Philadelphia Union Agree to Record-Breaking Transfer of Homegrown Midfielder Brenden Aaronson to UEFA Champions League Club FC Red Bull Salzburg
CHESTER, Pa. - Philadelphia Union today announced they have reached a historic transfer agreement with FC Red Bull Salzburg for homegrown midfielder Brenden Aaronson. The deal, which is the Union's first outgoing European transfer, includes a multi-million-dollar transfer fee, as well as additional performance-based bonuses, for the highest ever transfer fee for a U.S.-based homegrown player. The Union will also retain a percentage of any future transfer fees for Aaronson.
Aaronson, 19, a product of the Philadelphia Union Academy, will finish the 2020 MLS season with the Union before joining FC Red Bull Salzburg. He will be eligible to play for FC Red Bull Salzburg when the international transfer window reopens in January 2021.
"We are very proud of Brenden and what he has accomplished in such a short amount of time," said Philadelphia Union Principal Owner Jay Sugarman. "Player development is one of the three core areas we want to excel at to build our club into a consistent winner and giving players a chance to continually challenge themselves is part of that ideology. Brenden's success will inspire everyone involved in developing our young talent and will be just one of many success stories we expect to see out of our academy in the coming years. I wish Brenden the best at Red Bull Salzburg. I know he'll always have Philadelphia and the Union in his heart and I look forward to seeing what his future holds."
"This is an important next step for both Brenden, the organization, and United States soccer," said Sporting Director, Ernst Tanner. "This has always been the goal of the club. We want to establish a unique identity of developing young players through our academy with an end goal of cultivating and developing their talent to the level that allows them to compete against the very best in the world. We are incredibly proud that Brenden is leading the way as the first Philadelphia Union homegrown player to test himself against top European competition."
"I've worked with Brenden since he played on the Union Academy youth teams, and have witnessed his rapid development since then," said Union Head Coach Jim Curtin. "Brenden is a special player who is always looking to improve. Over the past couple of years, he's become very developed technically and the distance and speed he covers over the course of a game are unmatched. I look forward to watching him continue to grow and develop at Red Bull Salzburg. In the meantime, we're happy to have him through the end of our 2020 season and I promise fans we'll make the most of our time with him."
"Playing in Europe has always been a part of my dream. I've been able to accomplish the first part of my dream, to play for my home city, and am so excited for this continuation of my journey," said Aaronson. "Before working towards a career overseas, my first goal was to play on the Philadelphia Union field. My family had tickets to the inaugural season, so I grew up watching the team from the very beginning and I remember hoping one day to be on that field scoring in front of the home crowd. I am so incredibly appreciative of all my coaches, my family, and the Philadelphia Union fans. Like I said, I was one of them once, and their support means everything to me. I'll continue to give them everything I have through the end of the season and what I hope is a long playoff run. For me and for this club, this is just the beginning, and I look forward to what the future holds."
"Brenden Aaronson is considered one of the greatest talents in the MLS, his dynamism and his presence on the field are extraordinary for a 19-year-old," said FC Red Bull Salzburg Sporting Director, Christoph Freund. "Despite his young age, he already has an excellent feeling for making the right decisions on the pitch. With his way of playing football, Brenden is a perfect match for us and we are already looking forward to him."
A local product from Medford, New Jersey, Aaronson first joined Union Juniors at age 11 and remained with the academy throughout his youth. After initially committing to Indiana University his junior year, Aaronson decided to turn professional, signing a Homegrown Player deal on September 17, 2018 that saw him join the first team ahead of the 2019 season.
In his club and league debut, Aaronson started and scored at Atlanta United on March 17, 2019. Now in his second season with the club, he has recorded seven goals and five assists in 42 matches, 39 of which he has started.
Aaronson earned his first senior US Men's National Team call-up in October of 2019 for a pair of Concacaf Nations League matches following appearances at multiple levels of the US Men's Youth National Team setup, including the U-15s, U-19s and U-23s. He earned his first cap in a friendly against Costa Rica (February 1, 2020), where he featured in the starting XI, playing 66 minutes in the 1-0 victory. Aaronson was most recently selected to the U.S. Men's Olympic Qualifier team last March.
Aaronson will join FC Red Bull Salzburg, who have won fourteen league titles, seven Austrian Cups and three Austrian Supercups. The club, known for its impressive development of players like Erling Haaland and Sadio Mane, has qualified for Champions League play for the second consecutive year.
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