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Stewart: David Accam signed through 2020

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New Philadelphia Union designated player introduced in press conference on Tuesday

David Accam with Earnie Stewart and Jim Curtin at a press conference on January 23, 2018 a Talen Energy Stadium
Matt Ralph

Newly minted Philadelphia Union designated player could be lighting up defenses for the blue and gold for at least another three seasons, Sporting Director Earnie Stewart confirmed Tuesday.

“We have the contract in our hands now so no David has an obligation now with the Philadelphia Union through 2020 so three years,” Stewart said during a press conference at Talen Energy Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

When news of Accam’s acquisition from the Chicago Fire broke late last week, there was some question over whether he would only be playing out the remainder of his current deal set to expire in 2018 or if he had reached an extension with his now former club.

The Union sent the Fire $300,000 in general allocation money and $900,000 in targeted allocation for Accam in a blockbuster deal announced during the MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia on Friday.

Stewart said Accam was high on their list at the end of last season of players they were interested in but that he didn’t think he would be a real option until Friday’s draft.

“You have to use those moments, you have to use the market that there is and in this case it was I guess it was pretty much the draft because up until the draft we were in conversations but it didn’t really go anywhere and then all of a sudden the draft made things fluid and we were able to go very quickly,” Stewart said.

The 27-year-old winger arrived in Philadelphia and received a warm welcome from fans at the airport on Sunday afternoon.

“I just love it, the culture, the philosophy, everything,” he said of his new club. “I’m happy to be here.”

Fellow Right to Dream Academy alumnus Josh Yaro was the first to greet Accam upon his rival. The Accra, Ghana native has also been reunited with a former teammate from his time in Sweden with Helsingborgs IF in Union captain Alejandro Bedoya.

“He made me a better player,” Accam said of his two seasons playing with Bedoya. “He’s someone who directs the play so having somebody like Bedoya behind you is a bonus.”

Accam is known for his speed and his offensive production - he had 14 goals and 8 assists for the Fire in 2017 - but head coach Jim Curtin said the club saw more than that when they scouted him.

“David is a guy who is known in our league for his speed but when we scouted him we also noted just how good he is on the ball and the different things, the dynamic he brings to a team, the space that he creates for others because he is so dangerous,” Curtin said. “His quality will take over games.”

Stewart said having Accam and potentially one more player will put the team “in good shape” to compete for the playoffs this season.

“There will be a little bit more happening but not much more because I believe the foundation that has already been put in place is something that’s solid,” Stewart said. “The cohesion of the team that was there in the first year and the second year is something that is really good.”