Union announced on Thursday that they have signed captain Alejandro Bedoya on a one-year contract for 2023. It is a reward for the midfielder’s tremendous season this year at 35, but it is also a sign that all the parties see the end on the horizon.
“Alejandro embodies the spirit and passion of this team and this city,” Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a statement. “His mentality and leadership has had a major impact on the young core that has done so well for us over the last few seasons, and right now he’s having one of his best seasons in MLS. He’s a leader in our dressing room. and in our community, and it was important to make sure he was back next year as we look to continue to compete for trophies in MLS and international competitions.
This “and international competitions” clause is very important. Union will be back in the Concacaf Champions League next year and will need as much depth as possible to navigate the hectic schedule that will entail.
On top of that, several Union players are likely to feature for the United States in next year’s Under-20 World Cup, scheduled for May 20-June 11 in Indonesia.
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As Union manager Jim Curtin said after the decisive Champions League tie in Atlanta on Saturday: “It may cause us to be a little bit more strategic and smart… It will mean that more good players will arrive, because Ernst knows how to manage a list and has enough depth to manage several competitions.
Bedoya is currently in the final season of a two-year contract extension he signed in 2020, covering 2021 and 2022. He told The Inquirer he feels he “deserves at least another year” , and he backed that up with six goals and six assists – both Union single-season records.
But he has also spoken openly about increasing his activities beyond the pitch, so he can be ready for the rest of his life after hanging up his boots.
“Trying to learn more, to become more knowledgeable, to get out of my comfort zone,” he said. “Football is what I know, but how else can I get involved in different things that [are] going to set me up after career?
» READ MORE: Alejandro Bedoya is experiencing a renaissance with the Union at 35
Curtin’s turn to praise Bedoya came during the manager’s weekly press conference on Thursday.
“A guy, to be honest they should build a statue of this club in its brief history, because he was my coach in the dressing room and a guy I owe you so much – and a great person and a friend,” , Curtin said. “Without him our success never comes at this club, I can say that with 100 per cent certainty. Coaches come and go, sporting directors can come and go, but if you don’t have that leader in the dressing room and a player who embraces what the culture is, embraces what Philadelphia is, it just doesn’t work.