Maurice Edu has joined the Union with the highest of expectations, most of them coming from the 27-year-old midfielder himself.
A veteran of 45 caps and a member of the 2010 U.S. World Cup team, Edu practiced and held a news conference at YSC Sports in Wayne on Tuesday, the day after signing with the Union. He is on a one-year loan from Stoke City of the English Premier League, with an option to purchase.
A source said Tuesday that both sides were expected to agree on a multiyear contract in the future.
The two sides had an apparent earlier deal that wasn't approved by Major League Soccer. Commissioner Don Garber thought the salary was too high, and the league approves all deals. When asked if the deal was for $1.2 million, as has been reported, Garber said that was a low estimate.
This new deal wasn't for $1.2 million, but Edu, as a designated player, will be well-compensated. Edu's agent, Lyke Yorks, and the Union declined to release terms of the deal.
Edu is most excited about getting to play regularly. He saw extremely limited duty the last few seasons with Stoke City.
"The past couple of years have been difficult and I haven't put together a long stretch of games," Edu said. "I am excited to be here and play every game, do well, score goals, . . . do the things I am capable of doing and do it consistently week in and week out and really try to make an impact here."
Union manager John Hackworth said that Edu will be a true two-way midfielder.
"We think he can do all the work between the boxes but can also put the ball in the back of the net," said Hackworth, whose team will open its fifth MLS season March 8 at Portland.
An attacking midfield was a glaring need for last year's 12-12-10 Union team that failed to earn one of the five Eastern Conference playoff berths.
The Union have also added Argentine midfielder Cristian Maidana. The team is soon expected to sign 26-year-old French midfielder Vincent Nogueira.
Edu, who was MLS rookie of the year in 2007 with Toronto, said he followed the league closely even while abroad. He indicated that players who used to return to MLS were looked down on, but that that is no longer the case.
"Everybody has been impressed with the standard of play, the direction the game has gone here, and the quality overall," Edu said. "I am excited to be here and to try to help this team do well."