A new year brings about change, which is especially true for five promising young players who officially are now part of the Philadelphia Union.
Having already signed pre-contracts, the calendar change to Jan. 1, 2021 means Paxten Aaronson, Brandan Craig, Nathan Harriel, Jack McGlynn and Quinn Sullivan have been added to the Union's roster as Homegrown players.
In order of signing, Harriel was the first of this group, with the Union acquiring the outside back's Homegrown rights in a trade with Orlando City SC and signing the 19-year-old on July 17. Harriel joined the Union's academy in 2018 after three years with Chargers Soccer Club in Clearwater, Florida. He's spent the last two years competing for Philadelphia Union II in the USL Championship.
McGlynn was signed exactly a month later. The 17-year-old box-to-box midfielder led Union II with five goals and three assists in over 1,100 minutes of play. Two days later, the Union inked Aaronson, Branden's 17-year-old brother. Making 14 appearances and 10 starts, Aaronson scored his first USL goal on September 3 against Atlanta United 2.
Just days after claiming the Supporters' Shield, the first trophy in their history, Philadelphia continued to look toward a bright future, announcing the signing of academy products Brandan Craig and Quinn Sullivan on Nov. 12. The duo are the 16th and 17th Homegrown signings in club history and, with both aged 16, also two of the youngest.
Craig, who was the youngest player on Union II yet wore the captain's armband, played as a center back for the USL Championship side, but will be a No. 6 with the Union, according to sporting director Ernst Tanner, while Sullivan worked his way up the Union pyramid, working his way up the club's academy fro U-12 to U-19.
Although there's a lot of new for the five promising players, as rookies, some things stay the same, like being the subject of some ribbing from a wily veteran like Alejandro Bedoya.