Philadelphia Union today announced that they have signed defender Giliano Wijnaldum (pronounced: Gill-ee-AH-no Why-NALL-dum) as a Discovery Signing. A leftback, Wijnaldum joins Philadelphia following stints with three Dutch topflight clubs, including AZ Alkmaar, where he played under current Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart. The Netherlands native is set to join the Union following receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa and will occupy an international roster spot.
Wijnaldum, 24, has made 65 appearances in the Dutch first division Eredivisie and helped AZ capture the 2012-13 Dutch Cup, starting the final and playing all 90 minutes in the victory. He most recently played for German 2. Bundesliga side VfL Bochum.
“We’re pleased to welcome Giliano to Philadelphia Union and are excited about the talent he adds to our defensive corps,” said Stewart. “As a young player who I have worked with before in the Netherlands, I know firsthand the potential he brings to our club. We are eager to integrate him within the squad and believe he has a bright future with the Union.”
The defender came up through the academies of Sparta Rotterdam and AZ Alkmaar before joining the latter’s first team in 2010-11, where he made his Eredivisie debut against ADO Den Haag at the age of 18 on April 16, 2011. He would play three seasons for AZ, playing in a total of 24 matches across all competitions, including the triumph in the 2012-13 KNVB Cup final.
Wijnaldum moved to fellow Dutch side FC Groningen ahead of the 2013-14 campaign, where he made a career-best 26 league starts that season. He then joined Go Ahead Eagles in 2014-15, making 19 more Eredivisie starts before transferring to Bochum. The leftback played in seven 2. Bundesliga matches over the 2015-16 season.
The brother of current Liverpool midfielder and Dutch international Georginio Wijnaldum, Wijnaldum has made appearances across the Netherlands’ youth national team system, scoring a goal for the Under-20s on June 1, 2012.
TRANSACTION: Philadelphia Union signed defender Giliano Wijnaldum as a Discovery Signing on January 5, 2017. He will officially be added to the active roster and occupy an international roster spot upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa.
Name: Giliano Wijnaldum (pronounced: Gill-ee-AH-no Why-NALL-dum)
Born: August 31, 1992 in Rotterdam, Netherlands
Hometown: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Acquired: Philadelphia Union signed defender Giliano Wijnaldum as a Discovery Signing on January 5, 2017. He will officially be added to the active roster and occupy an international roster spot upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa.
Previous Experience: VfL Bochum (2015-2016), Go Ahead Eagles (2014-2015), FC Groningen (2013-2014), AZ Alkmaar (2010-2013)