Union players reported to the power training complex on Monday for physicals. Ahead of the much-anticipated start to preseason camp, there were reports of two players who could be joining the Union on a trial. The Union also announced their new away (secondary) jersey last night. Yesterday was a very busy day as Union preseason opened. Let’s look at the possible new players coming to camp, and then we’ll look at the sleek new secondary jersey.
Rumor: @PhilaUnion to acquire NYRB's HG rights to Akron AM/CM Adam Najem, one of best mids in college soccer – didn't want NYRB low $ offer. https://t.co/5umneaJSXf
— Union Rumors (@UnionRumors) January 23, 2017
Once A Metro, and Goal.com have reported that Red Bull home-grown product, Adam Najem, has already had his rights traded to the Union. The 22-year-old midfielder has spent time with the college powerhouse Akron. NYRB apparently did not want spend above the minimum payment for the home-grown player; $51,500. Najem would have been a top 10 draft pick if he was eligible to go to MLS SuperDraft this year. He can play the 10, and also be a deeper player at the eight. It seems like he is more comfortable as a the attacking playmaker, but if he comes to the Union where does he play?
If this young, potential star player, does make it on the Union roster he will likely be “one for the future” Baring injuries to more established Union players, Najem seems to sit behind others on the depth chart. He likely will be second at the 10 behind Alberg, who deserves his chance to start. Najem should be third on the depth chart behind Bedoya, and Derrick Jones who continues to get overlooked at the number eight, even by me! Najem would be a great addition to this Union team who is continuing to get younger talent!
According to Bild, reported by Jonny Walsh, and NBC a pacey striker/winger could be headed to Philly for a preseason trial! Fafà Picault is a 25-year-old who can play center forward and the wing. His pace makes him have a major upside, his attitude may not. He is out at his 2.Bundesliga side FC St. Pauli because of behavior issues. If he comes to camp and shines, I expect he gets signed. Fafà did make one appearance for the USMNT back in May; he played 19 minutes in a 3-1 win over Puerto Rico. If another USMNT member comes to the Union, where does he fit best?
Picault, is a striker by nature, but the Union have three on the roster already. Coming into camp, Fafà is fourth behind Sapong, Simpson and Davies. It’s likely he will be competing for a different spot on the field. Right-wing and left-wing are spots that need depth. Right wing has Ilsinho and Herbers fighting for the starting spot; Picault would add a third option to that side of the field. On the left side, it’s Pontius or bust! It’s likely that Fafà would be second on the depth chart on the left-wing should he make the team. The Union do have Ayuk who can play there, and drafted Marcus Epps who could cover that spot; however, Picault would be a better option than those two.
New Away Jersey:
The Union secondary jersey was released yesterday by the team! The new kit kept white as the secondary color, but added blue sleeves that the home jersey has. The shoulders have the three gold stripes like the old away shirts had, but down the side of the jersey has one long blue stripe. The badge is moved from the center, to the left side of the jersey. The patch is also a white and navy badge, reminiscent of the Union’s iconic Bethlehem Steel third kit badge. All in all, the new kit looks sharp, also the way the Union released it was very unique!
Yo @MTV we got a banger remix for you pic.twitter.com/nY3n90H58E
— PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) January 23, 2017
The Union start their preseason camp today! We will see if these two reported players are there! Come back to Philly Sports Network for more preseason coverage late! Until then, peace out Union fans.
Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports