Union secure full rights to Valdés, transfer Ruiz

Philadelphia secure star center back's rights from Santa Fe

Chester, Pa. (August 5, 2011) – Philadelphia Union today announced that the club has acquired defender Carlos Valdés’ full rights from Independiente Santa Fe of the Colombian First Division. Additionally, Carlos Ruiz has been transferred to Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz of Mexico's Liga de Ascenso (Second Division). Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms of the agreements will not be disclosed.

Introduced on January 20, 2011, Valdés has since played 20 games with the Union, notching his first MLS professional goal in a 3-0 victory over the New England Revolution on July 17, 2011. Valdés, who was previously on loan with the Union, has emerged as one of the top defenders in MLS, helping transform Philadelphia's back line into one of the league's strongest units. With Valdés serving as an anchor in the middle of the defense, the Union have secured seven clean sheets and allowed 19 goals against in 21 matches.

Valdés, 26, began his professional career with America de Cali in 2003, where he became team captain and won the Torneo Finalizacion in 2008. The center back was transferred to Santa Fe a year later, clinching the Colombian Cup title while also starring as team captain.

Valdés helped the Colombian National Team win the U-20 South American Cup in 2005 and the Central American and Caribbean Games a year later. After debuting with the senior national team in 2008, Valdés has been capped four times.

Ruiz joined the Union on a free transfer from Aris FC of the Greek SuperLiga on February 22 during the club’s 2011 preseason camp in Orlando, Fla. The Guatemalan international played in 14 league matches for Philadelphia, scoring six goals.

Related:

Valdés emerging as defensive force for Union

Ruiz set to depart Union, says Nowak