Philadelphia Union midfielder Michael Farfan has begun a two-week training stint with English Premier League side Sunderland. Sunderland, managed by Martin O’Neill, currently sit in 10th place.
The 23-year-old will return to Philadelphia on January 24, in time for the start of preseason on Jan. 25.
Farfan, the 23rd overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of North Carolina, is entering his second season in MLS after a breakout rookie campaign that led to a Rookie of the Year nomination.
Farfan finished the season with two goals and three assists in 21 appearances, including 13 starts. He also added a goal in an international friendly against Real Madrid, as well as an assist on a goal by Sebastien Le Toux in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Farfan emerged as a consistent starter for the Union in the final third of the season. Coinciding with his insertion into the lineup, the Union went unbeaten in eight straight games, the longest streak in club history.
Farfan is the fifth member of the Union to train abroad this offseason. Midfielder Freddy Adu joined La Liga side Rayo Vallecano, goalkeeper Zac MacMath trained alongside Tim Howard at Everton, Amobi Okugo trained with Bundesliga side SC Freiburgand, and 16-year-old Zach Pfeffer trained with Bundesliga side Hoffenheim.
Adu, MacMath, McInerney, Okugo and defender Sheanon Williams are currently training with the U-23 U.S. Men’s National Team in preparation for Olympic qualifying, which begins March 22.
Additionally, Okugo, Danny Mwanga, McInerney and MacMath spent 10 days in Amsterdam training and playing exhibition matches with Generation adidas.