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Philadelphia Union officially announce signing of wunderkind Cavan Sullivan



Photo by Don Robson

The Philadelphia Union have officially announced the signing of Cavan Sullivan to a first team contract. Sullivan, who signed an MLS record deal, became the youngest player to ever sign with the Union and the fifth-youngest player to ever sign in MLS.

“Cavan is undeniably a rare and extraordinary talent. At just 14 years old, his natural skill and vision are far beyond his years,” said Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner in a press release. “His advanced soccer IQ, paired with his ability to read plays, advance the ball, and score, show just how high his ceiling will be. We are incredibly pleased to have come to an agreement to have Cavan join the Union on his first professional contract and have no doubt on the impact he will make with the club.”

Sullivan has played for the Union’s academy since he was 10 years old, joining the U12 team from FC Delco in 2020. He joins his 20-year-old brother Quinn on the club’s first team as the team’s third set of brothers to play for the Union: Brenden Aaronson (2019-2020) and Paxten Aaronson (2021-2022) and Michael Farfan (2011-2013) and Gabriel Farfan (2011-2013).

Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Union

With the Union’s academy sides, Sullivan has performed well against international competition. In the Generation Adidas Cup in 2023, Sullivan, then 13, took the Union’s U-15 side to the final while beating the likes of Arsenal, Valencia, and Real Madrid. The following year, Sullivan and the U-17 squad won the tournament.

Last year, Sullivan led the U.S. Youth National Team to its first-ever victory in the Concacaf U-15 Championship. Sullivan, with four goals, won the tournament’s Golden Ball award. 

“I’ve been watching my home team, the Union, for as long as I remember and hoped that one day I’d get the chance to play for my city in front of my family, friends, and fans,” Cavan Sullivan said. “Being able to not only play for the Union but to be able to play with my brother is a dream come true. I will give everything I have to this club and hope to help bring home some hardware. I’m thankful for the opportunity and hope to make Philadelphia proud.”

Sullivan’s signing process with the Union took some time for Philadelphia to nail down. The youngster spent time training overseas with the likes of Borussia Dortmund and drew heavy interest from Manchester City. Per The Athletic, Sullivan’s agreement with the Union includes one with Manchester City, in which Sullivan will move to the English side at 18 years old. Unless Manchester City believes Sullivan is too good for MLS before then, Sullivan will wear blue and gold until that point.

A press conference with Sullivan, Head Coach Jim Curtin, Union II Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc, and Philadelphia Union Director of Academy and Professional Development, Jon Scheer, is scheduled for noon on Thursday.

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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