As Philadelphia Union began its preseason friendlies in Clearwater, Florida, against Orlando City SC, a familiar name started the second half atop the Union’s lineup. Union II forward Shanyder Borgelin.

“That is what the purpose is of our club and I really do believe he will be the first of many,” Philadelphia Union II Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “The whole purpose of Union II is to have guys ready for Jim [Curtin] to pick and choose who he’d like to use.”

The 19-year-old has been with the organization since 2017 as a member of the Philadelphia Union Academy’s residency program. After notching 14 goals in 39 appearances, he turned pro on April 5, 2019. Over the past two seasons, the young forward has gained nearly 900 minutes of experience against older players. Monday morning, Borgelin added 45 minutes to his resume against Orlando City SC. 

Over the past few seasons, the organization has allowed for up-and-coming talent from the Academy pipeline to make their way to Florida for preseason training. In 2020 it was, Issa Rayyan and the previous year defender Ben Ofeimu. As Union II continues its preseason with more matches on the horizon, LeBlanc will continue to stress that each player needs to grow and make the most of their opportunities on the pitch as it can lead to bigger things.

“I think it is fantastic that Jim has his eye on my guys and that Ernst has his eyes on these guys,” LeBlanc said. “At the end of the day that is what we are here to do as we prep guys for the first team.”

Philadelphia Union II looks to continue its preseason winning streak on Sunday afternoon with a closed-door scrimmage against NESL side Vereinigung Erzgebirge on Sunday, March 21st.