Brenden Aaronson has been a bright spot for the Philadelphia Union this season and the homegrown product was rewarded on Wednesday by U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter.
Aaronson was named to Berhalter’s 24 player roster for upcoming Concacaf Nations League matches against Cuba and Canada after putting in a strong debut MLS season in 2019. The Medford, N.J. native was the only fresh face in Berhalter’s squad which follows the likes of Miles Robinson and Paxton Pomykal, who were called in for the first time in September.
“It’s similar lines to what we are talking about with other guys like Miles and Paxton,” Berhalter said in a conference call on Wednesday. “What I like about Brenden is he’s playing for a team that is competing in the top of the Eastern Conference in MLS. He’s been playing all year and been consistent in his effort. We want to bring guys in and expose them to the senior national team and the way we do things.”
“It’s all about seeing how Brenden takes info in and that opportunity to work with these players so down the road he will be familiar with them going forward. He’s an extremely young, but talented player and I think he deserves this opportunity after playing well with Philadelphia.”
Aaronson broke onto the scene this season with the Union and has made 27 league appearances for Jim Curtin’s squad. Playing alongside the likes of veterans Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin, Aaronson has learned plenty in 2019 and has registered three goals and one assist in MLS.
After appearing for the U.S. Under-23 team in a September camp under new head coach Jason Kreis, Aaronson is being rewarded with a jump up to the senior team. It may not be a long-term stay for the midfielder just yet, but it’s one that is among his goals each and every season.
“I always have goals and I set them before the season,” Aaronson said following training on Wednesday. “My goal is always to be the best I can be every single year. If I can make the national team that year, that’s my goal.”
“It just came so quick and it’s been a crazy year. I [have to] thank the coaching staff, my teammates, Haris [Medunjanin], [Alejandro] Bedoya, all of the older guys that have taken me in and all the chances I’ve got. I’m so thankful for that.”
Aaronson is the third current homegrown product to earn a senior call up, following teammates Auston Trusty and Mark McKenzie, who were part of the USMNT January camp. The midfielder has one final MLS regular season match, Sunday at Talen Energy Stadium against NYCFC, before meeting up with the USMNT in D.C.
“My parents were the first ones I told [about the call-up]. I was going crazy in the house. It’s just awesome,” Aaronson said. “I think I’m a pretty humble guy that I like to keep stuff down. I’ll wait for all the stuff to come out and then I’ll let people talk about it. I like to keep that stuff to myself.”