Phil Wheddon is the only goalkeeper coach to have coached for both the US Men's and Women's National Teams, and now he will join Philadelphia Union's first team as the goalkeeper coach.
Last season, Wheddon took over as Philadelphia Union II's goalkeeping coach, helping to develop now-NCAA National Champion Tomas Romero and Matt Freese. The veteran coach of three FIFA World Cups also brings 11 years of experience as the women's soccer head coach at Syracuse and two Olympic Gold Medals to his new role.
A year ago, Oka Nikolov acted as an assistant coach while also monitoring the goalkeepers. But when Dick Schreuder left the coaching staff to join his brother at Hoffenheim in the German Bundesliga, Nikolov took on additional coaching duties. Now Wheddon will handle the goalkeepers and look to take Andre Blake's game to the next level while helping Joe Bendik and Matt Freese develop into the kind of space-controlling backstops that Ernst Tanner and Jim Curtin value in the Union's aggressive system.
There is little doubt Wheddon is up to the task: He has previous worked with Tim Howard, Hope Solo, Kasey Keller, and Brianna Scurry, perhaps the four faces that would sit atop United States soccer's goalkeeping Mount Rushmore.