TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing
The Philadelphia Union have signed defender Nathan Harriel to a Homegrown contract effective Jan. 1, 2021, the club announced Friday.
To complete the signing, the Union acquired the MLS Homegrown Player rights for Harriel from Orlando City SC in exchange for a 2021 MLS SuperDraft first-round pick. The 19-year-old native of Oldsmar, Florida will report to Philadelphia Union II and play in the USL Championship for the remainder of the 2020 season before joining the first team in 2021.
"Nate is a promising young player who has a lot of potential to thrive in our style of play,” Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner said in Friday's release. “He can dominate wide areas with his speed and looks to play forward quickly after winning the ball. His versatility on the backline makes him a valuable asset to the team and we look forward to watching him develop as he continues to progress through our system.”
Harriel (pictured above) joined the Union academy in 2018 and has played more than 1,800 minutes across 23 USL Championship appearances. The right back has also been capped by the US U-18, U-19, U-20 and U-23 teams, earning six appearances across those four age groups on the youth international circuit. He scored his first youth international goal in a 2-2 draw during a friendly against Mexico.
Orlando City had Harriel's homegrown territorial rights, and he originally played for Tampa Bay area-based youth side Clearwater Chargers, but departed to join the YSC Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania before joining the Union academy and subsequently signing with the club's USL affiliate, then known as Bethleham Steel FC, in 2018. It's a unique circumstance that led to the trade making sense for both sides, Orlando City executive vice president of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi said.
“We were in a unique situation with Nathan,” Muzzi said. “While having his homegrown territorial rights, we understand that particular circumstances made him join Philadelphia and are happy to come to a deal that offers us a valuable first round draft pick and allows us to continue investing in young players to build the future of our organization.”