While it wasn’t spelled out in the initial news release from the Philadelphia Union, league officials have confirmed that new signing Adam Najem will enter Major League Soccer as a homegrown player.
The Clifton, N.J. native counts as a homegrown because the Union had to acquire his homegrown rights from the New York Red Bulls in order to sign him. They did that by sending the Red Bulls their natural second round pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.
So Najem will join Derrick Jones and Auston Trusty as homegrown players on the roster heading into the 2017 season.
And while this might seem like a new wrinkle in the rule teams use to sign promising young local players, it’s actually not.
In fact, the Red Bulls have done this before with one of its academy prospects who was a teammate of Najem’s for a season at Akron.
The Red Bulls traded the homegrown rights to defender Bryan Gallego to Portland Timbers in 2012 for Kosuke Kimura. The Timbers signed the Kinnelon, N.J. native to a homegrown contract 13 months later.
Toronto FC has also dealt homegrown rights to players before, trading the rights to Vancouver Whitecaps for Keven Alemán, who ended up going to Europe, and sending the rights to Josh Janniere to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for a 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft pick.