During Monday’s end of season press conference, Philadelphia Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner and Head Coach Jim Curtin provided an update for the ongoing discussions with midfielder Alejandro Bedoya.
Just hours prior, the club had announced its complete list of end of season roster moves with one of the big takeaways being that the Union were still in talks with the midfield captain. That language prompted the first question, and Curtin was ready to provide an update.
“I think we can talk openly on that now and we’ve talked internally,” Curtin said from inside the Subaru Park press conference room. “We made some mistakes in communication, all of us made some mistakes in communication and now we have an opportunity to rectify those and we’ll have to find a solution that is best for Alejandro, that makes sense for the club and makes sense for him and his family."
"That is our hope and that’s why in the press release you see that it is ongoing still. Nothing is done or finished or anything like that but we all know what he has brought to the club. How he helps the young players develop and declaring that new role for Alejandro moving forward whatever that might be, has to be a fit. You know how much I value and respect Alejandro as a player and as a person and I think we are in a good spot for an opportunity to do the right thing and have Alejandro still part of the Union where he only wears this jersey.”
Since arriving in August 2016, Bedoya has amassed 204 starts (214 appearances) in league action and played over 2,000 minutes in every season, minus the shortened 2020 campaign. 2023 saw a change however as he battled an injury, but still turned in a career-best seven assists and scored twice in Leagues Cup.
“Nobody doubts what Ale Bedoya has done for the club,” Tanner said. “We also need to see where we are going in the future. We think in cycles and the future cycle is the next five years and it is definitely too long for a player who is 36 turning 37 years of age. At the same time there is a possibility, and we need to see what kind of role we can foresee for him.”
2023 saw a treasure of depth in the midfield with the diamond spots firmly claimed. With over 50 games played across five tournaments, quality depth minutes will be key especially as midfielders Jesus Bueno, Jack McGlynn, Quinn Sullivan look to continue their development. With so many players pushing for two spots, Curtin acknowledged Bedoya’s role might have to include less minutes while maintaining a leadership role.
“He’s a competitor and he’s still in good shape and because of his soccer IQ and brain and his ability to stay fit, he still contributes in a big way to the group,” Curtin said. “He makes the players around him better. Exactly what those parameters will be, we’ll discuss and keep it internal. He’s going to be helping in that development role like he normally does and already does but he’ll still be contributing on the field. That is my hope at the end of the day for this.”