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Philly Soccer Notebook: Jimmy McLaughlin works his way back to MLS

McLaughlin earns contract at FC Cincinnati, Jen Hoy announces retirement, local youth clubs celebrate former player USMNT debuts and more

New York Red Bulls v Cincinnati FC: Semifinal - 2017 U.S. Open Cup Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Jimmy McLaughlin’s inspiring journey at FC Cincinnati isn’t done.

The FC Cincinnati original, who entered preseason aiming to convince the technical staff he was deserving of a deal after missing all of last season with a torn ACL, was signed to a deal for the 2020 season.

The Malvern, Pa. native and former FC Delco standout and Philadelphia Union homegrown made the move from USL to MLS ahead of Cincinnati’s inaugural season in 2019 but missed the entire season after getting injured in a pickup game at YSC Sports near King of Prussia last winter.

“It means the world to me just to be a part of this team,” McLaughlin said in a news release. “The last year has been a tough challenge mentally and physically. I want to thank the Lindner family, the entire ownership group, (club president) Jeff Berding, (general manager) Gerard Nijkamp, the coaching staff, the medical staff and the players for their support and help in getting me back to this level. I love this team and I love this city and I’m excited for the 2020 season.”


While one Sellersville, Pa. native’s pro career is just getting started, another announced the end of hers on Friday.

Former Pennridge and Penn Fusion Academy midfielder Marissa Sheva signed a pro contract with Deportivo Alaves in Spain earlier in the week before Hoy announced her retirement from Sky Blue FC. She played five seasons for the Chicago Red Stars before spending the final two seasons of her career with Sky Blue.

Sky Blue also announced this week that Galloway, N.J. native Erica Skroski had resigned with the club on a one-year deal with a one-year option.


When I spotted a character named Roxborough Ronnie wearing a Coed Naked Soccer t-shirt on the ABC comedy Schooled, I immediately thought of Jeffrey Mitchell — aka the Roxborough United scarf guy — and he didn’t disappoint successfully using social media to reach out to actor Christian Gehring so he could send him some gear.


Three area youth coaches are part of a U.S. Club Soccer La Liga Formation Methodology Level 1 course in Spain that began earlier this week in Madrid. They include Matt Anderson (Harrisburg, Pa. / Keystone FC), Steve Conkle (Mechanicsburg, Pa. / Keystone FC) and Paulo Ferreira (Philadelphia, Pa. / FC Europa).


Highly touted youth prospect Caden Clark has signed with New York Red Bulls II. He was being recruited to join the Philadelphia Union organization after leaving the Barca Academy in Arizona.


Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie making their USMNT debuts was a really huge deal for the Philadelphia Union, the academy and the staff over at YSC Sports and YSC Academy, but it was also a big deal for the clubs they played for before joining the academy like Real Jersey FC and Delaware FC, which both shouted out their former players online.


Former Philadelphia Union academy midfielder Aziz Saidi recently signed with second division Portuguese team Varzim SC. Aziz still has ties to the academy through his younger brother Anisse Saidi, who was part of the U12 team that generated a lot of buzz when they made it to the finals and semifinals of two cups there.


West Chester United scrimmaged Philadelphia Union II last Saturday at YSC and won 4-0. Spencer Burkhardt, Dan Roth, Matt Greer and Ryan Kingsford had the goals.

The Predators also started announcing players for their inaugural season in USL League Two. The four players announced so far include local standouts Chris Donovan (Paoli, Pa. / Drexel), Sam Brown (Media, Pa. / Loyola), Lehigh star Josh Luchini and LA Galaxy Academy alum Elan Koenig, a grad transfer to Villanova from the University of Wisconsin.


Please send items and story ideas for future columns to matthew.r.ralph@gmail.com.