One of the top playmakers in college soccer over the last four years is reportedly heading to the Philadelphia Union.
Ives Galarcep is reporting that a deal that will send the homegrown rights for Adam Najem from New York Red Bulls is expected to be announced today.
According to his report in Goal:
“Najem was believed to be seeking a contract on the higher end of the rookie scale upon his arrival in MLS, with fellow college midfielders Jose Hernandez (Real Salt Lake) and Ian Harkes (D.C. United) signing deals worth $80,000 or more per season. The Red Bulls had other ideas, having offered Najem a minimum-salary deal ($51,500) after his junior season. The offer didn’t improve this winter, leading to a standoff and ultimately a trade before the Red Bulls were to kick off training camp.”
The 22-year-old returned to the University of Akron last fall for his final season after exploring options in Europe (he spent three weeks last spring training with La Liga club La Coruña).
He finished his college career with 33 goals and 29 assists in 89 appearances. He led the Zips to the 2015 College Cup and won a PDL championship in 2016 with the Michigan Bucks.
Primarily an attacking player and set piece specialist much of his career, the Clifton, N.J. native took on a deeper lying midfield role his senior year after Victor Souto was dismissed from the club.
The development of the defensive side of his game to go with his vision, passing and skill on the ball makes Najem an intriguing prospect for a Union team that has struggled to fill a giant void in midfield left last season with the departure of Vincent Nogueira.
He and 19-year-old homegrown Derrick Jones could complement each other well going forward though how much an impact either player will make outside of Bethlehem will be a question mark heading into the first week of training camp.
For Red Bulls fans, this would mean the loss of a player who started with the club when he was in middle school, but it’s hard to feel bad for a team with so many talented young players already on the books.
Union fans will want nothing more than for Najem to haunt his hometown club for many seasons to come, no doubt taunting their rivals if he turns out to be a one who got away-type player.