If you attended the Union's open training session on Wednesday, you got a look at the team's trialists in addition to the players currently on the roster.
The most intriguing of the bunch might be 19-year-old defender Edinho Junior. He recently signed with Harrisburg after spending some time as part of Portugal's youth national team system. The Philly Soccer Page has more details on his background here.
Two of the trialists may be familiar to you. I'm pretty sure that one of them is: Brazilian midfielder Fred, who played here in the Union's inaugural season.
The other one is more likely to resonate with those of you who follow the region's college soccer scene: Villanova product Michael Seamon.
Seamon spent three seasons with the Seattle Sounders after being drafted in 2010, then moved to the USL PRO's Pittsburgh Riverhounds for 2013. Now the forward is trying to make it back to the top level, and he'd like to do so with the Union.
I was out at YSC Sports on Tuesday for the Maurice Edu press conference, and spent a few minutes beforehand watching the Union's morning practice session. Though I last interviewed Seamon in 2011, he recognized me right away when he came off the field, and stepped aside to chat with a few reporters.
What was it like going from Seattle to Pittsburgh?
I had a pretty good year with [the Riverhounds] and got a lot of experience and playing time. That is what [Sounders manager] Sigi Schmid had recommended to me: to go down, get a lot of playing time and then come back up and stick with a team, try to make it on to a roster. That's exactly what I'm trying to do here.
Given your ties to this part of the country, is this a place where you wanted to end up?
Yeah. I remember when I found out Philly was going to have a team, they were an expansion team during my draft year. That was exciting. Obviously, going to Seattle was a great experience, but it's always nice to be around your home town and where you went to college. I've still got a lot of ties to Villanova, and I'm definitely excited to potentially get a spot on this team?
What's it been like this week, being able to train literally right down the road from Villanova?
It's a little weird. It's very different from what I've become accustomed to. Today, I walked into the facility and Villanova's soccer team was training before us. So I walked onto the field and talked to coach [Tom] Carlin and saw that one of my old teammates is coaching there now.
It's definitely different. My sister lives right around the corner, and I've gotten to see her a couple of times after training. It's nice to be able to relax after training and spend some time with people that you know, as opposed to going home and sitting in a hotel and not having that close connection with people.
With this being a trial, there's obviously pressure. Does it help make the situation a little easier by having that support system in place?
Yeah, definitely. I guess it depends on the person. Some people like to get away and be completely on their own, but for me, getting to take my mind off things and spend some quality time with people I'm close with helps me a lot. It helps release some tension.
What have you heard so far from the Union's coaching staff about expectations for you, and whether you might end up signing here?
I haven't really spoken to them specifically about what my chances are. I assume that just like everybody else, I've got the same chance.
I'm not exactly sure what their roster looks like numbers-wise right now. I've been moved around a little bit - I think they're looking to see me in a couple of different positions, because I'm sure the people they've spoken to have said that I'm pretty versatile, and can play multiple spots.*
I think they're just trying to get a look right now at what position they see me in, and then we'll move on from there.
[* - One of those positions, he told us after the interview, is right back.]
What's been your impression of being with the Union for the last few days?
Everything has been great. The coaches seem like great guys, and everyone around the program seems very excited about the sesaon. It's very upbeat.
Have you talked with former Union defender Jeff Parke, who you played with for a while in Seattle, about his experiences here?
Yeah, I did speak to Jeff. He actually helped me get in here and talk to the coaches a bit. He gave a recommendation for me. But we didn't speak specifically about the club. It was more of a business transaction than anything else. Jeff and I are good friends, but we talked more about my family and his family and such.