Philadelphia Union sign forward CJ Sapong to three-year contract

The Philadelphia Union have signed C.J. Sapong on for the long term, announcing on Wednesday that they’ve inked the 27-year-old striker to a three-year contract.

The new deal replaces Sapong’s prior contract, which, according to a club spokesman, was set to expire after the 2016 season.

“We value the energy C.J. brings every day and we’re very happy to have him committed to our club for the long term,” Philadelphia sporting director Earnie Stewart said in a statement released by the club. “His athleticism and natural finishing abilities make him a true difference maker and we have the utmost confidence he will settle in as a leader for the team, ultimately becoming a building block for our club for years to come.”

Sapong joined the Union in December 2014 in a trade with Sporting Kansas City. The 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year, Sapong missed three games last May while undergoing an assessment by the league’s Substance Abuse and Behavior Health program following a DUI arrest. He ended up appearing in 27 regular season contests, leading the Union with nine goals and adding four assists.

Sapong spent the first four years of his career in Kansas City, notching five goals and five assists in 2011 to pick up Rookie of the Year honors. He added another nine goals in 2012, but scored just six total in 2013 and 2014 before being traded to Philadelphia. Sapong has 29 goals and 13 assists in 137 career MLS appearances, 89 of which have been starts.

The Union are currently in preseason camp in Clearwater, Florida. The team beat the US Under-17s 5-0 in a friendly on Tuesday, and are set to face Eastern Conference foe Chicago Fire in an exhibition on Thursday.