South Jersey’s first homegrown player for the Philadelphia Union was officially announced on Monday morning.
Brenden Aaronson, a playmaking midfielder who turns 18 next month, will join the first team roster next season, forgoing his verbal commitment to Indiana University.
“It’s a special moment for all of us in the Philadelphia Union family to welcome Brenden to the First Team as a Homegrown Player,” Chris Albright, Union Technical Director, said in a statement. “Brenden has earned this contract through his hard work in training and his play with Bethlehem Steel FC and the Union Academy. This is another signing that we believe is reflective of our club’s philosophy and our ownership’s commitment to developing local talent. We’d like to congratulate Brenden and his family on his decision to turn professional.”
Aaronson joined the Union Academy in their first season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy in 2013-14 from Real Jersey FC, but was first on the Union’s radar as a member of the Union Juniors program. He also played for his hometown club Medford SC.
His play with Bethlehem Steel FC this season makes his signing unsurprising. A natural playmaking No. 10, Aaronson fits the Union system well because of his ability to lead the attack but also cover the ground necessary to employ the high press.
He’s appeared in 18 matches over the past two seasons with the Steel, playing 783 minutes, and became the first active Union academy player to receive USL Team of the Week honors earlier this season.
He’s also received call-ups to various youth international teams since early in his academy career.