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Union Development Squad kicks off first season in UPSL on Sunday

The Union Academy team takes on Philadelphia Lone Star at 5:30 p.m. at Bartram High School’s football field

Matt Ralph

Year two of the Philadelphia Union Development Squad will look a little different with the team entering the UPSL instead of scheduling friendlies with area teams.

That new era kicks off Sunday at Bartram High School’s football field against Philadelphia Lone Star at 5:30 p.m. Several players on the team’s roster were part of the Union U17 that won MLS Next Cup over the summer, including forwards Luciano Sanchez and Marcello Mazzola, defenders Luke Martelli, Noe Uwimana and Devon Stopek, midfielder Logan Oliver and goalkeepers Andrew Rick and Jonathan Evans.

Key returnees from last year’s UDS include Conor Clair, Alexandru Zama, Robert Myrick, Paul Killeen, Aiden O’Sullivan, Jordan Lawrence, Ritter Sunby and Zakary Kandoussi. Goalkeepers Gavin Atkinson and Otto Moosbrugger are also additions to the roster. Matthew Routzahn spent time previously in the academy before joining FC Delco last season. Other players include Carill Ansanji, Mohamed Ali Diallo, Mathew Porto, Francis Early, Benjamin Phung and TNolly Morris.

Fred Da Silva is back as coach along with former University of Delaware head coach Ian Hennessy and Thiago Evangelista.

The Union lasted field a U19 team at the academy level in the 2019-2020 season. After not offering a program for players after they aged out of the U17 team, they started the UDS last season.

They are one of nine MLS teams with a team in the United Premier Soccer League. Atlanta United, LAFC, LA Galaxy, Houston Dynamo, Orlando City, Real Salt Lake, St. Louis SC and Inter Miami also are listed with teams on the UPSL website.