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Union pick up Ayuk’s option

The 20-year-old winger is returning from a loan stint in Sweden.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Philadelphia Union Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Union have exercised midfielder Eric Ayuk’s contract option for the 2018 season, the club announced today.

Ayuk spent his 2017 season on loan in Sweden, playing for Allsvenkan side Jönköpings Södra. The 20-year-old scored once in 12 league appearances, all off the bench. His lone start came in his club’s 3-2 extra-time victory over Utsiktens BK in the Svenska Cupen.

“Exercising Eric’s option is another important move for us as we continue to build a young core here in Philadelphia,” said Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart in a press release. “He performed well during his loan stint in Sweden, receiving valuable playing time at a high level. We look forward to helping him take the next step in his development here in Philadelphia.”

Ayuk has made 29 appearances for the Union, with 28 of those coming in the 2015 season. He saw 1320 minutes of actions that year, and scored two goals, including this screamer:

With the return of Ayuk, the Union now have three rostered wingers: Ayuk, Fafa Picault, and Marcus Epps. The Union protected Fabian Herbers and Ilsinho in today’s Expansion Draft, but the club have denied their contract options for 2018.