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Sierra Leone international lone trialist in first week of Philadelphia Union preseason

The 23-year-old defensive midfielder has fit right in with the team in training this week

A 23-year-old defensive midfielder with previous experience at the international level with Sierra Leone has been part of the group training in Wilmington this week for the Philadelphia Union’s first week of preseason.

Ibrahim Conteh most recently played in Indonesia for Persipura Jayapura, his fifth club in Indonesia since arriving in 2015. He made his full national team debut in a 1-0 win over Liberia last September and has made one other appearance for his country.

Conteh plays a position that suddenly looks crowded on the depth chart with the addition of Matej Oravec, fellow offseason signing Jose Andres Martinez, veteran Warren Creavalle and rookie homegrown Cole Turner.

Should the Union sign him to a first team deal, he would presumably fill an international roster spot but he could also be signed to Union II or loaned down for minutes and to meet roster compliance for international players.

There’s no word yet on any additional trialists that may join the team in Florida and the preseason roster has not been released, but the Union does have a history of signing preseason trialists. Yomi Scintu was a trialist with the first team when camp opened last year and he ended up signing a USL deal. Michee Ngalina was an unnamed trialist who scored a goal in a preseason game in 2018.

Other previous preseason trialists in recent years included midfielder Omar Castro (not signed) in 2018 and Jake McGuire, Adam Najem, Oguchi Onyewu, Fafa Picault, Keith Cardona (not signed) and Alex Happi (not signed) in 2017.