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Philadelphia Union loans defender Matt Real to Colorado Springs Switchbacks



Photo by Carl Gulbish

Philadelphia Union defender Matt Real will be reunited with former Bethlehem Steel teammates James Chambers, Matt Mahoney and Zach Zandi with a loan move to the Colorado Springs Switchbacks for the remainder of the 2024 season.

The Union announced the loan deal of the seldom used defender – Real last saw the field in the Leagues Cup last July – on Thursday.

Real, 24, a Drexel Hill native, turned pro from the Union’s academy in 2017 with Bethlehem Steel and then signed a homegrown contract in 2018. Real has 50 appearances with the first team and has recorded two goals and four assists. Real has contributed on the left side of the pitch, usually playing as a reserve option at left back, though he sometimes moved to the midfield.

Internationally, Real has played for the U.S. Men’s Under-20 National Team, appearing in the Concacaf U-20 Championship as a team captain and coming off the bench in the 2019 U-20 World Cup. He made additional appearances for both the Under-16 and Under-18 Youth National Teams.

The Switchbacks have struggled in the early going under first-year coach James Chambers, a former Bethlehem Steel captain who was promoted to head coach in the offseason. Colorado Springs sits at the bottom of the Western Conference standings and is the only team in the league that still hasn’t earned a point. Chambers, Real, Mahoney and Zandi all played together during Real’s first professional season in 2017. Switchbacks sporting director Stephen Hogan is a former assistant coach with Bethlehem Steel.

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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