CHESTER, PA - JULY 20: Forward Christian Hernandez #31 of the Philadelphia Union controls the ball during a game against Everton at PPL Park on July 20, 2011 in Chester, Pennsylvania. The Union won 1-0. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Zach Pfeffer may not remain the Philadelphia Union's only Home Grown Player signing for long, as academy star Christian Hernandez may soon join the club's first team.
His junior year of high school has been great for Hernandez, who is the star of the nation's best high school team in the country. St. Benedict's has ranked at number one on ESPN Rise's ranking list for most of the 2011 season. At his last game with St. Benedict's, Hernandez told ESPN Rise high school soccer reporter Sheldon Shealer that he plans on going pro. Shealer went on to say that he wasn't surprised by Hernandez's decision, because he considers him a "stud."
As a member of the Union's academy system, Hernandez is able to sign with the Union as a Home Grown Player once he qualifies under MLS' rules for Home Grown Players. Any Home Grown Player must have spent at least one year in a club's youth system, along with unlisted league criteria, in order to for the team to be able to sign the player as a Home Grown prodct.
Hernandez is rated highly enough that there have been discussions about his decision about his national team future. The New Jersey resident is eligible for both the United States Men's National Team and the Mexican National Team.
The 18-year-old was named as US Soccer's under-17/under-18 player of the season for 2010-2011 year, and scored the game winner in the Union's 1-0 friendly victory over English Premier League side Everton. Hernandez helped the Player Development Academy, one of the Union's many affiliate academies, to a 7-2-1 record in division last year, and a spot in the academy Finals, afters scoring 16 goals in 26 games.