By JOEY SAMUEL
The Philadelphia Union added another piece to their young nucleus on Monday, signing 18-year-old Cristhian Hernandez as the team's third-ever Homegrown player.
Hernandez, who immigrated to the United States from Mexico as a child, debuted for the Union in a friendly last July against Premier League side Everton FC. He quickly made a name for himself in that contest, coming off the bench to score a late winner in a 1-0 Union victory. Hernandez also appeared for the Union in reserve matches last year.
A product of the Philadelphia Union Academy, the young forward previously played for youth club Players Development Academy, a Union affiliate. His strong play in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy led him to be named the 2010-11 Player of the Year for the U-17/18 age level.
Hernandez is the third player to be signed as a Homegrown player by the Union. They added midfielder Zach Pfeffer, then only 15 years old, in December 2010, and they added 18-year-old midfielder Jimmy McLaughlin in December 2011. Unlike Pfeffer and McLaughlin, Hernandez will occupy an international roster spot.
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