Jakob Glesnes
Courtesy Stromsgodset

Jakob Glesnes already impressing with Philadelphia Union

It didn't take long for the newest member of the Philadelphia Union to make a strong impression on head coach Jim Curtin.

In fact, the first pass center back Jakob Glesnes struck while wearing Philly's crest after his transfer from Stromsgodset set the bar pretty high. 

"The first ball that he played in training was about a 60-yard diagonal ball that never left the height of my head. And I'm 6-foot-4," Curtin told reporters on a conference call this week. "It was a rope. From that point on, he's left a great impression every day in training."

Glesnes, 25, landed with the club after a few standout seasons in Norway, where he already became Stromsgodset's captain despite his young age. Philly reached an agreement for his transfer and added him to the rosters as a TAM player, one that comes with expectations. 

"He did very well in the shutout versus Chicago," Curtin said of Glesnes' preseason debut. "You see his confidence on the ball, willingness to advance the ball and he can pass through the lines. Like I've always said, you need a good stable of center backs. We have four very good ones and we're going to need all four. There will be healthy competition. Jakob has come in, brought a great level of professionalism at a young age and brought quality right away, I've been happy with him." 

Glesnes joins Jack Elliott, Mark McKenzie and Aurelien Collin. The club traded Auston Trusty to the Colorado Rapids earlier this offseason. 

With McKenzie's involvement with the US national team, making his senior debut last weekend as well as his expected participation with the U-23 national team in both Olympic qualification in March and potentially the Olympics this summer, all four will be playing a big role with the club. 

"I don't think it's just Mark," Curtin said. "Mark's going to be gone with the national team moving forward and I think Jakob is going to be in Norway's international picture. I think Jack Elliott — whether it's Scotland, England or even the United States — has national team potential. That is why we needed four good center backs because all of these guys have the potential to play for their national team. We felt a real need to be deep at that position."