While the news was already out about him signing with the Tampa Bay Rowdies — and his house advertised for rent — John McCarthy’s signing was made official on Thursday, which gave the 26-year-old Philadelphia native a chance to formally say goodbye.
In a social media post, McCarthy wrote that “My hometown Philly will always have a special place in my heart. From the first day I signed until my last day putting on a jersey I always gave it my all and left it on the field.”
He went on to thank his coaches, trainers, front office staff, family and friends and gave a shout out to the Sons of Ben and Philadelphia Union fans for “letting us know when we were good and especially when we were shit.”
McCarthy, who starred at La Salle University and had volunteer stints as an assistant coach with the men’s and women’s teams there, made 21 appearances in MLS over his four years with the Union and played 26 matches on loan with the Bethlehem Steel. Prior to joining the Union in 2015, he was the USL Goalkeeper of the Year as a rookie with the Rochester Rhinos in 2014.
Rowdies head coach Neill Collins called McCarthy “underappreciated” in a news releasee announcing his arrival.
“John is someone that, when he comes here and plays every week, as opposed to bouncing between the MLS and USL teams in Philadelphia, people will start to know just how good of a player he is,” Collins said. “From all our due diligence, it’s quite clear that he’s a good person, a good professional and a top goalkeeper.”
McCarthy’s desire to be a starter has been cited by Union officials as the reason he wasn’t brought back this season. Brazilian goalkeeper Carlos Miguel Coronel was acquired on loan to take his spot on the roster and Matthew Freese was signed as a homegrown to fill the third goalkeeper spot. Jake McGuire recently signed with Gefle in Sweden.
McCarthy will get a chance to return to Talen Energy Stadium when the Rowdies play Bethlehem Steel on June 22 at 7:30 p.m. The Steel will travel for the return fixture on September 21.
Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke, who first coached McCarthy at Reading United in 2013, said he is .
“I’m certainly not looking forward to playing against John because he’s such a good goalkeeper, especially at the USL level,” Burke said. “I expect him to stand out this year.”