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Philadelphia Union Academy rosters released

The Union open their sixth season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy on September 1 at home against NYCFC

Midfielder Cole Turner among the returners to the Union U19 this fall
Matt Ralph

After losing a baker’s dozen of players to graduation, the Philadelphia Union Academy U19 team will have a new look when they open Development Academy play against NYCFC on September 1.

But it will also be a very familiar one with only a couple new faces filling out the roster.

South Jersey midfielders Brenden Aaronson and Michael Pellegrino lead the group of returners to the U19 team, which includes Michigan defender Benjamin Ofeimu, winger Tonny Temple and South Jersey goalkeeper Tomas Romero. Romero will split time with Kris Shakes and returning third string goalkeeper Brady McSwain.

Other players who split time between the U17 and U19 team last season include Mexico-born forward Axel Picazo, left back A.J. Cousins, midfielders Cole Turner and Nick Blacklock, right back JD Wagner and winger/forward Shanyder Borgelin. Joining the 19s from the U17 team are holding midfielder Marco Bla, winger Jason Aoyama and defenders Antek Sienkiel and Sekou Soumah, who was a late addition to the team last season. MD Myers and Colin Davis both split time between the U17 development team and the U17s last season.

Rounding out the roster (or at least what’s been posted so far) are newcomers Leo Afonso, a Florida forward who is spending a grad year with the Union after scoring 25 goals for Boca United FC in his senior season and Ryan Becher, who opted to forgo his senior season at Lower Dauphin High School to join the Union.

The U17 roster is a mix of players who starred for the U15 team last year — goal scorers Selmir Miscic and Patrick Bohui, holding midfielder Dante Huckaby, left back Arnel Miscic and goalkeeper Chay Kaplan — some returners and others who join from the development team.

Midfielders Julian Anderson and Jack de Vries are both key returners, along with center back Ian Graham, defenders Adam Lenges and Sean Jennings, forwards Zephyn Brockert-Kress and Tianshuo Yang and goalkeeper Lukas Burns. North Carolina native Willy Burnett, South Jersey defender Zach Wagner, Tiron Shatku, Cole Sotack and Cole Verrico are all joining from the development team.

Newcomers include Danny Luis Flores, a northern California native who was a Best XI selection by the DA for his play at Shattuck-St. Mary’s last season and midfielder Jackson Temple, who joins from Continental FC.

The U17 development team roster isn’t posted on the Development Academy website, but the team will be led by Paxten Aaronson and Nick Pariano.

The U15s have a trio of newcomers from outside the organization in Myles Culley from Maine and Seacoast United, Aran Perez from Miami, Florida and Weston FC and Zion Scarlett from Lower Merion SC. Key returners will be Nelson Pierre, who scored 18 goals playing up for both the U14 and U15 teams last season, and Brandan Craig, who made 20 appearances for the U15s last season.

The U14 team added Caden Grabfelder from Lehigh Valley United, Miles Hood from Delaware FC and Favian Loyola from Orlando City. Dominic Wilson is the lone 2006-born player on the roster. He had 35 goals in 29 games between the U12 and U13 teams last season.

John Andrus from Maryland club FCUSA is the lone addition to the Union U13s from outside the organization.

To see the full rosters posted on the Development Academy website, visit