The Philadelphia Union kicked off its 12th season as a team in MLS on Sunday with just one player who grew up in the area on the field in Newark, Del.-native Anthony Fontana, but he was far from the only player with local ties to play on opening weekend.
Former Union teammates Keegan Rosenberry and Auston Trusty both started on the back line in the Colorado Rapids’ scoreless draw, Lancaster native Russell Canouse scored in DC United’s season-opening win, former Union teammates Fafa Picault started and Derrick Jones came off the bench for the Houston Dynamo and former Reading United star Paul Marie scored a beautiful goal just to a name a few of the highlights.
There are 14 former Union players on MLS rosters to start the season (four from the first roster in 2010) and eight players on non-Union MLS rosters who spent time in the Philadelphia Union Academy but never played for the first team. There’s another 16 players who spent time with Reading United, three with Ocean City Nor’easters and one with Lehigh Valley United in USL League Two.
There are 13 players who grew up or have lived in the region, not including the local natives on the Union roster who weren’t recruited to the area for the academy (Fontana, Matt Freese, Matt Real, Paxten Aaronson, Brandan Craig and Quinn Sullivan).
- George Campbell, Defender, born in Chester, Pa., played for Nether United
- Mo Adams, Midfielder, played for Reading United in 2017
- Ben Lundgaard, Goalkeeper, from Wilmington, Del.
- Ben Sweat, Defender, played for Reading United in 2013
- Fabian Herbers, Forward, former Philadelphia Union draft pick who made 53 first team appearances from 2016-2018
- Haris Medunjanin, Midfielder, made 98 appearances for the Philadelphia Union 2017-2019
- Cody Cropper, Goalkeeper, played as a youth for Reading Rage in 2008-2009
- Ben Lundt, Goalkeeper, played for Reading United in 2017
- Keegan Rosenberry, Defender, from Ronks, Pa., played for Penn Fusion, Reading United and made 80 appearances for the Philadelphia Union
- Auston Trusty, Defender, from Media, Pa., played for Nether United, Philadelphia Union Academy, Bethlehem Steel and is the all-time leader in homegrown minutes for the Philadelphia Union with 5,026
- Kalil ElMedkhar, Forward, Middletown, Del, played for Kirkwood FC, Penn Fusion, Philadelphia Union Academy and Reading United
- Matt Hedges, Defender, played for Reading United 2010-2011
- Chris Seitz, Goalkeeper, Philadelphia Union original
- Russell Canouse, Midfielder, from Lancaster, Pa., played for PA Classics
- Brendan Hines-Ike, Defender, played for Ocean City Nor’easters in 2014
- Derrick Jones, Midfielder, from Philadelphia, Pa., Bethlehem Steel original, played for Philadelphia Lone Star, Philadelphia Union Academy and Philadelphia Union
- Fafa Picault, Forward, made 89 appearances for the Philadelphia Union from 2017-2019
- Kyle Morton, Goalkeeper from West Chester, Pa., played for Philadelphia Union Academy, Penn Fusion Academy, Lehigh Valley United and Reading United
- John McCarthy, Goalkeeeper, from Philadelphia, Pa., played at La Salle, Reading United and Ocean City Nor’easters as an amateur and for the Philadelphia Union and Bethlehem Steel from 2015-2018
- Jordan Harvey, Defender, Philadelphia Union original
- Tomas Romero, Goalkeeper, Philadelphia Union Academy and YSC Academy grad
- Tyler Miller, Goalkeeper from Woodbury, N.J., played for Ocean City Nor’easters in 2012
- Justin McMaster, Forward, YSC Academy and Philadelphia Union Academy graduate
- Kamal Miller, Defender, played for Reading United in 2015 and 2018
- Mason Toye, Forward, had a stint playing for Nether United as a kid
- Daniel Lovitz, Defender, from Wyndmoor, Pa.
- CJ Sapong, Forward, made 123 appearances for the Philadelphia Union from 2015-2018 and played for Reading United in 2010
- Taylor Washington, Defender, drafted by the Philadelphia Union and spent one season on the team, making 28 appearances for Bethlehem Steel in 2016
- Brad Knighton, Goalkeeper, Philadelphia Union original
- Brian White, Forward, won the 2012 Generation adidas Cup with the Union
- Thomas Barlow, Forward, played for Reading United in 2015
- Joey DeZart, Midfielder, YSC Academy and Philadelphia Union Academy graduate who also played for Reading United
- Zarek Valentin, Defender, from Lancaster, Pa., played for PA Classics and Reading United as an amateur
- Zac MacMath, Goalkeeper, made 103 appearances for the Philadelphia Union from 2011-2016
- Justin Portillo, Midfielder, played for Reading United in 2012
- Paul Marie, Midfielder, played for Reading United 2015-2017
- Shea Salinas, Midfielder, Philadelphia Union original
- Jack Skahan, Midfielder, played for the Philadelphia Union Academy in high school
- Kevin Silva, Goalkeeper, from Bethlehem, Pa.
- Alex Bono, Goalkeeper, played for Reading United 2013-14