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Union Academy grad Zach Zandi signed to Bethlehem Steel FC

Zandi recently graduated from Villanova University after a four-year career and has been a regular with Reading United

Matt Ralph

Philadelphia Union Academy grad Zach Zandi is staying close to home to start his professional career.

Bethlehem Steel FC announced the signing of the Villanova University graduate on Tuesday.

“Zach is a well-rounded midfielder who came through our academy. We have kept a close eye on him through his time at Villanova and with Reading United, where he was a standout for us and trained with the Steel regularly,” Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said in a news release. “He brings an excellent work ethic, demeanor and understanding that we hope will allow him to adjust to the professional level quickly.”

Zandi, a West Chester, Pa. native, spent time with Penn Fusion Academy before joining the Philadelphia Union Academy as a junior in high school. He graduated from West Chester Henderson High School and went on to play for four seasons at Villanova while spending three summer seasons with Reading United AC.

“Zach was a vital part of Reading’s success over the last three seasons, has exceptional ability on the ball, is a very intelligent player in between the lines and consistently caused opponents problems with his decisions,” Steel FC assistant coach Stephen Hogan said in a news release. “He definitely has the work rate off the ball that we need and we are very excited to see him develop.”

An attacking midfielder, Zandi made 63 appearances for the Wildcats over his four seasons, scoring 14 goals and dishing out 10 assists. He made 30 appearances for Reading United in league play and five appearances in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.