Union lock up captain Alejandro Bedoya with one-year contract – Delco Times

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If Jim Curtin had his way, the Philadelphia Union’s would be the last professional jersey that Alejandro Bedoya wears.

Managers don’t always get their way in pro soccer, but he got a step closer Thursday.

Bedoya will stick around for at least one more year, the captain inking a new contract for 2023.

Bedoya was a franchise-changing signing in the summer of 2016. The Union have made the playoffs in six of his seven seasons, winning the Supporters’ Shield in 2020 and qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League twice (2021, 2023). They sit first in the Eastern Conference with two games to play in 2022.

In between calling him “my coach in the locker room” and advocating for a statue of him to be built in Chester, Curtin Thursday put it as bluntly as he could.

“Without him, our success never comes at this club,” Curtin said via Zoom. “I can say that with 100 percent certainty. Coaches come and go. Sporting directors can come and go. But if you don’t have that leader in the locker room and a player that embraces what the culture is, embraces what Philadelphia is about, it just doesn’t work.”

The 35-year is getting better with age. He’s played 29 of 32 games (27 starts), with six goals and six assists. Those are career-highs not just in his MLS tenure but throughout his 15-year pro career. Bedoya is third in franchise history in games played (185) and starts (179) and one of only three players with 20 or more goals and assists (22 and 26).

Bedoya has brought to bear every bit of his veteran savvy and class from a career in Sweden, France and Scotland that includes 66 U.S. national team caps and a starting role in the 2014 World Cup. He’s almost certain to join Sebastien Le Toux in the Union’s Ring of Honor not long after his retirement.

“He embodies everything that we want at this club,” Curtin said. “… I think he has shown that he’s still getting better and better … which is not usually the way most careers go. Still plays so many important minutes of us, still is such a leader on and off the field.”

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