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Nelson Pierre announced as first Union II signing of Next Pro era

The 16-year-old forward has been with the academy full-time since 2016

Shivant Krishnan

Nelson Pierre has been announced as the first official Philadelphia Union II signing of the MLS Next Pro era.

The 16-year-old, who will turn 17 in a couple weeks, has been part of the Union II squad as an academy player after starring at all of the age level academy teams. He earned some first team minutes in Clearwater this preseason.

“At just 16 years old, Nelson is already an exciting young talent and he’s working every day to mature his game,” Union II head coach Marlon LeBlanc stated in a news release. “He brings natural, elite-level pace as a number nine and will continue to improve his off-the-ball movement and counter pressing coordination alongside another striker in our aggressive system.”

Pierre was born in Lebanon, Pa. and grew up in Harrisburg, where he played for Super Nova FC before joining the Philadelphia Union Academy full-time in 2016. He played for what was at the time a U-12 academy team in 2016-17 (the academy now starts at U13).

“Nelson has been with the academy since he was nine years old and has added strong technical qualities to the physical presence he’s had from a young age.” stated Union Director of Academy and Professional Development Tommy Wilson. “I’m delighted that he will be the first Union II signing because his tireless work ethic makes him a role model for other young players. His future is very bright.”

Union II kicks off their season at Subaru Park at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 27 when they welcome FC Cincinnati 2 to town for their inaugural Next Pro match.