Philadelphia Union Sign Homegrown Defender Matthew Real
Drexel Hill native becomes seventh Homegrown Player in Philadelphia Union history
CHESTER, Pa. (Jan. 18, 2018) – Philadelphia Union today announced that defender Matthew Real (pronounced: REE-al) has signed with the First Team, becoming a Homegrown Player. An 18-year-old defender from Drexel Hill, PA, Real is the seventh Homegrown Player in Union history.
Real joins the Union after playing for Bethlehem Steel FC last season on a USL contract. He becomes the fourth Union Homegrown Player under contract for the 2018 MLS season, joining Derrick Jones, Auston Trusty and Anthony Fontana.
“We couldn’t be prouder to welcome Matt to our First Team as a Homegrown Player,” said Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart. “Matt has truly earned this contract through his outstanding work along our Path to the Pros, first in our Academy and then in the USL as an 18 year old. Leftback is a difficult position, and Matt was exceptional against good competition for Steel FC last year. He brings an attacking-minded outlook to our fullback corps. We look forward to seeing him take the next step here in Philadelphia.”
Real debuted as a professional last season, signing with Bethlehem Steel FC on January 17, 2017. He scored one goal and added one assist in 17 appearances, all starts, seeing the field for 1,607 minutes.
He made his season debut at leftback at Toronto FC II on May 13. He tallied his first professional assist against Tampa Bay on September 27 and scored his first goal in the regular season finale against Saint Louis FC on October 15. He also started in the club’s USL Eastern Conference Quarterfinal at Louisville City FC, playing the full 90 minutes. He made a pair of appearances with Steel FC as an amateur in 2016.
Prior to signing with Steel FC, Real first caught the attention of coaches at age nine when he played with the Union Juniors. He joined the Academy ahead of the 2013-14 season, appearing in 26 matches with the U-14s. He rose through the Union’s Academy system, appearing in 46 matches across the U-16 and U-18 teams. In his youth career, he also played for FC Delco and Lower Merion Soccer Club.
Internationally, Real recently returned from the inaugural United States Youth National Team Summit Camp in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, where he was with the United States Under-20 National Team. Previously, he was with the U.S. U-18s, including for the 2017 U-18 Lisbon International Tournament, where he started all three matches against Japan, Norway and Portugal.
TRANSACTION: Philadelphia Union sign defender Matt Real as a Homegrown Player on January 18, 2018.
Name: Matt Real (pronounced: REE-al)
Born: July 10, 1999 in Drexel Hill, PA
Hometown: Drexel Hill, PA
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Signed by Philadelphia Union as a Homegrown Player on January 18, 2018
Previous Experience: Bethlehem Steel FC (2017)