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Philadelphia Union Development Squad joining NPSL



After a successful fall playing in the UPSL, the Philadelphia Union Development Squad will be competing in the National Premier Soccer League this summer, the amateur league announced earlier this month.

The Union Development Squad features players who for the most part have aged out of the MLS Next program, providing a platform for college recruitment and a bridge between MLS Next and MLS Next Pro, the professional league Philadelphia Union II competes in.

“We truly appreciate and respect the Union’s commitment to player development, and we believe that we are a great fit because our philosophies are so closely aligned,” NPSL Chairman Kenny Farrell stated in a news release. “This announcement is evidence of how far the NPSL has come with a club of this level choosing the NPSL as their partner in player development.”

The NPSL recently became the only league to be designated by the United States Adult Soccer Association as a Tier 1 national league.

“Since announcing our Tier I status with USASA, we have seen an influx of applications to the league and from high quality brands such as the Philadelphia Union,” NPSL Managing Director Cindy Spera stated in a news release. “The NPSL continues to differentiate itself, and we expect to see more marquee teams show interest in becoming part of the NPSL.”

The announcement didn’t say what conference the UDS will be playing in but they will be joining a number of local teams that compete in the Keystone Conference. That includes Philadelphia Lone Star, Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals, Torch FC and West Chester United in the Philadelphia area. The conference had a total of 11 teams last season, which included an expansion side from PA Classics, Atlantic City FC, Hershey FC and NPSL champion FC Motown among others.

The UDS was launched in 2021. The Union previously eliminated their U19 team when MLS Next was formed out of the ashes of the old U.S. Soccer Development Academy in 2020. The UDS set up friendlies with area teams in their first season and in the fall played in the UPSL, advancing to the UPSL Northeast semifinals before falling to New Jersey Alliance.

Matthew Ralph is the managing editor of Philadelphia Soccer Now / Brotherly Game. He's covered soccer at all levels for many years in the Philadelphia region and has also written for, NPSL, PrepSoccer and other publications. He lives with his wife and two young children in Broomall, Pa., but grew up in South Jersey and is originally from Kansas.

Copyright © 2024 Philadelphia Soccer Now and Brotherly Game

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