David Myrie was once a Philadelphia Union right back, battling in a rain-swept Qwest Field as a starter in the club’s first ever MLS match.
Today the 21-year-old finds himself on the sunny beaches of Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. He’s been there since Monday, March 30—the same day that the Union released him.
That day started with Myrie attending Union team practice as he regularly had for an entire preseason, which started on Feb. 1. After practice he was called in by the Union’s assistant coach, who broke the news to him.
“It was strange,” Myrie said. “He spoke to me and told me that they did not need my services. It hurt. The players were asking me why it happened, but I told them I didn’t know and that it was the coach’s decision.”
Myrie had been cut less than four days after starting the inaugural match. It is not often that a player goes from starter to released so quickly.
On Friday, the Union announced the signing of 30-year-old right back Cristian Arrieta, who will take over for the 21-year-old Costa Rican.
Media members immediately speculated that it was Myrie’s performance in the 2-0 loss against Seattle in the inaugural match that precipitated his exit.
“If [Union head coach Peter Nowak] was trying to make an example out of me, I think that’s really bad,” Myrie said. “In my case, I don’t think it has to do with my soccer because I’ve played in two [youth] World Cups, and I have a track record.”
However, Nowak said he gave Myrie enough time to establish himself.
“We didn’t cut him because he played bad," he said. "Right now, we have another option we can go forward with, and we still gave some time before the signing window closes so that [Myrie] can sign with another club. We don’t want to drag this week in and week out. I think it was the best solution for both sides to make this move now.”
Myrie cleared waivers without being claimed by any MLS club. He is now free to sign on with any MLS or international club side. However, unless an MLS club chooses to sign him, he will likely need to wait until the Costa Rican and European offseasons.
Myrie’s representative Lazaro Broitman said he reached out to Nowak for answers, but that the head coach never answered his calls.
“I have never received an official justification on why they took Myrie out of the team," said Broitmam. "I have only gotten information from the player that this forward, Luciano Emilio, is going to be on the team.”
Myrie said he believes he was released because he was occupying an international roster spot, and that he heard news of the arrival of Luciano Emilio, Arrieta and a Colombian player.
However, without Myrie on its roster, the club currently has just five of its eight allowable international spots occupied. Three openings remain for international player signings. The five current slots are currently filled by Fred (Brazilian), Sebastien LeToux (French), Toni Stahl (Finland), Shavar Thomas (Jamaica) and Roger Torres (Colombia).
The MLS international transfer window closes April 15. The rumored arrival of a Emilio or Carlos Ruiz would take up one of the three remaining spots. Though Arrieta grew up in Italy, he was born in the United Sates and is therefore an American citizen.
“I was doing well,” Myrie said. “I was a starter in preseason for more than a month. There should have been other players who I think should have gone before me. But it was a decision that the coach made … All I can do is move forward and show that he [Nowak] made a mistake.”