The Philadelphia Union sit atop Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference at the season’s midway point.
In years past, mid-table Union teams probably would have sat back, stood pat at the transfer window, and looked for winter reinforcements. This year, it was easy to justify a summer addition considering how well the squad is currently playing.
So in comes Andrew Wooten, a 29-year-old striker whose father was an American military member stationed in Germany. As such, he has dual citizenship – Germany through his mother and the United States via his father. That means he comes to the Union not requiring an international slot, nor did the team have to pay a transfer fee, since Wooten was out of contract with SV Sandhausen in the 2.Bundesliga.
For those reasons, it was a move that made a ton of sense right off the jump, and I didn’t even mention that the Union really could use a consistent goal-getter up top, since the scoring burden has been shared by numerous players this year.
I spoke with Brian Sciaretta of American Soccer Now, a previous guest on the “Always Soccer in Philadelphia” podcast and somebody who has followed Wooten’s career for a long time now.
Here’s our conversation:
Brian Sciaretta: I think it’s a very good pickup; you know what’s interesting about Andrew when you look at his career, generally he’s been playing for bad teams but still scoring goals. He’s been safe at Sandhausen and his year at FSV Frankfurt, but generally he’s been in relegation fights throughout his career. He made his debut actually in the Bundesliga for Kaiserslautern when they were in a relegation fight, which was unsuccessful. When I spoke to him last, which was at the end of last season, you kind of got the sense that he wanted to play for a winner in the worst way, that he wanted to play for silverware. He always wanted to come home and play in the States. I think a chance to go to a team where he can play and be part of a winner checks a lot of boxes and I think he’s going to heavily motivated to show his stuff here.
Crossing Broad: It’s kind of crazy to me, actually I need a minute to process the fact that someone would want to come play for a winner, and that winner would be Philadelphia Union… But in a way you don’t need any coaxing I guess, it’s easier to justify this signing or go up the chain and tell Jay Sugarman, ‘hey we’re in 1st place, let’s go for it here.’