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Philadelphia Union Hire Rene Meulensteen as....Something?

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The writing was on the wall for the hiring of some type of techincal or sporting director. Meulensteen will be a consultant instead, which is only good news.

Steve Bardens

The Philadelphia Union had a major announcement just one week after their last major announcement. Much like the previous one, everyone seemed to know what it was about. Yes, it involved Rene Meulensteen. Yes, Jay Sugarman was there speaking for the first time in his life as far as we know it. There wasn't, however, the hire of Meulensteen directly with the club and no, Nick Sakiewicz was not let go of his role.

Rene Meulensteen was officially labeled as a consultant to the club, overseeing the entirety of the soccer operations. His role wasn't exactly defined, but from bits and pieces dropped in the presser, he has the ability to consult just about anything he wants. Most notably, how the academy moves forward and how to go about acquiring first team players. Meulensteen can undoubtedly utilize his connections in the soccer world to identify targets and perhaps aid in signing any player identified. A small note was his involvement at practice, which was something mentioned by Jim Curtin. As noted by our friends at Cottagers Confidential, Meulensteen's best tools are in practice and preparation. If Curtin can learn from or even use Meulensteen's consulting in that way, then the first team will be improving week in and week out.

Sugarman continued to reiterate the need for a sporting director in some capacity, and that the right person for the position will be found. Meulensteen not being that person shows that his position is very temporary, and that a sporting director will be their top priority in the months to come.

Aside from Meulensteen, other roles in the business were more strictly defined by Jay Sugarman. As for the upcoming drafts, Jim Curtin and Chris Albright will be in charge of making the personnel decisions. Curtin and his staff are responsible for preparing the team for matches. In regards to Nick Sakiewicz, well there was no elaboration on his role besides this Sugarman quote: "Nick and his team will focus on building a business..."

There is wiggle room there, because those roles are not nearly as defined as Meulensteen's or Curtin's, but it will be very curious to see if Sakiewicz has any role in personnel from here on out. Sugarman vaguely outlined his vision for the team in not only building a competitive first team but also a great academy. A step forward is to redefine the roles within the club and he has done so. Adding in outside help from a well known coach in European football cannot hurt. Only time will tell, however, if this plan is going to work.