INDIANAPOLIS – So the Carlos Valdes talk can finally be put to rest regarding his whereabouts and his intentions.
He is in Colombia with his former club Independiente Santa Fe attempting to get in the good graces of national team coach Jose Pekerman as the final phase of CONMEBOL qualifying for the FIFA World Cup kicks off next month. Colombia is in the driver’s seat to secure its first World Cup berth since 1998, and Valdes wanted the best chance possible to be an instrumental part of making that happen.
So the Union technical staff gave it to him.
What does it mean for this club? Well, cash for starters and the hope that Valdes will continue to improve his game, become a world class player and in turn a commodity. That’s the business of soccer. It’s not pretty; or appealing to fans that connect with a player, buy his jersey and cheer for him every game, but these things to happen.
Will this loan turn out to be beneficial for all? Time will tell, but for now it’s a move that made sense. Keeping Valdes here, disgruntled and yearning to be elsewhere is not what the Union want or can afford in a season that players, coaches, front office brass and a rabid fan base all collectively hope will be the opposite of 2012.
The beauty is Union boss John Hackworth saw the signs early and acted accordingly. Hackworth told philadelphiaunion.com:
“Carlos and I talked about the possibility of this at the end of the season. I and [Union director of international player development] Ricardo Ansaldi did speak on a conference call with Jose Pekerman and we all agreed that a move like this one gives Carlos the best possible opportunity to represent Colombia.”
It also gives the opportunity for someone else to step up this year and pick up where Valdes left off.
The Union will play a preseason match against the Montreal Impact on Feb. 15 in Jacksonville at EverBank Field, the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s the first sign of goodwill in a three-year commitment to hold preseason events in Jacksonville, which if you are an NFL fan, you know has no problem bringing in Philadelphians. See 2004, when Jacksonville was transformed into Little Philly when the Eagles were in Super Bowl XXXVIIII. The game will be the fourth scheduled match against MLS competition, a welcomed sight given years past of playing no name Greek teams and third division clubs from Costa Rica.
We’ll be reporting over the next three days from Indianapolis, home of this year’s NSCAA convention and MLS SuperDraft. Speaking of the draft, check out our SuperDraft preview package, providing a layman’s terms breakdown of draft, who’s ideal based on Union needs and a piece straight from the coaches that explains their thoughts on who is out there.
Also, philadelphiaunion.com is gauging interest on a post draft chat via our website. If you want talk Union on Thursday night leave a comment under this post. Depending on the number of responses, we’ll announce a time Thursday, talk draft picks in addition to all things Union.
Also check in with www.philadelphiaunion.com/live for streaming coverage of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, The draft is not televised on ESPN’s family on networks, but ESPN will hold it in its entirety via its WatchESPN app and will tout the first round pick on the noon edition of SportsCenter.
That’s all for now, check back tomorrow…
Contact Union writer Kerith Gabriel at email@example.com