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Marcus Epps signs first-team contract

The 25th overall draft pick is the second player from Union’s 2017 SuperDraft class to sign with the organization

USF Athletics

Former University of South Florida winger Marcus Epps has signed a first team contract with the Philadelphia Union, becoming the second member of the club’s 2017 SuperDraft class to sign with the organization.

“Marcus impressed us over his collegiate career and has continued to show his abilities throughout this preseason,” Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart said in a news release. “We are excited to see what he will bring to our club in years to come.”

The Union traded their 42nd pick and $50,000 of Allocation Money in 2018 to move up in the draft order and select the 22-year-old Jackson, Mississippi native in the MLS SuperDraft last month.

Santi Moar, the Union’s 82nd overall draft pick out of Pfeiffer University, signed a deal with Bethlehem Steel FC last week. The Union also drafted Clemson defender Aaron Jones, Syracuse forward Chris Nanco and West Virginia defender/midfielder Jack Elliott.

Epps, who had eight goals and nine assists in 75 career games in college, spent time in the Chicago Fire Academy prior to college but wasn’t eligible to sign a homegrown deal with the club and entered the draft pool. He played both wing positions during his time in South Florida and was known there for his pace and skill on the ball.

“It’s amazing to get my first contract and I’m excited it’s with this club,” Epps said in a video the Union posted on Monday.

With the Epps signing, the Union now have only one senior roster position open and will likely be filling that spot with a third goalkeeper.

What this means for trialist Adam Najem, whom the Union would need to negotiate a deal with New York Red Bulls to acquire, isn’t clear but loaning a player on the senior roster out to free up roster space or dealing a player for Najem’s homegrown rights are both possibilities.

Barring other moves, the three unsigned draft picks are likely battling for the few remaining roster spots at Bethlehem Steel FC.