8316_isi_bedoyalejandro_usmntjd06231609 John Dorton/isiphotos.com
Major League Soccer

Alejandro Bedoya Signs With Philadelphia Union

The 29-year-old New Jersey native is returning home and will now play his soccer just down the turnpike in Philadelphia. He will be expected to provide leadership to a young and talented Union squad.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
August 03, 2016
9:20 AM

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER announced Wednesday that the Philadelphia Union has acquired United States international midfielder Alejandro Bedoya.

Per ESPN, the deal was agreed to for a $1 million transfer fee and Bedoya will make a salary of around $1 million. It was also announced that for giving up its spot in the allocation order, the Chicago Fire received general allocation money, target allocation money, Philadelphia’s first round draft pick, discovery rights on a player, and Philadelphia’s spot in the allocation order.

Bedoya, 29, has been linked with Philadelphia before, an was involved in discussions with the league last winter. After leaving Boston College, he went straight to Europe to sign for Orebro and has never played domestically. He spoke to ASN about the matter and cited an interest in bringing his family back to the United States.  

For the Union, bringing in Bedoya does not necessarily look like a perfect fit tactically. The team’s biggest need is to fill the void left when defensive midfielder Vincent Nogueira parted ways with the club in May for health reasons. Since his departure, the club has lost its early season spark and has gradually faded in the standings.

From a leadership perspective, however, signing Bedoya makes sense for a team looking to be a model for youth development in the United States.

“We want to be a club known for its development,” Union sporting director Earnie Stewart told ASN in January.  “Hopefully several years down the road, kids will be saying, ‘If you want to be developed and take the next steps in your career, Philadelphia Union is the place to be.’ ”

Bedoya is a popular player and a rallying force on his teams. He is known to be an extremely hard worker who can rally his teammates and fans. His “I believe that we will win” chants at Nantes have endeared him to supporters. A youth movement does need leadership, and Bedoya seems like a perfect fit. It also might be the spark that can put the team back on the right track heading toward the playoffs.

For Bedoya, this move will bring him back close to New Jersey, where he was born and still has strong ties. He will play on a team that has more of a European feel with the offseason hire of sporting director Earnie Stewart who was previously successful running AZ Alkmaar.  

From the national team perspective, it is unclear how Jurgen Klinsmann feels about the move. While the German coach has been public about wanting his best players in Europe, Bedoya is on the tail end of his prime and his development years are behind him. The track record for U.S. national team players returning to MLS has been mixed. Jozy Altidore is one example of a player who has not dominated MLS with Toronto the way many expected.

On the flip side, MLS has helped prolong the careers of Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones at ages when regular playing time in Europe would be hard to come by. Bedoya is coming from Ligue 1 and while that is a good league it is not the Bundesliga or the Premier League. With Bedoya’s work ethic and intensity, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic that this move will be beneficial to the player and the national team.

Philadelphia has exceeded expectations this year and has some exciting young players in its mix. Now it has one of the more popular and energetic Americans players to boot. For a team that has made the playoffs just once since its inaugural season, Bedoya is a smart addition to tie the current roster together.

What do you think of the move? Share your take in the Comments section below.

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