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By Spike Eskin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Union have signed starting right back Sheanon Williams to a new contract, the team announced on Wednesday.

Williams, 21 years-old , has started 40 games for Union since they acquired him in August, 2010 from the Harrisburg City Islanders.

“Sheanon has become an important member of our club and we’re very pleased to reward him with a new contract that better reflects his value,” said Team Manager Peter Nowak via press release. “He took full advantage of his opportunity with us after coming over from Harrisburg in 2010 and he continued to improve last season. Keeping Sheanon in Philadelphia is an important investment in our defense, both for the present and future.”

“The past 18 months has been an amazing experience and I’m very excited to remain in Philadelphia,” said Williams via press release. “I would like to thank the organization for their confidence in me and the fans for their incredible support. We made a lot of progress last season but have a lot more work to do to achieve our goals in 2012 and beyond.”

Union defense has improved by over a half goal per game since 2010, ranking second in the MLS in 2011.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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