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Highly touted Philadelphia Union Academy prospect not returning

The Union Academy restarted training recently without promising midfielder Aaron Heard

Photo by Matt Ralph

One of the top prospects in the Philadelphia Union Academy has opted not to return for the upcoming season.

Aaron Heard, a 13-year-old midfielder who impressed in his first season with the Union Academy after joining from Bethesda SC last summer, was not among the players reporting to training with the Union U15 team when they officially opened the 2020-2021 cycle early last week.

Academy Director Tommy Wilson confirmed Heard’s departure on Saturday, citing “family reasons” for his exit.

The U.S. Youth National team midfielder made quite an early impression after being recruited to the academy when he helped lead a Union U13 squad to the Concacaf Under-13 Champions League title in Costa Rica last August. He was awarded the Golden Ball of the competition.

He also impressed in the Generation adidas Cup, playing up with the Union U15s and was beginning to be talked about as one of the top prospects in the academy even before he turned 14 in March.