Chester, Pa. (January 20, 2011) – Philadelphia Union today announced that the club have agreed to terms with Colombian internationals Faryd Mondragón and Carlos Valdés. Mondragón last played for FC Cologne of the German Bundesliga, while Valdés joins the club from Independiente Santa Fe of the Colombian First Division. Both players will be eligible to play for Philadelphia Union upon receiving their P1-Visas and their International Transfer Certificates. Per MLS and Club policy, terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
“We are very happy to have agreed to deals with both Faryd and Carlos,” said Team Manager Peter Nowak. “It is great to have an experienced player, such as Faryd, show his desire and commitment to become a member of the Philadelphia Union family. We believe he will be a valuable mentor to our younger players.
“We also believe Carlos will have a big impact in the center of the backline. Along with Faryd, we have added two Colombian internationals who will solidify our defense and provide competition for our returning players. We believe Carlos will be an important player for the club, both on the field and in the locker room.”
An experienced goalkeeper hailing from Cali, Colombia, Mondragón has played in some of the world’s most recognizable leagues. He began his professional career in 1990 with Deportivo Cali of the Colombian First Division, and subsequently joined several other Colombian teams before landing with Argentinean First Division club Atletico Independiente in 1995. After his time in Colombia and Argentina, Mondragón moved to Europe where he starred in Spain’s La Liga (Real Zaragoza FC, 1999), the French Ligue 1 (FC Metz, 2000-‘01), the Turkish First Division (Galatasaray S.K., 2001-’07, won titles in 2002 and 2006), and finally the Bundesliga (FC Cologne, 2007-’10).
WATCH: Mondragón Highlights
“We are very excited to have a player of Faryd Mondragón’s caliber join Philadelphia Union,” said Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz. “Faryd is a proven winner and his vast experience will help us become closer to our goal of being the most admired American soccer brand. This agreement, along with Carlos Valdés and others that will come down the line, are a direct result of our strategic investment to provide our fans, marketing and TV partners, and ultimately the club with the very best on-field product possible.”
Mondragón’s vast experience extends beyond the club level, as the veteran goalkeeper has been capped 50 times for the Colombian National Team since his debut in 1993. Mondragón was a member of the Colombian teams that competed at the 1992 Summer Olympics and the 1998 FIFA World Cup. The goalkeeper’s last appearance with the national team occurred at PPL Park when Colombia played to a scoreless draw with the U.S. Men’s National Team on October 12, 2010.
Valdés 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 Independiente Santa Fe a year after, where he clinched a Colombian Cup title and also served as team captain.
WATCH: Full Mondragón/Valdés Press Conference
“Carlos is a player with immense upside who we believe will come in and contribute immediately,” explained Sakiewicz. “His familiarity with Faryd will benefit our entire backline, and we expect both new acquisitions to assimilate seamlessly with the rest of our club.”
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. Valdés missed his most recent call to the National Team when Colombia played to a 1-1 draw with the U.S. Men National Team at PPL Park on October 12, 2010, as the player was competing for the South American Cup with Santa Fe.
Name: Faryd Camilo Mondragón Ali – Faryd Mondragón
Born: June 21, 1971
Birthplace: Cali, Colombia
Last Club: FC Cologne
Pronunciation: fa-REED mon-dra-GON
Name: Carlos Enrique Valdés Parra – Carlos Valdés
Born: May 22, 1985
Birthplace: Cali, Colombia
Last Club: Club Independiente Santa Fe, Colombia