Brendan Burke leaves Union coaching staff

Just a few weeks after leaving Reading United to focus fully on the Philadelphia Union, Brendan Burke left the organization entirely on Wednesday.

He did so on good terms, but there is no indication yet as to where he's headed

“Working with the Union has been a great experience on every level," Burke said in a statement issued by the team.
"It’s been a privilege to work with the caliber of players here at the Union, but I also feel it is time to go in a different direction in my career.”

From 2008 through last year, Burke served as the head coach of Reading United, the Union's USL PDL affiliate. Under Burke's watch, many top college soccer players came through Reading, and the organization became one of the top destinations for college talent. Prominent alumni in MLS include Andrew Wenger, C.J. Sapong, Deshorn Brown, Matt Hedges and the Union's Ray Gaddis.

After the 2013 season, Burke's last in charge at Reading, the team had a record seven players drafted into MLS : Steve Neumann, Damion Lowe, Ben Sweat, Jimmy Ockford, Tolani Ibikunle, Kadeem Dacres and the Union's Pedro Ribeiro. On December 28, Burke stepped down from the Reading post to concentrate fully on his duties with the Union. David Castellanos replaced him.

Burke initially joined the Union's coaching staff in 2011. He had a major role in the team's college scouting, but he did a lot more than that. Even in the last few days, he was directly involved in the negotiations to sign Sochaux midfielder Vincent Nogueira, including a trip to France this month for in-person talks. 

"Brendan has been an integral part of our organization over the past few years and he is going to be greatly missed,” Union manager John Hackworth said in a statement issued by the teanm. “At the same time, he is in pursuit of opportunities to advance in his career and we fully support him."

It remains a mystery as to exactly what those opportunities are. What is known, though, is that the Union have a big hole to fill on their bench.