It’s going to be an even quieter MLS SuperDraft for Philadelphia Union and Bethlehem Steel FC fans on Friday.
The team announced on Wednesday night that they’ve reached a deal with FC Cincinnati to swap all five of their draft picks in exchange for $150,000 in general allocation money for 2019 and up to $50,000 additional in 2020 based on performance metrics met by players Cincinnati drafts with the picks.
The Union had picks 13, 29 (via trade with the Chicago Fire for Fabian Herbers), 37, 61 and 85 in Friday’s college draft.
“When evaluating how we want to build our roster for the 2019 season and beyond, we decided that acquiring this money is the best use of our SuperDraft resources,” said Ernst Tanner, Union Sporting Director. “Not only will we look to continue both signing Union Academy products for the First Team and Bethlehem Steel FC, as well as attracting young talent from abroad, we believe that this sum of money will help us complete crucial signings ahead of the upcoming campaign.”
This appears to be the first time a team in MLS has traded away all of their picks in a draft, but teams have regularly passed on selecting players in later rounds. Union center back Jack Elliott is the only recent Union draft pick still on the current roster. He was selected No. 77 in the 2017 draft out of West Virginia University. Andre Blake was drafted by the Union with the first pick in the 2014 draft and Raymon Gaddis was drafted 35th overall in 2012.