The Philadelphia Union kicked off its 12th season as a team in MLS on Sunday with just one player who grew up in the area on the field in Newark, Del.-native Anthony Fontana, but he was far from the only player with local ties to play on opening weekend.
Former Union teammates Keegan Rosenberry and Auston Trusty both started on the back line in the Colorado Rapids’ scoreless draw, Lancaster native Russell Canouse scored in DC United’s season-opening win, former Union teammates Fafa Picault started and Derrick Jones came off the bench for the Houston Dynamo and former Reading United star Paul Marie scored a beautiful goal just to a name a few of the highlights.
There are 14 former Union players on MLS rosters to start the season (four from the first roster in 2010) and eight players on non-Union MLS rosters who spent time in the Philadelphia Union Academy but never played for the first team. There’s another 16 players who spent time with Reading United, three with Ocean City Nor’easters and one with Lehigh Valley United in USL League Two.
There are 13 players who grew up or have lived in the region, not including the local natives on the Union roster who weren’t recruited to the area for the academy (Fontana, Matt Freese, Matt Real, Paxten Aaronson, Brandan Craig and Quinn Sullivan).
Alex Bono, Goalkeeper, played for Reading United 2013-14