It’s been a quiet offseason for the Philadelphia Union so far. While other teams have made deals, signed free agents, and looked to bring in players from elsewhere, the Union have only announced player and coaching departures thus far. The Union have a roster with 20 of 30 spots (31 if you send a player on season-long loan to Bethlehem Steel) filled. Of those 10/11 open spots, they’ll need to find a left back, a play making number 10, and possibly a center back and a right wing as well. These needs are well documented, and it will be interesting to see what the Union do to try to fill those needs.
While those needs are pressing, there’s also the matter of the technical staff. Not counting the fitness and medical staffs, the Union have only Sporting Director Earnie Stewart, Technical Director Chris Albright, Head Coach Jim Curtin, and Assistant Coach B.J. Callaghan on staff right now. This is simply not enough to run a professional club regardless of how good those still here are at their jobs.
Looking toward the future, the Union’s entire business model is entirely dependent on having a top class technical staff. Players don’t develop themselves - it’s a process of working day in and day out with the technical staff to improve. Every day without guidance and training means a player is going to be that much further from his potential.
There’s also the matter of planning for the 2018 season. The 2018 MLS SuperDraft is on January 19 and 21, and training camp starts shortly after. Even though they’re not picking until the third round, the Union still have a little over a month to get their house in order and get a game plan going into 2018. Transfer targets need to be identified both by the coaching staff as well as having scouts go and watch the players and see if they fit the Union’s strategy. These meetings have to happen - and soon. The quicker they assemble a full technical staff, the more complete the game plan for the upcoming season will be.