Philadelphia Union to Hire René Meulensteen as Sporting Director


Earlier on Wednesday, the Philadelphia Union mentioned that they had a “major announcement” on Friday. For the second-straight Friday the Union prepare for a “major announcement”. Last Friday, the Union removed head coach Jim Curtin’s interim tag. It appears this Friday the Union are set to name René Meulensteen their sporting director.

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Kristian Dyer, who happens to be on the Union’s payroll as a play-by-play announcer, reported for the Metro that René Meulensteen will be added to the team’s payroll. Dyer also reported that Curtin would become the Union’s full-time head coach five weeks before the news was made official.

As Dyer describes, Meulensteen has experience with EPL sides Manchester United and Fulham as coach and understands how to build a successful side.

"“Meulensteen, whose resume includes a stint at venerable English Premier League side Manchester United as an assistant and most recently with Fulham as an assistant. A league source tells Metro that Meulensteen will be a consultant “to assist with the sporting director structure” of the club. He has been linked to the team over the past half-a-year, with erroneous reports this past summer saying that he would be hired as head coach.”"

Dyer’s report has been confirmed by many other sources including Philly Soccer Page’s Kevin Kinkead.

Meulensteen’s addition to the Union’s front office is a welcomed move. Curtin is entering his first full season as Union head coach. Likewise, Meulensteen’s experience can help mentor Curtin and technical director Chris Albright.

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  • Likewise, it appears Meulensteen’s arrival would mean Nick Sakiewicz’s role in player decisions would be less involved. Albright made some player decisions as head coach, and the verdict is still out whether or not Sakiewicz was involved in bringing Rais MBohli to town.

    Moving forward, it would be clear who is making the moves. Curtin, Albright, and Meulensteen would work as a team with Meulensteen’s experience guiding the way.

    Missing the playoffs the last three years has caused Union fans to grow weary. This is partly due to the front office not grasping the team’s true needs. For example, instead of going after signing a third goalie with two young and talented keepers already in town, the Union should have signed a striker.

    Based on Meulensteen’s track record, it appears he understands how to truly build, develop, and run a talented team. Likewise, Curtin can focus on the coaching side of things. This season Curtin helped turn around a struggling side and brought hope and potential to the team. In the end, they failed to make the playoffs, but Curtin showed that he “gets it” and his players support his tactics and system.

    All in all, this is another good move for the Union. Meulensteen brings experience and past success to town. He’s not familiar with all the quirky MLS rules, yet this is where Chris Albright brings his experience. René Meulensteen can scout the talent, Chris Albright can navigate the league’s rules to make the deal, and Curtin can focus on the field talent and give input when asked.

    This move makes the Union front office stronger by working to everyone’s strength and bringing in someone who fills in their weaknesses.