On Friday morning, Alejandro Bedoya commenced his ninth season with the Philadelphia Union, joining the team for training for the first time since signing a new one-year deal.
His contract, which the team officially announced on Thursday, ensures his leadership on the pitch, in the locker room, and in new role as a Player Development and Front Office Specialist through the 2024 season.
His return to practice kicked off the former of those responsibilities, marking the start of two weeks and a half weeks of diligent preparation alongside his teammates ahead of their first game action of the season.
“Just to have him back, it puts a smile on everybody's face. I think everybody knows how much he means to the club, how much he means the city of Philadelphia, and it feels just normal to have him back,” Head Coach Jim Curtin said.
Bedoya isn’t the only player who rejoined the squad this week; 29-year-old starting forward Mikael Uhre is back with the squad after settling international travel intricacies in his native Denmark. He underwent his team physical on Friday afternoon along with recent signing Markus Anderson, who received a welcome tour of the team facility and introductions to staff and some of his new teammates that hadn't yet left the building.
The team will hold their final training on Saturday in Chester, this time with the entire healthy group in action. Now that the three have arrived, the team is in tact, just in time for their upcoming trip to Clearwater, where they'll get ready for a busy opening week that'll feature their first Concacaf Champions Cup match against Saprissa in San José, Costa Rica on February 20th, then their Major League Soccer home opener against Chicago Fire on February 24th at Subaru Park.
“These guys have worked really hard. I'm proud of where we're at. Slowly but surely every player has trickled in, so there's a real buzz and excitement with the group. It’s a real positive, but we know there's still work to do,” Curtin said.