Aaron Wheeler celebrates a goal for Tampa Bay. (Photo by Reading Rage).
That tall defender that no one could connect a name to? Turns out he's not a defender at all. In fact the 6'4" player is a striker and a former PDL MVP.
Aaron Wheeler, most recently with Miami FC in the NASL, has been training with the Philadelphia Union all week and managed to be the last of six trial player to be identified. The forward joins a list of trialists that include Jeremiah White, Keon Daniel, Chris Agorsor, Thorne Holder and Michael Farfan's brother, Gabriel.
BigSoccer.com user Zman Gunner had this to say about his identification of Wheeler and the process it undertook:
Aaron Wheeler was suggested as a possible name; however, there was some conflicting info which made the suggestion be initially questioned (1. rumor that trialist #6's name was Andrew [and Aaron has a 6'4" older brother named Andrew who also played pro soccer in USL but he did not seem to be a possible trialist now]; 2. rumor than the player was a defender [Andrew was a forward - Aaron has also played mainly as a forward but also played as a defender in his early college years - similar to what Ryan Richter did at LaSalle]). The PDL MVP won at Reading likely scored Wheeler major points in terms of gaining a Union trial and the goal scored against the Union last Spring may have been the icing on the cake to get him to YSC now.
Nowak & Hackworth have increased the necessary qualifications to trial for the team - we have full national team players (White, Daniel), youth national teamers (Holder, Farfan, Agorsor) and PDL MVPs (Wheeler) - last spring, there were players in camp who were not even playing in pro leagues or PDL. As other have noted, some of the Union Supplemental draft picks or younger trialists may end up with Harrisburg City so Nowak & Hackworth can keep tabs on them.
James Doyle, of Zolo Nation, has a great collage (once again) of photos of Wheeler training and game-day pictures.
We'll have a recap of all of the trialists and some thoughts about today's practice tomorrow.