CHESTER, Pa. (Dec. 8, 2021) – Philadelphia Union announced today that the club has signed defender Jakob Glesnes to a new, multi-year contract extension. In what was a standout season for Glesnes, who was nominated for MLS Defender of the Year and scored the game-winning goal to send the Union to the Audi 2021 MLS Eastern Conference Semifinals, the deal ensures that he is under contract with the club through 2024.
“In his first season with the Union, Jakob proved he was capable of becoming a top player in Major League Soccer and in his second season he has delivered on his promise and is now one of the best defenders in the league,” said Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner. “His front-foot defense and ability to progress the ball out of defense have been crucial to the team’s success over the past two seasons, as the backline allowed the fewest goals in the league in 2020 and remained a top unit in 2021. His development on the pitch and natural leadership abilities have solidified the importance of keeping him in Philadelphia.”
This season, Glesnes was the only Union player to play every minute of every match becoming the seventh player in Union history to do so, and one of only five players in the league do to so this year. During that time, he logged two assists and scored three goals, including a goal against Atlanta United FC from 35 yards out (June 20). Glesnes recently scored the game-winning goal in the first round of the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs (Nov. 20) against rival New York Red Bulls. The goal is the latest game winner in MLS Cup Playoffs history (120+3), as well as the latest goal scored in any MLS competition. The goal sent the Union to the Eastern Conference semi-final match where Glesnes once again proved vital as the Union held Nashville SC to just three shots on goal and advanced to the conference final (Dec. 5). Additionally, Glesnes was named to Concacaf’s Best XI after the CCL Round of 16 and after the second leg of the quarterfinals, and to MLS’ Team of the Week in weeks four, eight and 27.
Glesnes, 27, signed with the Union in 2020 from the first-tier Norwegian club, Stromsgodset Toppfotball where he captained the team at just 25 years old. In his first season with the Union, Glesnes played 19 matches (17 starts) using his backline organization and leadership to help the Union make history as they became the only team in MLS history to win every home match in a single season (9-0-0) while allowing both the fewest goals in MLS and the fewest goals in season in Union history. With Glesnes on the field, the team won 12 matches, tied three, and lost only four times. Those accolades culminated in the club’s first Supporters’ Shield victory.
Glesnes came to the Union from the first-tier Norwegian league, Elisteserien. During his time with Stromsgodset Toppfotball, Glesnes contributed three goals and seven assists in 113 matches overall for the club. Additionally, he played in three NM-Cup matches. Prior to signing with Stromsgodset Toppfotball in 2016, he played for the first division club Asane in 2015, before joining first-tier club Sarpsborg 08, making his debut in March, 2016. His first appearance for the Norway’s Men’s U21 national team came on Oct. 7, 2016 and he was called up to represent the senior Norway Men’s National Team in Oct., 2019.
TRANSACTION: Philadelphia Union sign defender Jakob Glesnes to a contract extension on December 8, 2021.