Chester, Pa. (March 18, 2011) – Philadelphia Union today announced the signing of midfielders Keon Daniel and Gabriel Farfan and forward Levi Houapeu. Daniel joins the Union from the Puerto Rico Islanders of the North American Soccer League, while Farfan arrives from Mexican First Division team Club America. Houapeu was the Union’s third round selection (41st overall) in the 2011 Major League Soccer SuperDraft. Per MLS and club’s policy, the terms of the deals are not disclosed.
Daniel first turned pro in August 2006 with United Petrotrin of the TT Pro League, the top division in his native Trinidad and Tobago, following a training stint with English Premier League club Manchester United. Two years later, the T&T international trialed with EPL club West Ham United, but instead joined TT Pro League side Caledonia AIA in May of 2009. The 24-year-old then joined the Islanders in June of 2010, scoring two goals and adding two assists in 16 appearances last season to help lead the club to a League Championship as an eighth seeded team in the playoffs.
WATCH: Daniel highlight reel
Daniel, who joins fellow countryman Thorne Holder on the Union roster, has also had a distinguished international career with eight goals in 46 caps after debuting in January 2008 at the age of 21. He recently led the Soca Warriors with four goals during 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying, the same number as MLS stars Landon Donovan, Brian Ching and Álvaro Saborío.
Farfan, the twin brother of Union midfielder Michael Farfan, arrives in Philadelphia after spending a year with Mexican First Division team side America. He saw action with the senior squad in friendly matches against Mexican foes Veracruz F.C., Atlante F.C., Tigres UANL and Jaguares de Chiapas. Prior to signing with Club America, Farfan was a Second-Team All-Big West honoree at Cal State Fullerton, playing in 16 matches and taking 43 shots on goal. Farfan spent time with Union Coach John Hackworth at the U.S. U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla.
WATCH: Farfan highlight reel
A forward out of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Houapeu was named the 2010 America East Striker of the Year after compiling 15 goals and four assists in 20 games. Houapeu scored 30 combined goals in 2009 and 2010, leading the nation in points. Houapeu also notched 17 assists in the two-year span, including 13 in 2009. The 21-year-old speedster was also an integral member of Union PDL affiliate Reading United AC in 2010, registering five points (two goals, one assist) in eight appearances with the club. Originally acquired as the team’s third pick in the 2011 SuperDraft, the Ivory Coast native has been training with the Union throughout preseason but previously hadn’t signed a guaranteed contract with Major League Soccer.
WATCH: Houapeu highlight reel
The Union begin the 2011 season vs. the Houston Dynamo tomorrow at Robertson Stadium at 8:30 p.m. ET. The match will be broadcast live on 6abc, with a pregame show starting at 8:00 p.m. Philadelphia returns home to PPL Park on March 26 to face MLS newcomer Vancouver Whitecaps at 4:00 p.m.
Name: Keon Daniel
Birthdate: January 16, 1987
Hometown: Lambeau, Trinidad & Tobago
Previous Club: Puerto Rico Islanders
Pronunciation: Kee-ON DAN-ee-el
Name: Gabriel Farfan
Birthdate: June 23, 1988
Hometown: Wildomar, California
Previous Club: Club America
Pronunciation: Gabriel FAR-fan
Name: Levi Houapeu
Birthday: June 22, 1989
Hometown: Germantown, Md.
Previous Club: UMBC
Pronunciation: Lev-ee WAH-poo