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Thursday Kickoff: Union fields 15-year old, Kingson signs with Blackpool and more

Lost amid the U.S. Open Cup action and SuperLiga on Wednesday night was the Philadelphia Union's friendly against Chivas Guadalajara at PPL Park.

The friendly itself didn't really matter much, but the news that the Union fielded a 15-year-old academy player surely does.

Philadelphia fielded U.S. youth national team defender Zach Pfeffer, a 15-year old who just may be the youngest player (not named Freddy Adu) to ever wear an MLS uniform in an official match before. Isn't yet a Philly Union Homegrown Player, but his appearance for the Union on Wednesday would suggest he is a strong candidate to be the club's first.

Teen striker Jack McInerney, an old man compared to Pfeffer at 18, provided the lone goal in Philly's 1-0 victory.

Here are some other stories to get your Thursday going:


While it has been a relatively slow transfer window for American players, Ghanaian players have seen some major moves on the transfer market. Kevin Prince-Boateng is heading to AC Milan, Asamoah Gyan recently signed an eight-figure transfer to Sunderland, and now standout goalkeeper Richard Kingson has signed with newly-promoted English club Blackpool.

Kingson joins Blackpool as a free agent after enjoying a stellar World Cup for the Black Stars, including a quality performance in the victory against the United States.


After spending years playing in England with Everton, Mikel Arteta has long been believed to be a foreign-born player who might be able to give the English national team a boost if he were ever naturalized as an English citizen.

That scenario won't be happening.

According to a FIFA source, Arteta would not be eligible to play for England if he applied because he represented Spain on the youth national team level and was not already eligible for England at the time of that representation.

With Spain loaded in midfield, Arteta's national team chances are slim with his native country, but he had been considered a possible option for England. Even with the new development, there were already questions about whether Arteta would be allowed to play for England.


What do you think of these developments? Suprised to see Philly field a 15-year old? Think Kingson can be a starter in the Premier League? Disappointed that Arteta won't be able to play for England?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Good point. But I do believe that eligibly rules are not stringent enough. In an ideal world Najar and Mwanga should play for their respective homelands if at all possible. To me that is the fair thing to do. Realistically speaking, unless FIFA modifies and strengths the criteria, it is only natural for a player to want to play for a club or in this case country that gives them the best chance at winning or advancing their career. I’m not saying the U.S. team is stacked with world class talent, but given the option, I think most would at least consider this. It would be ignorant for the U.S. not to reciprocate. I don’t blame Arteta considering Spain’s depth nor England for the attempt. It just reeks of desperation to me.

  2. Arteta will not play for England I said this before even if he was eligible. Alumnia wanted to play for England and is eligible to play for England, but Capello and other Eng nat team coaches do not call him up, because he is Spanish by birth and by blood. Arteta is too. In all honestly, England does need better keepers so what if the best keeper England can get isn’t English. 😀

  3. Yeah and you’re an idiot! Magallon was almost a clone of Rafa Marquez until an injury sidelined him for almost a year killling his chances of a stating eleven in South Africa. He could play anywhere in Europe!

  4. Desperation?

    I’m sure if we’re able to cap Mwanga and Najar in the coming years, it will have no stench of desperation though…right?

  5. In context that makes more sense, though it does pretty much kill the concept of a player establishing residency in a country then playing for that country.

  6. Desperation? How about the fabulous Mason brothers, Marco and Michael, called up from the dregs of, what Bundesliga II? Or how about the David Wagner experiment? Sampson’s awesome quote on him, “He plays well with his back to goal.” Yah, okay Steve.

    It was definitely desperation.

  7. Well the rules have always something to complain about, but they have to set the limits somewhere.

    What FIFA wants is to prohibit certain countries buying promising young (and poor) players to their national teams. In track & field a country like Qatar is pretty good on long distance runs, but all their athletes have been born in Africa.

    So what FIFA sees as a possibility is that some day a wealthy country with a mediocre national team offers, let’s say 5 million dollars, to every player on the Brazil or Ghana U21 team to represent them. A few of them will surely accept the offer and suddenly they have great players. And then we see Brazil vs Brazil matches in the World Cup.

  8. The desperation lies in the idea that getting players like Arteta to play for England will be some revelation and/or revitalization to the system. It’s only a partial and/or temporary solution to the fundamental issues that surround the English national team.

  9. That rule is precisely so you can’t play for one country at youth or friendly level, then move somewhere, establish residency and play for another country. That’s why Yura Movsisyan wouldn’t be able to play for the US even if he got his citizenship a few years from now — you have to be a dual citizen at the time of your first international appearance in order to change your mind later.

  10. I played against that kid just last year in a high school game! That’s quite a jump he made from playing me to one year later playing jonny magallon!

  11. I dont see how it is desperation if it is within the rules. Okay, Arteta is ineligible but is Germany desperate because they took Klose, Podolski, Cacau, etc.? Is Italy desperate because they took Camoranesi? Is France desperate because they took Vieira in 1998? These players are all foreign born and were eligible to play for two countries.

    So should we not take Jermaine Jones then? Does that reek of desperation? I would say that we should take the guy if he is eligible and better than what we have at defensive midfield (a.k.a Ricardo Clark).

    Maybe Algeria should not been allowed to play with the French second team in WC 2010?

  12. Leave it to the English to have a three month national debate on the merits of not doing something that they’re not allowed to do anyway.

  13. If that smells of desperation, what did the US team reek of from ’94 through the dawn of the 21st century–Dooley, Llamos, Regis, just to name a few. We have taken in a host of players that weren’t good enough to play for their native countries, but were good enough to play for us.

  14. Why does it reek of desperation? Do you think Arteta is not good enough for England? Just wonderin’ what your reasoning is. I think he would add creativity to England’s midfield. Now it looks like FIFA will deny him a chance.

    The folks in England are staunchly opposed to a naturalized citizen playing for their country anyway. The commentators, press, fans, etc. seem to mostly be of the opinion that it just wouldn’t be right to let Arteta play. So what does it mean to be English? Do you have to be born in England? They seem to be okay with second and third generation immigrants that are born in the country just not someone swapping countries to play?

    Every other European country besides Spain (who won) and England (who had a dismal performance) used foreign born players on their roster in WC 2010. While Spain’s development system is good enough for them not to have to use foreign born players, England should look into what the other countries are doing (like Germany).

    Oh and England’s citizenship laws are tough. It takes 5 years to get a passport and that is only if you are on a certain type of work permit. If you have a kid in the UK and you don’t have a passport (even if you are on a work permit and are a legal resident), the kid doesn’t automatically get citizenship either. So it’s a lot different than the US.

  15. What a great experience for that kid. MLS really need strong youth programs so chances like this can be given to our future players. It’s even more important to have youth programs when the reserve league gets back in so these guys can get experience playing with older, better players. Hopefully teams can continue to expand their player pools with young guys.

  16. A freindly isnt an official match for purposes of apperances Ives.

    Additionally, how can he be a Homegrown Player when the team hasnt even been around long enogh to have the required residency in the program to be desginated Homegrown..was he capped before or after he joined with the Union? If before, he can’t be a Homgrown.

  17. I agree with you the rule is dumb but I think you’re combining FIFA and England rules. The “must have been eligible for country B while representing country A at youth level” thing is a FIFA rule. The “he’s lived in England for 5 years and thus would qualify for England” is an English rule. Compare that to America, where you can live here for any amount of years but aren’t eligible for anything until you apply for citizenship which takes a long time.

  18. Is it me or does that rule not make any sense? You can be eligible to play for a country after 5 years of residency…oh, except if you played anywhere as a U20 you must have had a passport to the country you might eventually move to later.

  19. I was at the Union friendly last night and sat right behind some of Zach Pfeffer’s family members. They were so excited to see him enter the game, and Zach was blushing and grinning from ear to ear when he went into the game. He played extremely well and it was the highlight of the night to see him enter the game!

  20. Saw that. They said some nice things about him and how he should have found a team by now.

    I found the fact that Jay said “things haven’t worked as planned” very interesting. Seems he was after a PL team either in England or one of the other top leagues and no one was biting.

    I put my money on a return to MLS. At his age, if he can’t find a top tier league, I think he’d like to spend his last couple years playing at home on a 300k salary.

  21. The Six degrees of Freddy Adu. He is the Kevin Bacon of Football, you could probably link him to everybody/club seeing that he has been so many places by the age of 21.

  22. “Philadelphia fielded U.S. youth national team defender Zach Pfeffer, a 15-year old who just may be the youngest player to ever wear an MLS uniform in an official match before.”

    Freddy Adu?

    (SBI-Yep, I actually blanked on that whole circus. Maybe I just blocked it out of my mind.)


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