Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Maurice Edu is finally a member of the Philadelphia Union.
The Union announced the completion of the long-awaited deal on Monday, signing Edu to a season-long loan with an option to buy. Edu joins the Union as their second Designated Player signing of the offseason. According to MLS, the Union signed Edu through the allocation process. The Union moved to the top spot in a trade with D.C. United before the MLS SuperDraft.
Per team and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“As a U.S. international with experience playing against some of the best competition in the world, Maurice adds a wealth of knowledge, skill and leadership to our club while still being in his prime,” Union head coach John Hackworth said in a statement. “We think he will be an excellent addition to our squad and we are very excited to have him return to MLS and represent the Philadelphia Union.”
The U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder returns to the league after spending the last five and a half years in Europe. Following a year and a half with Toronto FC, Edu moved to Rangers FC in Scotland where he stayed until 2012, when the team was liquidated due to debt and eventually demoted to the fourth tier of Scottish soccer.
Edu moved to Stoke City in August 2012 but never broke into the lineup or even the game day squad. The 27-year-old made just one appearance for Stoke under Tony Pulis and has never been in the game day squad under current manager Mark Hughes. Edu spent a half-season on loan last spring with Bursaspor in Turkey, making 13 total appearances.
Edu is the latest American player to return back to MLS this winter in likely search of playing time ahead of this summer’s World Cup, following Michael Parkhurst, Michael Bradley, and even Clint Dempsey and Clarence Goodson from last summer. Edu most recently played with the USMNT in their scoreless draw against Mexico at Estadio Azteca. However, with little playing time at Stoke, Edu wasn’t a part of either the rest of the World Cup qualification games or even the Gold Cup squad.
After a quiet offseason, the Union have recently sprang to life with a number of recent acquisitions. The Union took former UConn goalkeeper Andre Blake with the first overall selection at the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and they signed Argentine winger Cristian Maidana as a Designated Player on Jan. 15.
MLS released a statement on their league-run website stating why Edu went through the allocation order despite being a Designated Player signing. Both the Dempsey and Bradley signings were exempt from the allocation process.
The MLS statement reads: “As with most aspects of the business, the league, in consultation with the clubs, reviews the roster rules on an annual basis and reserves the right to modify them prior to each season. The amendment to the assignment mechanism for Designated Players will be reflected in the 2014 roster rules that will be released prior to the start of the season.”
What do you think of this news? Where does the Union midfield stack up against the rest of MLS? Do you think Edu can earn a recall to the USMNT?
Share your thoughts below.