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Philadelphia Union preseason roster includes a trialist, Steel signee & academy trio

The Union released their preseason roster ahead of Saturday’s scrimmage against the New York Red Bulls

Trey Madara

Twenty-seven players under first team contract are joined on the Philadelphia Union’s preseason roster by a new Bethlehem Steel FC signing, three teenagers from the academy and a 21-year-old trialist, the team announced Friday.

The lone trialist on the roster is holding midfielder Omar Castro, a 21-year-old Florida native. Castro has played in Germany since 2013 with the U19s and reserve team for second division club Eintracht Braunschweig.

The Philadelphia Union Academy contingent includes U19 and Steel FC teammates Brenden Aaronson, Tomas Romero and Michael Pellegrino. All three are from South Jersey and made their way into the Steel FC lineup last season.

Romero, a goalkeeper, was on the preseason roster a year ago along with Anthony Fontana, who was officially added to the first team roster as a homegrown player last month.

Recent Steel signing Olivier Mbaizo joined the team in Clearwater after training with the first team in Philadelphia and Chester. The 20-year-old defender from Cameroon has been on the Union’s radar for about a year and while he’s signed to a USL deal for now could end up earning a roster spot because of his versatility.

“He plays very well,” head coach Jim Curtin said of Mbaizo in a press conference on Thursday. “He’s shown that he has versatility along the whole back line. There is a language barrier so we’re working through that in terms of communication, the stepping, the dropping, the timing of our movements but (he’s) a kid that is in very good shape.”

The Union currently have three first team roster spots available and can sign a fourth player to a first team contract if they are sent on a season-long loan to Steel. Seven of the eight international roster spots are accounted for on the roster, but the Steel still have three spots available that can be filled by international players on loan from the first team.

2018 Philadelphia Union Preseason Roster

No. Player Pos. Age on March 3 Hometown State/Country College
No. Player Pos. Age on March 3 Hometown State/Country College
2 Warren Creavalle MF 27 Acworth Georgia UCF, Furman
3 Jack Elliott (INT) D 22 London England West Virginia
6 Haris Medunjanin (INT) MF 32 Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina
11 Alejandro Bedoya (DP) MF 30 Engelwood New Jersey Boston College, Fairleigh Dickinson
12 Keegan Rosenberry D 24 Ronks Pennsylvania Georgetown
14 Fabian Herbers MF 24 Ahaus Germany Creighton
15 Joshua Yaro (GA) D 23 Kumasi Ghana Georgetown
16 Richie Marquez D 25 Pomona California Redlands (D3)
17 C. J. Sapong F 29 Manassas Virginia James Madison
18 Andre Blake (INT) GK 27 May Pen Jamaica UConn
20 Marcus Epps MF 23 Jackson Mississippi South Florida
21 Derrick Jones (HGP) MF 21 Bantama Ghana
22 Fafa Picault MF 27 New York New York
23 John McCarthy GK 25 Philadelphia Pennsylvania La Salle
24 Adam Najem MF 23 Clifton New Jersey Akron
25 Ilsinho (INT) MF 32 Sao Bernardo do Campo Brazil
26 Auston Trusty (HGP) D 19 Media Pennsylvania
27 Jay Simpson (INT) F 29 Enfield England
28 Ray Gaddis D 28 Indianapolis Indiana West Virginia
29 Jake McGuire GK 23 Pomona California Tulsa
30 Eric Ayuk (INT) MF 21 Yaounde Cameroon
31 Anthony Fontana (HGP) MF 18 Newark Delaware
33 Fabinho D 32 Ariquemas Brazil
19 Cory Burke (INT) F 26 Kingston Jamaica
7 David Accam (DP) MF 27 Accra Ghana
4 Mark McKenzie (HGP) D 19 Bear Delaware Wake Forest
32 Matthew Real D 18 Drexel Hill Pennsylvania
5 Olivier Mbaizo* D 20 Cameroon
13 Brenden Aaronson# MF 17 Medford Pennsylvania Indiana verbal commitment
22 Michael Pellegrino# MF 17 Wenonah New Jersey
23 Tomas Romero# GK 17 Cherry Hill New Jersey Georgetown verbal commitment
31 Omar Castro** MF 22 Plant City Florida
* Bethlehem Steel FC
** Trialist
# Academy