in Major League Soccer has pledged his long-term future to the Eastern Conference club he's overseen since 2014, as the Union announced Tuesday the two-time Sigi Schmid MLS Coach of the Year has signed a contract extension through 2026.

Curtin, whose previous deal was set to expire after the 2023 MLS season, has led Philadelphia to the 2020 MLS Supporters' Shield and an MLS Cup 2022 appearance. They've also made two Concacaf Champions Cup semifinals in the past three years (2021 and '23), as well as three US Open Cup finals (2014, '15, '18).

"Jim is one of the top coaches in the league and we’re thrilled to have come to an agreement to extend his leadership with the Union," Philadelphia principal owner Jay Sugarman said in a release. "We have set high goals for the club in the coming years and Jim is an essential part of achieving those goals.

"As we build towards the 2026 World Cup here in Philadelphia, Jim’s leadership is critical to the team’s success and I look forward to watching our players and this team continue to hit new milestones under his direction."

Curtin, 44, initially took over the Union on an interim basis one decade ago before getting the permanent role. Philadelphia's owners showed patience with Curtin as he grew from their academy to the first team, leading to a 147W-115L-75D record across all competitions and earning MLS's year-end coach award in both 2020 and 2022.

The Union have developed a reputation as one of MLS's top youth development-focused clubs, with Curtin's tenure marked by lucrative transfers of homegrowns Brenden Aaronson, Paxten Aaronson and Mark McKenzie to European teams. Auston Trusty, after time at the Colorado Rapids, also moved overseas.

Curtin's team often plays in an aggressive 4-4-2 diamond formation, though has shown flexibility to adapt based on matchups.

"Jim continues to bring this team to new heights year after year, proving himself to be one of the most successful coaches in the league as a two-time Coach of the Year," Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a release.

"His commitment and passion for winning, developing our young players, and steadfast loyalty to this club and city speak volumes to who he is as a coach and as a person. His continued leadership will prove to be crucial to our club strategy going forward."

Philadelphia aren't among the biggest spenders in MLS, instead leaning on Curtin to guide their homegrown player pipeline and signings often coming from untraditional or overlooked backgrounds. Their three Designated Players are star midfielder Dániel Gazdag and strikers Julián Carranza and Mikael Uhre, while goalkeeper Andre Blake and midfielder Alejandro Bedoya often sport the captain's armband.

Curtin was linked to the US men's national team in recent months before Gregg Berhalter's eventual return. The former MLS defender, in the buildup to the 2026 World Cup being co-hosted by the US, also described a USMNT assistant role as an honor that coaches should welcome.

Under Curtin, Philadelphia have made the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs all but one year since 2016. In growing from a sputtering expansion side to an MLS powerhouse, they've enjoyed steady consistent and steady progress under the Pennsylvania native.