New Philadelphia Union striker made his first public appearance in Philadelphia on Thursday night as a surprise guest on a live Men In Blazers podcast at the Theatre of Living Arts on South Street.
The sold out crowd responded to the news of the German-American striker’s signing being made official with a standing ovation and later an impromptu chant of “Woot there it is” that brought back memories of the 1993 World Series when Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There It Is) was sung from the stands at Veterans Stadium.
“I think it’s a great time to be a soccer player in the United States,” Wooten said when asked about his decision to come to MLS after spending his entire career to date in Germany. “I would love to play for the United States again but my focus is the Philadelphia Union.”
Wooten made his lone appearance for the U.S. men’s national team at Red Bull Arena in October 2015.
He won’t officially join the Union until the secondary transfer window opens July 9 but his presence added to an already lively event filled with singing and chants about the Union from the crowd and multiple references to their place in the standings at the midpoint of the season. Captain Alejandro Bedoya was interviewed on stage by Men in Blazers co-hosts Roger Bennett and Michael Davies prior to their “breaking news” announcement about Wooten.
“I thought it was a cool way to announce the new striker and a really cool thing for the Union to jump on board with,” Chad DeBolt, a Union and Tottenham fan, said afterward.
Bedoya teed up the surprise when he said a “striker that can score over 15 goals a season” is the missing ingredient for them to stay on top.
“I’d like for us to score more goals,” Bedoya said. “It’s good that we have other guys coming in and scoring some but I want a guy that can score a lot of goals that we can rely on, that can make something out of nothing.”
Wooten’s form in his final stretch of games for his now former team SV Sandhausen in 2. Bundesliga is cause for excitement. He scored 13 goals in his last 17 games.
Sporting Director Ernst Tanner has already had success with players brought in from his native Germany with Kai Wagner and Kacper Przybylko both making an impact after playing for lower division teams in Germany. Tanner also signed Sergio Santos in his first offseason with the club, but the Brazilian has been limited by injuries to only four starts.
“He is a strong forward who had interest from many teams around the world,” Tanner said of Wooten in a news release. “So to have him choose Philadelphia as the next stop in his career is a tremendous compliment.”
Someone near the front row tossed Wooten a Sons of Ben scarf as he was departing the stage and he received another round of raucous applause.
“You don’t have to thank us for making this happen,” Bennett quipped at the close of their interview before a photo of a former Philadelphia Eagles coach appeared on the screen and he called Wooten “the best Philly Andrew since Andy Reid.”