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A returner, several newcomers bolster Philadelphia Union Academy

Tonny Temple and Shanyder Borgelin highlight crop of players who have joined the Union youth academy

Tonny Temple in training with Bethlehem Steel FC in July
Matt Ralph

A former United States U17 residency player and a highly-rated prospect who trained with Borussia Dortmund earlier this summer highlight a crop of players who have joined the Philadelphia Union Academy ahead of its fifth season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

Forward Tonny Temple, who scored 23 goals for the Union U14 team over two seasons from 2013-15, has returned after spending time in the United States U17 residency program, which was shut down at the end of the spring session.

“I’m delighted,” Academy Director Tommy Wilson said of the Millville, Pa. native returning to play for the U19 team. “He left us as a boy and has come back to us a man.”

Temple has spent time training with Bethlehem Steel FC - he played in a scrimmage against the first team back in the spring - and will continue to do so, Wilson said.

Another attacking talent has joined the U17 team from Florida in 6-foot-4 forward Shanyder Borgelin, who Wilson said turned down a contract offer in Germany to join the Union.

“He’s one of the top prospects in the country,” Wilson said of Borgelin. “We’ve got high hopes for him.”

The former Gold Soccer Academy youth fills a roster spot vacated by Chad Letts, who returned home to Georgia to join the Atlanta United Academy, after spending two seasons with the Union. Wilson said he worked with Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra, who he knows from their time at Glasgow Rangers in Scotland, to facilitate the move and honor the wishes of Letts and his family.

From closer to home, two players from Continental FC have joined the U19s: forward Jeremy Rafanello, who scored 20 goals last season, and defender Ramzi Qawasmy, who is the first YSC Academy student to make the jump from Continental to the Union. Another local, 2001 born defender Colin Davis, has joined from Ukrainian Nationals.

At the younger levels, the Union have added 14-year-old midfielder Nicholas Pariano from the Michigan club Crew Soccer Academy Wolves, whose family has relocated to the area, and 13-year-old Anthony Defillipo from Gulf Coast Rangers in Alabama.

Preseason officially began for the academy earlier this week.

The U.S. Soccer Development Academy season kicks off with the U12s hosting Lehigh Valley United and U15s at Cedar Stars Academy Bergen on September 12, the U17s host Virginia Development Academy on September 9 and the U13s, U14s and U19s at Richmond United on September 16.