MLS- Philadelphia Union

Union sign former USMNT defender Onyewu

Oguchi Onyewu

Former United States Men’s National Team defender Oguchi Onyewu has finally found a home, and it’s in Philadelphia.

Onyewu, who has trialed for several teams since he last played for Charlton Athletic in 2015, has been signed by the Philadelphia Union as a discovery signing, the team announced on Monday. Onyewu joins a Union team coming off of a strong 2016 that ended with a disappointing early playoff exit.

“Oguchi is a big, physical presence who brings experience and veteran professionalism, important traits that we believe will be an asset for our group of young defenders,” said Philadelphia Union sporting director Earnie Stewart. “He provides excellent depth at the centerback position and we are pleased that we were able to add him to our squad.”

The former USMNT standout featured in 69 appearances for country, including joining the team for the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, and has over 350 career appearances for club and country combined, with time spent all over Europe.

Onyewu hasn’t played professionally since leaving Charlton Athletic in 2015, and has been frequently derailed from a comeback by injuries.

  • TheFrenchOne

    I hope this story has a happy ending for Gooch. Never the most skilled player, but he gave it his all for the USMNT.


    • BW

      Agreed. Is this why he does not go through the allocation process? Sometimes I give up trying to understand MLS.


      • adam

        not like there were a ton of suitors….you want free agency, here it is….


      • Old School

        No idea. I do wonder if he would have signed with MLS a few years ago instead of we didn’t have this charade of a signing process and he could have selected a club of his choosing.

        I’m still baffled at the prospect of “retired” European players coming to our league picking who they want to sign with, meanwhile, servants of the national team that have represented our country have to jump through hoops…only to generally not choose who they can play for.

        Mickey Mouse indeed.


    • OneManWolfpack

      Are you implying the Union… the UNION… of all teams had a bias in signing a 34 year old backup former (by quite a few years) USMNT player. That’s the definition of a stretch if I ever saw one. He’s a depth signing. That’s all. While I do agree the “Discovery” signing or whatever it was is stupid… it’s not like the Union just grabbed Pulisic via an back door LA Galaxy move.


  • danny kissinger

    I doubt he will have much of a contribution at all. Maybe if he joined 4 or 5 years ago. Also, his style of play (big, strong, aerial presense combined with no possession/passing skills) is no longer suitable for even most MLS teams. The problem is that at his age and injury hisitory, he might not even be to have those strengths anymore.


    • AKinDC

      True, he’s clearly not a started any more, but if you’re up by a goal late and want to bring someone in to help deal with the barrages of desperate crosses into the box that are coming, I’d be happy he was available.


  • Gary Page

    What took him so long? He should have made a move to MLS a couple of years ago. The lure of Europe must have been strong.


    • AKinDC

      Injuries…lots of injuries. This isn’t the first time in the last few years he’s tried to get back to MLS.


  • Ronniet

    The idea that he will not contribute, at all, is a bit of an assumption and naive to say. I don’t think the Union would waste a roster spot of a 34 y/o, injury plagued player, if they didn’t think he could help the team. Alot of comments make it seem like this is some kind of sympathy signing, or because he formerely played with the NT, but it seems more like a signing that can help the club in some capacity. No one has seen Gooch play in years, for all we know he has fully recovered(evidenced by the signing)and has shown to be a help. Let’s see how it plays out before assuming the worst!


  • troy2

    Gooch was a big part of the Confederations Cup game vs. Spain…and we all know how that ended up!

    He was also signed to AC Milan, quickly got injured, and then forfeited his salary while healing up. While he never recovered fully and that was clearly his peak, I always respected him for his courageous play and actions off the field.

    He is the real “Gooch”. Please do not call that younger guy Gooch anymore. Find another name for him. Let’s call him Gooch Jr. or Goochito.


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