The Philadelphia Union are one of the leading MLS clubs in regards to youth development, transferring two homegrown players – midfielder Brenden Aaronson and center back Mark McKenzie – overseas this winter.
As it turns out, US men's national team and Lille forward Tim Weah nearly became that duo's academy teammate if his club pathway hadn't shifted to Paris Saint-Germain, Celtic FC and his current Ligue 1 side. Weah revealed as much during his guest appearance on the "Orange Slices" podcast, hosted by McKenzie and former MLS defender Heath Pearce, saying he would have joined Philly's academy if he hadn't gone to Europe.
"Philly has a great academy," Weah, 21, said. "I was going to go to Philly at one point, I'm not gonna lie, before I came to Europe. We came out to visit the Union and I was going to come to the club. The way they run their academy and the way they have that residency program is amazing. I feel like every team needs to do that because that's what these European clubs have and that's what they have over us.
"All these kids are together 24/7, going to school, playing together, living together. They're building that bond and I think it just makes it better for the player. Sometimes you have to make those sacrifices if you want to get to the next level."