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Report: Union Academy star Cavan Sullivan to stay in Philadelphia



Photo by Don Robson

Philadelphia Union academy standout Cavan Sullivan is set to stay in Philadelphia until a move to Manchester City at 18 years old, according to a report in The Athletic.

Sullivan was previously expected to move to Manchester earlier and be loaned out until age 18, but the recent decision will allow the Union to benefit from the youngster’s talent and reap a sell-on percentage and other financial benefits from Man City.

The Athletic, among others, previously reported that the 14-year-old Sullivan was nearing an agreement with Manchester to move to Belgium side Lommel SK, a member of City Football Group, at 16. After time in Belgium, Sullivan was supposed to move to Manchester City’s first team.

Sullivan is not guaranteed to stay with Philadelphia through his 18th birthday. The Athletic reported that should his talent exceed MLS competition before he is set to move to Manchester, the City Football Group may move Sullivan to a higher-level European club.

Sullivan made his debut with the Union II team over the weekend, registering an assist off the bench with his first-team brother, Quinn, in attendance.

Sullivan is viewed as one of the top young talents in the nation and has been sought after by a number of European clubs. He briefly trialed with Borussia Dortmund and has frequently earned call-ups to the U.S. Youth National Team.

Sullivan’s trajectory with the Union is currently uncertain, as the Union haven’t revealed any plans to sign Sullivan to a senior team contract. However, per the Inquirer‘s Jonathan Tannenwald, the club did offer Sullivan one of the largest homegrown contracts in MLS history to convince him to stay in Philadelphia.

Joe is a junior at Penn State studying journalism and sports studies, among other things. He's covered the Union since 2017 and has written for Brotherly Game / Philadelphia Soccer Now since 2019. He seeks to answer life's greatest questions, such as, "How did I get here?" and "Where is that large automobile?" You can find Joe on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email (

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